Honey, used by humans for the past 2,500 years and known as the nectar of the gods in ancient Greece, boasts many health benefits ranging from allergy relief to skin healing.
Made by bees that feed on the nectar of flowers, this superfood is often used in Ayurveda (traditional Indian) medicine, a host of ailments. Here are the top 10 health benefits of honey:
Honey is a great natural source of energy with only 17 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon. Because it is natural, unprocessed sugar, even the most sensitive stomachs can digest it. Fructose and glucose enter the bloodstream directly and provide a quick boost of energy. Rising blood sugar acts as a short-term source of energy during a workout, especially longer resistance exercises.
If you are one of the allergy sufferers, try buying organic honey! Because local bees pollinate local flowers that you are likely allergic to, their nectar will contain small amounts of pollen, which in small amounts allows the body to activate an immune response that produces antibodies against the pollen. This means a less allergic response.
Ancient Greek physician and herbalist Dioscorides recognized honey's anti-inflammatory properties, writing that honey is "good for sunburn and blemishes on the face" and that "honey heals inflammation of the throat and tonsils."
Increases athletic performance and recovery
Recent research has shown that honey is an excellent ergogenic aid and helps increase athletic performance. Honey helps maintain stable blood sugar levels, facilitates muscle recovery and glycogen restoration after a workout, and also regulates the amount of insulin in the body.
When applied topically, honey slowly releases hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), an antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiseptic compound produced from an enzyme, disinfects the wound, kills germs, and heals broken skin. Scientific evidence shows that most strains of harmful bacteria die in the presence of oxygen or hydrogen peroxide.
Healing wounds and skin ailments
The healing property of honey is due to the fact that it offers antibacterial activity, maintains a moist wound condition, and its high viscosity helps provide a protective barrier to prevent infection. Today, clinical observations have documented the effectiveness of honey in treating cuts, burns, insect bites, fungal infections, various skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, and fungal infections from athlete's foot to ringworm. .
Eliminates free radicals from the body and stimulates the immune system
Because honey contains nutraceuticals, it is an excellent source to bind to free radicals and toxins in the body and eliminate them. For these same reasons and its antimicrobial properties, it is excellent for boosting the body's natural immune system.
May aid in healthy weight management
In moderation, honey can help digest the fat stored in the body. If consumed with lemon and / or cinnamon, better weight loss may be noted (with a healthy diet and exercise!).
Honey can be a health aid on sleepless nights. Honey releases serotonin in the body, a neurotransmitter that improves mood and happiness. The body then converts serotonin into melatonin, a chemical compound that regulates the duration and quality of sleep.
Honey is packed with antioxidants that can help prevent cell damage and loss in the brain. A 2011 study published in Menopause found that when postmenopausal women took a daily tablespoon (20g) of Malaysian honey, they had increased memory, which could be used as an alternative therapy for hormone-related intellectual decline. After four months of the study, the women were more likely to have better short-term memory than their counterparts who took hormonal pills.