Honey is a naturally produced liquid made by honey bees from the nectar collected from native flowers near the bees’ environment. Nutritionally, 1 tablespoon of honey contains approximately 64 calories and 17 grams of four different types of sugars: fructose, glucose, maltose and sucrose. Honey is a much healthier alternative to refined table sugar and is believed to help with a number of health conditions. When it comes to health benefits, the best kinds of honey are raw and unpasteurized varieties due to the fact that pasteurization kills many of the beneficial nutrients and enzymes in the honey.
The Health Benefits of Honey
Raw honey contains antioxidants that can help fight disease by combating free radicals that cause cancer and other chronic illnesses. Raw honey can kill bacteria and fungus, thus preventing infections. The antioxidants in honey also slow down the aging process, keeping you looking younger and healthier.
It is believed that honey is very good for intestinal health as it acts as a prebiotic that feeds the good bacteria (or probiotics) in the gut. Studies have shown that it can help heal stomach ulcers and stop diarrhea.
Honey and Treating Illness and Ailments
Honey can soothe a sore throat and eliminate coughing. Local, raw honey can also help reduce seasonal allergies.
The antioxidant properties in honey can reduce blood pressure and protect you from cardiovascular disease. Honey can reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol).
A particular type of honey, known as Manuka honey, is exceptional at treating burns, psoriasis, herpes lesions and other skin infections. When applied topically, Manuka honey can drastically reduce healing time and scarring of the skin.
Believe it or not, honey can help with Type-2 Diabetes by reducing triglyceride levels in the blood. Multiple studies have linked regular honey consumption with lower triglyceride levels, especially when it is used to replace table sugar. In addition to the aforementioned burn healing, honey is also a wonderful healing agent for diabetic ulcers, healing an incredible 97 percent of diabetic ulcers in one study.
The Nutrition of Honey
The real magic of honey is in its natural goodness, and its ability to replace refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup as well as artificial sweeteners such as aspartame. But remember, although honey is natural, it’s still made of sugar and relatively high in calories, so be sure to consume it in moderation. And always try to buy local, raw honey whenever possible.
I love to drizzle a little honey on top of cereal or granola on my acai bowl. I also add a spoonful of honey to my homemade smoothies. However you choose to consume your honey, I hope it will please your palate and bring you improved health.