Diabetic diet generally includes very less amount of sugar. Then, can diabetics take honey to enjoy its medicinal value and above all the perfect taste. Yes, diabetics can take honey in limited amount without the fear of increasing their blood sugar levels. In fact using honey for diabetes patients helps to keep the blood sugar levels under control. Besides the hypoglycemic benefit honey offers other benefits too.
Components of honey contributing for health benefits in diabetics
- The oligosaccharides present in honey are responsible for various benefits being offered by it. They are responsible for the hypoglycemic effect, elimination of cholesterol as well as other health benefits of honey. However, only raw honey can offer these benefits as these oligosaccharides will be converted in to simple sugars in processed honey.
- Propolis present in honey acts on Beta cells of pancreas stimulating them to secrete more of insulin. Thus, it helps to reduce the insulin dosage.
Properties of honey beneficial in treatment of diabetes
Simple to digest: Honey gets digested very easily in the human gastrointestinal tract despite of high acidic content. Regular intake of honey promotes the secretion of gastrointestinal hormones such as insulin that plays pivotal role in regulating the blood sugar levels. Hence, honey is highly recommended for diabetic patients as a replacement for sugar.
Low in calories: Even though honey contains very less amount of calories it provides high amount of energy to the body. Regular intake of honey by diabetics helps to improve their energy levels and overcome symptoms such as lethargy and weakness. The best part is it generates the energy gradually so as to enable the body to utilize it to the maximum possible extent.
Acts as Skin cleanser: The ability of honey to absorb and retain water prevents the skin from drying and promotes the overall skin health. Benefit of honey for diabetes is prevention of diabetic sores and ulcers. A mixture of honey with almonds serves as a good cleansing agent for skin. It not only gets rid of the dead skin cells but also stimulates the growth of new cells.
Ability to reduce cholesterol : It is a known fact that disturbed carbohydrate metabolism in diabetic patients promotes obesity and accumulation of cholesterol in the arteries resulting in thick arterial walls. This in turn promotes the risk of heart attacks. But, regular consumption of honey that promotes the insulin secretion regularizes the carbohydrate metabolism and also reduces the cholesterol content in arteries preventing heart attack. Start your day with a spoon of honey and you can keep these ailments at bay.
Anti-bacterial: The high blood sugar content in diabetic patients prevents wounds from healing. Long term non healing wounds result in secondary infections that make the wounds even worse. Honey mixed with cinnamon powder serves as a strong anti-bacterial agent and promotes wound healing. It even reduces pain, swelling and redness in the region of wound.
Home remedies of honey for diabetes
Honey and jamun seed powder: Mix ¼ tsp of Indian blackberry seed powder with one teaspoon of honey and have it once in a day. Regular intake of this mixture for fifty days reduces the blood sugar levels greatly. After fifty days the mixture can be taken in diluted form to continue enjoying the benefits.
Ways of using honey for diabetics
Honey serves as a best substitute for sugar. However, few people hesitate to substitute honey for sugar as it may alter the taste or color of the food. Honey can be used in foods without such fears by following simple tips.
Using honey in tea: Add one teaspoon of honey in tea. It not only gives good taste to tea but also a small dose of antioxidants that help in removal of free radicals. Use it with green tea for even more benefits.
Using honey in baking : The high moisture content and sweetness of honey gives unique taste and texture to baked products. However, use less amount of honey compared to sugar. If you are using one cup of sugar, use only ¾ cup of honey as it is highly acidic. To neutralize the acid add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda. The moisture content of honey is also high compared to dry sugar hence, slightly reduce the amount of fluids such as milk or water to be added in the recipe. Another simple tip to be followed while using honey in baking is to lower the temperature by about 25 degrees to prevent over browning of the baked products as honey turns brown faster than sugar.
While using honey in foods select a variety with flavor that best suits your taste.
Which honey variety has to be used for diabetes?
There are many varieties of honey and few diabetics question which honey variety do they have to use for obtaining maximum benefits and also to prevent the adverse effects of high amount of simple sugars found in certain honey varieties. Honey varieties such as Manuka honey and acacia honey with high fructose can be used for diabetics. Just make sure that the honey variety you are using has a low amount of dextrose and high amount of fructose. The best part is these honey varieties not only lower the blood glucose levels but also help in healing wounds that are hard to heal in diabetics.
Precautions while using honey in diabetes
- Diabetics should not take honey without consulting the doctor.
- Though honey helps to lower the blood glucose levels it should not be used in high doses as it is also a sugar rich compound and contributes to blood glucose levels. It is safe to have only one teaspoon of honey for diabetics.
- If you are allergic to bee pollen then choose honey that is filtered and free of bee pollen.
Honey varieties with strong antibacterial properties and oligosaccharides can be used in very limited amounts by diabetics. Regular use of honey is known to help lower the insulin dosage. Use of honey for diabetes even reduces the risk of deadly diseases such as obesity, atherosclerosis and cardiac arrest that are commonly observed in diabetics. Do not use processed honey with high glycemic index. Thus, consult your physician today and talk about using honey that serves to lower your insulin dosage.