Honey is a concentrated sweet and natural product produced from nectar of flowers by bees. It is available in many textures like red, brown, white, and often black too. The flavor and appearance, in terms of color, is widely driven by the type of flower nectar it has been extracted from. While the most commonly available honeys are made from clover, alfalfa, heather and acacia flowers, the nutritional profile encompasses vitamin B2, B6, manganese including iron.
Why is honey unique ?
The distinct composition and processing enables it work as an antioxidant and antimicrobial. Presence of monosaccharides fructose along with glucose is responsible for its sweetness. Since centuries it has been consumed by human in different foods and drinks. It is recommended for various medical conditions too. Nonetheless, it is found year round mostly it is used and recommended during fall and summer season when it is freshly harvested. It had been used as an antiseptic during wartime by the early Asyrians, Romans, Germans and Chinese and Egyptians.
Health Benefits of Honey
There are multiple health benefits of honey which has been established and exploited since centuries. The benefits are mostly dependent on the purity and quality of honey.
Anti-tumor and Anti-colon Cancer : Raw honey is coupled is little quantity of resins, available in propolis, which is a unique blend of resins along with different other elements, used by bees for packing the hive and thus it becomes secure from micro-organisms and even bacteria. The phytonutrient, available in propolis and honey have properties of cancer-prevention and anti-tumor.
Researchers have found that honey is useful in treating colon cancer found in animals by eliminating the functioning of lipoxygenase along with phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C protein. The medicinal properties of phytonutrients are diluted if the honey is heated extensively.
Treats Infection in Upper Respiratory System in Child : If the study conducted on 2-18 years of children is to be believed, honey can treat infections of upper respiratory tract in children of this age bracket. If the infection is less than 7 days old, buckwheat honey can treat the infection if given a single dose at night time.
Honey is Immunity Booster : Honey is a great immunity booster. A comprehensive research, conducted in Israel health centers, discovered that honey can diminish the condition of acute febrile neutropenia (white blood cell count drops due to high fever).
Honey Controls Blood Sugar Level : Honey is ideal for controlling blood sugar level. Fructose found in honey releases the enzyme found in liver cell's nucleus, which is important for blending the glucose and glycogen. A right quantity of glycogen is necessary in liver to fuel the brain during our sleep and also during physical activities.
Catapults Athletic Performance
Of late researchers have established that honey is also an ergogenic aid (an ingredient enabling enhancing athlete's performance) along with having wound healing properties. During ancient Olympic, the athletes used to consume special food coupled with honey to catapult their performance in sports.
After performing a rigorous weight-lifting workout, people used to consume a rich protein supplement mixed with honey to get ample energy through carbohydrate source. It is accepted as a great source of instant carbohydrate. It has been observed that honey is also helpful in muscle recovery and glycogen rejuvenation.
Honey Heal Injuries : Honey is equipped with wound healing properties, which is also considered to be its most prominent health quality. It has been facilitated as an antiseptic in treating ulcers, injuries and burns as well. Raw honey is pregnant with an element termed as glucose oxidase, which works as antiseptic when mixed with water. Honey is also accepted as antioxidants that act as antibacterial agents.
Honey Eliminates Free Radicals : Regular intake of honey can shoot antioxidant compounds present in human blood as per the research of the American Chemical Society in Anaheim, CA. An association was discovered amongst the honey consumption and the polyphenolic antioxidant level found in human blood.
Honey helps in Controlling Cholesterol, Type 2 Diabetes : After an array of researches and experiments it is quite evident that health benefits of honey also extend to maintaining the right cholesterol and retaining the blood sugar level in type 2 diabetics. It has been established as the healthiest natural sweetener. Natural honey cuts down the cholesterol by 8% in patients with enhanced cholesterol level.
It also drops the blood sugar level in type 2 diabetic patients. So, it is quite safe and healthy to enjoy a small quantity of honey, in any form, during morning hours with lunchtime yogurt or before afternoon nap.
It has been established that a table spoon of pure honey can keep away many superficial ailments that can bother you often in your day to day working.
How to Select and Store Honey
Honey is generally found in pasteurized form nonetheless, it is also available in raw state. You should look for 100% pure honey. Normal honey is transparent, creamy honey is mostly opaque in texture and is formed by mixing crystallized honey into liquid honey. Special honeys, which are produced from nectar of various flowers, can also be found. The best identification tips is ‘the darker the texture, the deeper the taste’.
It is recommended to store the honey in airtight container in a cool and dry place to avoid absorbing the moist air as it can dilute its medicinal properties and its high level of sugar content along with acidic pH can bread microorganism.
Precautions while using honey
It is suggested not to use honey products or honey as flavor for infants below one year of age. It contains Clostridium botulinum spores and some quantity of toxins which may result in infant botulism (a fatal paralytic ailment). Honey can be consumed by children above 12 months of age bracket.
Safe Honey Dosage Per Day
If you are healthy without any physical ailment you can take 1-2 teaspoons of honey everyday preferably in morning hours. It is suggested to consult your physician if you are starting any other medicine along with honey to ward off any allergic or interactive reaction.
Using honey in daily life
- Boils: Apply pure honey directly on boils, for best results leave it overnight
- Healing Wounds: Honey is a great first aid tool. It can be applied straight on external ulcers, wounds, cold sores, genital herpes, cysts, etc. Pure honey has powerful antibacterial properties and it literally sucks the moisture out of bacteria, effectively killing them, while leaving you unharmed.
- Dry Coughs: Get immediate relief from dry coughs by taking one spoon of honey.
- Use honey instead of sugar in your tea, it is a great way to bring honey on your daily life.
Health benefits of honey are numerous. One of the best thing regarding honey is it can be taken raw, added to various recipes , herbs etc. with great results in taste and health. To enjoy all its benefits, make sure you have pure honey and not the adulterated one!