Honey is one of the most precious gifts Nature has given to mankind. This wonderfully rich golden liquid is touted as a healthier alternative to refined, white sugar. It is not just a treat for the taste buds, but also offers several health benefits. Its health benefits and medicinal qualities have been documented in almost all religious scriptures. It is an integral part of traditional medicine in India and China. It is loaded with nutrients and contains powerful antioxidants and antibacterial properties. It is a good source of Vitamin B2, B6, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese and other important minerals in trace amounts.
Health Benefits of Honey
Honey is supposed to have a long medicinal history. The ancient Egyptians not only made offerings of honey to their Gods, but also used it as a healing substance to treat wounds and cuts. Some of the most popular benefits of honey are:
1. Honey is a very good source of energy and contains simple carbohydrates which can be easily absorbed by the body. It is known to instantly boost performance and endurance levels, and reduce muscle fatigue. Our body absorbs the glucose in honey quickly which gives an instant energy boost. It does not even raise blood sugar levels in the body as compared to refined sugar.
2. It contains flavonoids and antioxidants which help in eliminating free radicals from the body and prevents the growth of tumors and several forms of cancer.
3. Honey has been used as a natural cure in the first aid treatment of wounds, burns and cuts since centuries. Its antibacterial, anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties inhibit the growth of certain bacteria and keep the wounds clean and free from infection. It also aids in accelerating the healing process and reduces inflammation and pain. The drying effect of the simple sugars and honey’s antibacterial nature combine to create this effect.
4. It is often used as a home remedy for treating sore throats, yeast infections and coughs. Its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties soothe sore throats and reduce bacterial infections. Take one teaspoon of honey mixed with warm water to soothe the inflammation or make a concoction using 2 teaspoon of honey mixed with 4 teaspoons of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Gargle with this concoction twice or thrice a day.
5. Studies have revealed that honey may reduce the level of LDL cholesterol, which causes closed arteries, thus reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. It also raises the level of HDL cholesterol, thereby lowering the risk of developing heart diseases.
6. Honey mixed with cinnamon revitalizes the arteries and veins of the heart and reduces cholesterol by 10%. Honey is very beneficial for the digestive tract and alleviates digestive problems like indigestion and stomach pain. One teaspoon of honey before every heavy meal is the best way to treat indigestion. Take a spoonful of honey mixed with a glass of warm water daily to ensure proper bowel movement. It also reduces stomach disorders like ulcers and bacterial gastroenteritis.
7. Honey promotes dental health by preventing plaque build-up in the mouth and gums. It kills the germs and keeps the mouth clean and fresh.
8. Honey not only keeps you disease free, but also helps you to shed extra weight. It contains around 22 amino acids and important minerals which are essential for proper metabolism, thereby preventing obesity. Lemon juice with little honey every morning is believed to be effective as an anti-cellulite treatment. Honey mixed with cinnamon is an effective weight loss treatment. This will cleanse the liver, eliminate toxins and flush the fat deposition from the body.
9. Honey is also effective in treating sleeplessness or insomnia. Take a glass of hot milk and add a teaspoon of honey to calm the mind and induce sleep. You can also add a teaspoon of honey to your chamomile tea.
10. Surprisingly enough, honey can also help to regulate blood sugar levels. Though it does contain simple sugars, it is not the same as white sugar and artificial sugars. It has the perfect combination of fructose and glucose which helps to regulate the blood sugar level, making it a perfect glycemic index food.