Health Benefits of Honey
Honey has been a popular remedy for many years. The sweet, light, and sticky liquid can be used in everything from skincare to cooking. There is much talk around the benefits of honey in regards to soothing an upset stomach to warding off certain allergies. The best way to get the full benefits of honey is to consume it in its raw form. Here are the six scientifically-backed health benefits of raw honey and how to enjoy them.
Honey is naturally sweet. Most varieties come straight out of the hive with no added sugar. Raw honey comes from flowers and bees, so all it contains is honey and nothing else. It doesn’t have calories, sodium or anything else added to it like corn syrup.
Raw honey is good for digestion. Since the pollen granules do not have any enzymes to break down, they stay on the inside of your intestines where they are easily digested. Raw honey is often recommended as a digestive aid because it can help you avoid certain food sensitivities and keeps you feeling full.
It is mildly acidic. Because all honey is made up of about 95% water, it is slightly more alkaline than most fruits and vegetables. Because of this, when it is ingested, it tends to stay in your stomach for a longer period of time, delaying the absorption of most foods. Some experts recommend using a food-safe low-sugar, high-fructose corn syrup instead of regular honey because it is slightly more alkaline. You can also add a bit of lemon juice to improve the flavor.
Honey has lots of antioxidants. Like other natural sugars, it has many different types of antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize other molecules. Different types of antioxidants include vitamin C, flavonoids, manganese, and several types of polyphenols. They all help keep our cells healthy, prevent diseases, and promote longevity.
One of the most important things that natural honey can do is reduce the risk of heart disease. Researchers have shown that raw honey increases the amount of a chemical called nitric oxide in our bodies, which helps to strengthen the arteries and keep our blood vessels flexible. Raw honey also contains an antioxidant known as quercetin, which maybe even more important than the others we have just mentioned. Quercetin has been proven to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may explain its ability to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Honey has many other benefits, too. For example, it contains high quantities of vitamins and minerals, especially B vitamins and calcium. It can improve the health of your hair and nails, and it can help to rebuild muscle tissue after trauma. The sweetener in the honey makes it taste better and may suppress cravings. Finally, it contains anti-aging qualities – some studies have found that eating honey after a certain age reduces wrinkles.
There are many different types of honey available on the market today. Some varieties are lower in fructose, some higher. However, fructose is still the main type of sugar found in processed honey, so it is wise to read the labels carefully. If you feel that you are getting too much sugar in your diet, then reducing your consumption of sweets and other “low-glycemic” foods may be the best way to go.
One thing you probably won’t find in the typical American breakfast is the beeswax candles that are made from raw honey. Beeswax candles are made from honey that has been processed (presumably with hydrogenated oil) and are only available at specialty stores. If you want a natural, unprocessed honey candle, look for pure honey in its natural state – you can often find it in gourmet grocery stores and online.
Last but not least, organic honey is the sweetest of all the varieties. As it turns out, beekeepers tend to collect and process the most natural, pure forms of honey possible. Since organic honey is still harvested from the frames of bees, it is often produced without the use of any added sweetener, such as agave nectar or Splenda. Look for organic honey in organic stores, and look for organic brands of honey that offer no artificial sweeteners.
Whether you use processed or raw honey to cook with, or to add flavor to your favorite desserts, there are many delicious, healthy benefits of honey that you may never have even considered. If you want to get started cooking with honey as soon as possible, look for pure honey that offers no added sugar or salt. You may also want to consider trying a honey detox diet or adding raw honey to your diet for immediate health benefits (you may also want to try other antioxidant activities for optimal wellness). Regardless of where you choose to start, incorporating more raw, organic honey into your diet is definitely worth the experiment.
— By Gaurav Joshi
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