Honey has been used by countless cultures all around the world over the past 2,500 years. While the numerous health benefits of honey have made it an important element of traditional medicines such as Ayurvedic treatments, scientists are also researching the benefits in relation to modern medicine. There is almost no part in the world where honey is not widely used and celebrated as a part of the cultural diet.
But what makes honey so popular? Most likely, it is the ease with which it can be consumed. One can eat it directly, put it on bread like a jam, mix it with juice or any drink instead of sugar, or mix it with warm water, lime juice, cinnamon and other herbs to make a medicine. It is savored by all due to its taste as well as health benefits, making it extremely useful and versatile. There are several benefits of honey.
It can be used as a substitute for sugar in many food and drinks. It contains about 69% glucose and fructose, enabling it to be used as a sweetener that is better for your overall health than normal white sugar.
Though it has more calories than sugar when honey is consumed with warm water, it helps in digesting the fat stored in your body. Similarly, honey with lemon juice or cinnamon help in reducing weight.
According to the USDA, honey contains about 64 calories per tablespoon. Therefore, it is used by many people as a source of energy. On the other hand, one tablespoon of sugar will give you about 15 calories. Furthermore, the carbohydrates in it can be easily converted into glucose by even the most sensitive stomachs, since it is very easy for the body to digest this pure, natural substance.
IMPROVING ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
Recent research has shown that honey is an excellent ergogenic aid and helps in boosting the performance of athletes. It is a great way to maintain blood sugar levels, muscle recuperation, and glycogen restoration after a workout, as well as regulating the amount of insulin in the body, as well as energy expenditure.
SOURCE OF VITAMINS AND MINERALS
It contains a variety of vitamins and minerals. The type of vitamins and minerals and their quantity depends on the type of flowers used for apiculture. Commonly, honey contains vitamin C, calcium and iron. If you check the vitamin and mineral content in regular sugar from any other source, you will find it to be completely absent or insignificant.
ANTIBACTERIAL AND ANTIFUNGAL
It has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, so it is often used as a natural antiseptic in traditional medicines.
It contains nutraceuticals, which are very effective for the removal of free radicals from the body. As a result, our body immunity is improved against many conditions, even potentially fatal ones like cancer or heart disease.
SKIN CARE WITH MILK AND HONEY
Milk and honey are often served together, since both of these ingredients help in creating smooth, beautiful skin. It has anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties that act as a great moisturiser, making the skin elastic and supple. It keeps wrinkles, blemishes and dryness at bay.
Honey also contains antiseptic properties that help treat indigestion by relieving the acidity in the stomach. It also neutralises gas.
Certain studies also say that honey, when mixed with cinnamon, revitalises the arteries and veins of the heart and reduces cholesterol in the blood by up to 10%.
DEFENSE AGAINST COLDS
Research has also shown honey to be a great defense against colds and coughs. A constant cough can easily be treated with two teaspoons of honey. In addition to acting as a natural cough suppressant, the thick consistency of honey coats the throat. It is also believed that the sweet taste triggers nerve endings, which protect against constant coughing. In some studies, honey has been shown to work as well as dextromethorphan, a common chemical used in cough suppressant medications.
Science has proven that as we age there is a buildup of oxidants and toxins within the brain, which damages our brain, in particular our memory. A study as recent as 2011 discovered that a daily spoonful of honey can improve short-term memory. In addition, the ability of honey to absorb calcium assists with brain health. The brain requires calcium, which helps with thought process and decision-making. Yet again, another reason to eat honey.
IMPROVE SLEEP QUALITY
Honey has been shown to improve sleep quality. The sugars in honey cause an increase in serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter within the brain that improves mood and happiness. Rene Ficek, a dietitian nutritionist, states, “The body converts serotonin into melatonin, a chemical compound that regulates the length and the quality of sleep.”
The European Journal of Medical Research published a study in 2001, confirming honey as an effective treatment for dandruff. The study found that applying honey diluted in 10 percent warm water to areas of dandruff and leaving it on for three hours relieved itching and flaking within one week. Moreover, skin lesions healed within a two-week time period and even resulted in less hair loss.