Honey is considered one of nature’s best and most powerful products and a superfood.
Since the dawn of time, honey has always been a well thought of, glorified superfood – “a gift from Heaven”. Ancients used synonyms nectar and the food of the gods to describe honey and its healing properties. This was not without reason.
Humans have used honey for thousands of years. It was and is still used in foods, beverages, remedies, and balms, even in symbolism and religion. Honey has a long preservation life, so it is ideal for long-term storage and used as a preservative for other goods.
Honey has been used as a natural remedy to fight ulcers, burns, wounds, and gastric disturbances, but only lately scientific research is conducted to find out how honey really does what it does, and if there is any evidence behind some common beliefs.
As research proceeds, it becomes more and more clear why honey is a Superfood. It is important however to note, that all those benefits come from using high-quality raw honey, which should not be heated to more than 40 °C.
People have used raw honey in traditional medicine for hundreds of years. This sweet, natural substance may contain healthful elements that processed honey does not have.
Honey provides a range of health benefits. Raw honey, which comes straight from the beehive, contains healthful bee pollen, bee propolis, and plenty of antioxidants.
Research has not confirmed that raw honey has more health benefits than regular honey, but some people believe that the processing and pasteurization that regular honey undergoes diminishes many of the beneficial elements. Some people believe that because of this, raw honey provides more health benefits than regular honey.
Benefits of consuming honey as a part of lifestyle:
A good source of antioxidants
Raw honey contains an array of plant chemicals that act as antioxidants. Some types of honey have as many antioxidants as fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants help to protect your body from cell damage due to free radicals.
Free radicals contribute to the aging process and may also contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Research shows that antioxidant compounds in honey called polyphenols may play a role in preventing heart disease.
Antibacterial and antifungal properties
Research has shown that raw honey can kill unwanted bacteria and fungus. It naturally contains hydrogen peroxide, an antiseptic. Its effectiveness as an antibacterial or antifungal varies depending on the honey, but it’s clearly more than a folk remedy for these kinds of infections.
Honey for Immunity
Honey’s antioxidant and antibacterial properties help improve the digestive system and boost immunity. It is also a powerhouse of antioxidants, which are very effective for the removal of free radicals from the body. “Start your day by adding a spoonful of honey and lemon juice (from half a lemon) to a cup of warm water. Drink this cleansing tonic before breakfast to reap the benefits”, says Delhi-based Nutritionist Anshul Jaibharat.
Honey for Weight Loss
It is believed that drinking warm water with honey and a splash of lime first thing in the morning is an effective anti-cellulite treatment, as it helps to increase body metabolism. But with 64 calories per tablespoon, how can honey help you shed those extra pounds? According to a 2010 study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, honey helps control your appetite. If you consume honey before bed, the body begins to burn more fat during those early hours of sleep. You can even take a step further and replace all refined sugar in your diet with honey in order to rebalance the brain signal that compels you to consume more sweet stuff.
According to a 2001 study published in the European Journal of Medical Research, honey can bring temporary relief to the scalp by targeting dandruff. The study found that applying honey diluted with 10 percent warm water to problem areas and leaving it on for three hours before rinsing, led to itch relief and no scaling within a week. Skin lesions healed within two weeks and patients even showed an improvement in hair loss.
Honey for Fabulous Skin
Honey is a fantastic moisturizer and works wonders on patches of dry skin. You can use it to soften up your knees and elbows, even chapped lips. During the cold winter months, just rub some honey onto your face and wash off after 30 minutes. You can even create a moisturizing scrub – all you need to do is add some sugar and voila! It works as a natural exfoliator. Give your skin the benefit of honey’s powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and ultra-moisturizing properties.
A clinical trial showed that honey significantly lowered frequency, severity, and annoyance of cough in 300 children. It also improved sleep quality for the children and their parents.
For acute coughs for children, honey was better than no treatment, diphenhydramine (Benadryl), or placebo for relief. Honey was not better than dextromethorphan though and there was no strong evidence either for or against the use of honey to treat an acute cough.
Another study found that a teaspoon or two of honey can help suppress a cough.
Honey may be used as an additional treatment for mucositis, childhood cough, persistent post-infectious cough, and after tonsillectomy.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Dunya News’ editorial stance.