Honey for Health, Healing and Weight Loss
Not all sweeteners are created equal, especially when your sweeter comes from the hard work of a honey bee. In order to make honey, bees have to collect, swallow, digest and then regurgitate the nectar of a flower, leaving us with that deliciously sweet taste and sticky texture. Unlike processed sugars, honey in its pure form is easily absorbed and utilized by the body. It provides us immediate energy, balancing our blood sugar, strengthening our immune system, fighting off infection and so much more...honey's homeopathic health benefits are endless. The power of this superfood comes from the wide range of compounds present in the rich amber liquid. Containing about 70-80% sugar, the rest of this miraculous food is comprised of water, minerals, proteins, acids, and other healing substances which prove to be just as effective as many of today's allopathic medicines. In general, when choosing a honey, a good rule to follow is the darker the honey, the higher the level of antioxidant activity. Always opt for the "raw" option to guarantee you're retaining all of its delicious taste and maximum medicinal benefits.
Health: One of the oldest sweeteners, honey is filled with flavanoids, antioxidants which help prevent some cancers and heart disease. Honey’s anti-inflammatory ability to soothe coughs has led to the belief it can also reduce seasonal allergy symptoms. One theory is that it contains small amounts of pollen which, if the body is exposed to in small amounts, can trigger an immune response that produces antibodies to the pollen. The build up of these antibodies in your body results in lesser environmental allergies. Honey is also an amazing all-natural remedy when it comes to soothing a sore throat and suppressing coughs. Its thick consistency helps coat the throat while the sweet taste is believed to trigger nerve endings that protect the throat from continuous coughing. Honey is a great alternative to the over-the-counter common cough suppressant ingredient, dextromethorphan, and can also be used in treating upper respiratory tract infections.
Weight Loss: Switch out sugar for honey and you may stay fuller and more satisfied for longer. According to Dr. Oz, recent research suggests that honey has a more stable effect on hormonal and blood sugar control than table sugar. Just by sweetening your oatmeal, tea, yoghurt and (my new favorite) coffee, you may help prevent weight gain. "In the small study, young, normal weight women ate 450 calorie baked goods for breakfast, all made with either honey or sugar. Then the researchers measured the women's levels of an appetite stimulation hormone called Ghrelin. The hormone level was lower in women who had eaten a honey sweetened baked good." In the study, the women were also left feeling more satisfied and had higher levels of appetite suppressing hormones. Just remember always opt for the "raw" honey option to guarantee that what you're consuming is made from real honey and not artificially processed sugar that is disguised to look like honey.
Healing: Honey's therapeutic importance as a known antibacterial and antiseptic agent has been recognized since 1892. In ancient times the Egyptians, Assyrians, Chinese, Romans, and Greeks used honey as a medicinal remedy for the management of wounds, burns, skin ailments, and gastrointestinal diseases. Because honey is composed mainly of glucose and fructose, two sugars that strongly attract water, honey absorbs water in the wound, drying it out so that the growth of bacteria and fungi is inhibited. Raw honey also contains an enzyme called glucose oxidase that, when combined with water, produces hydrogen peroxide, a mild antiseptic. With it's array of healing properties, raw honey can be kept both in the pantry as well as in the medicine cabinet.
In a recent study conducted in India, Dr. Michael T. Murray, ND compared the wound-healing effects of honey to a conventional treatment (silver sulfadiazene) in 104 first-degree burn patients. He explains, "After one week of treatment, 91 percent of honey-treated burns were infection-free compared with only 7 percent receiving the conventional treatment. At the conclusion of the study, a greater percentage of patients' burns were healed more readily in the honey-treated group. Another study examined the wound-healing benefits of honey applied topically to patients following cesarean section and hysterectomy surgeries. Compared to the group receiving the standard solution of iodine and alcohol, the honey-treated group was infection-free in fewer days, healed more cleanly, and had reduced hospital stays."
Babies Beware: Even though this superfood seems perfect to give to your infant, pediatricians advise parents to wait until the baby is 1 year old before first feeding your baby honey. Honey can contain spores of a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum, which can germinate in a baby's immature digestive system and cause infant botulism, a rare but potentially fatal illness. These spores are usually harmless to adults and children over 1 year old, because the microorganisms normally found in the intestine keep the bacteria from growing.
There are so may new kinds of raw honey out there. Be bold and try an array of flavors from wild blackberry to organic cinnamon...it'll satisfy your sweet tooth, stimulate your taste buds and keep your body healthy.