10 Natural Benefits Of Honey

Sweet, thick honey is as valuable as liquid gold. Honey is full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and has been used for medicinal purposes since centuries. Let's have a look at the health benefits of honey and how can it be used as a beauty product.

A gold mine of health benefits, honey is a thick liquid that is obtained from the nectar of flowers by bees. Produced by bees and marketed by various companies, the color of honey can range from a clear light amber color to a dark golden-brown color. Honey’s color, taste, texture, crystallisation speed and aroma can vary largely on the location of the honey production, the variety of flowers used to obtain nectar and it’s storage condition.

Honey is used a sweetener, as a spread on the morning toast, as an Ayurvedic medicinal treatment and owing to it’s multiple hair and skin benefits, for beauty purposes too. Known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, natural honey has become a part of many popular home remedies for healing wounds and preventing external pathogens from attacking the damaged cells of your body. Loaded with ample amounts of fructose and glucose, honey is rich in healthy calories. About a teaspoon of honey can provide you with a total of 43 calories. Ayurveda has been using honey as a treatment for respiratory and digestive ailments since almost 5000 years. Let’s take a look at the most important benefits of honey that make it a must-have for everyday consumption by all members of your family. If you are looking to buy a jar of honey, have a look at the best brands of honey to buy in India with no added sugar.

Fun Fact About Honey!

Did you know that honey is 80% sugar and 20% water.

Watch – Amazing Health Benefits Of Honey

Health Benefits Of Adding Honey To Your Diet

 10 Natural Benefits Of Honey
A Quick Review – How does honey affect our health

1) Honey Is Loaded With Antioxidants

Honey is loaded with antioxidants such as phenol and flavonoids and can be highly beneficial when it comes to tackling any inflammation or damages related to high oxidative stress in your body. Anti-oxidants also help in strengthening the immune system. Moreover, the intake of antioxidants is linked with a reduced risk of muscular degeneration, as they prevent free radical damage, which is usually caused by the natural process of aging.

Flavonoids and phenols are a certain special category of antioxidants that are usually found in plant sap, hence honey, being extracted by honey-bees from flowering plants, is quite rich in these forms of antioxidants.

2) Honey Helps In Digestion

Antioxidants are known to be free-radical scavengers, and thanks to the antioxidants present in honey, it is responsible for reducing the risk of free-radical damage that can act as a causing factor for the inflammation of your intestines, further resulting in indigestion. Honey, which is evidently rich in anti-oxidants, can prove to be a perfect choice for curing indigestion.

Consumption of honey is also helpful when it comes to tackling acid reflux. Acid reflux is a digestive problem that occurs when the acids in the stomach irritate the lining of the food pipe. Apart from the antioxidant content in honey, which prevents the free radicals from damaging the cells of your food pipe, the texture of honey itself acts as a mucous membrane and can cause long-lasting relief from reflux discomfort.

health benefits of honey
Honey’s antioxidant properties help in preventing the free-radical induced inflammation, which further aids in getting rid of the symptoms of indigestion

3) Honey Is A Natural Remedy For Cough And Cold

According to a research in which honey was tested against a common cold medicine called dextromethorphan, it was suggested that honey is considered as one of the most favorable remedies in order to cure a common cold and cough. Honey acts as an effective cough suppressant, and is widely consumed due to its high availability across the world (1). Honey’s viscous texture is also suitable for relieving you from that irritation caused by the mucus formation in the throat during coughing.

4) Aids In Weight Loss

Consumption of honey is known for boosting energy by converting the already stored fat and increasing the level of good cholesterol. Packed with amino acids, honey is normally consumed with lime juice and mixed with lukewarm water, a solution that plays a vital role in our body’s metabolism. Moreover, another popular recipe that increases the effectiveness of honey for weight loss is honey mixed with cinnamon (dalchini), which in itself is quite a wonderful agent that helps in the shedding of extra pounds.

5) Good For Exercising

Honey is a good source of carbohydrates. About 100 gms serving of honey can provide you with 82 gm of carbs, which could be more than what you need. Carbohydrates are important macronutrients that are required by our body in order to produce energy needed for exercise.

When consumed, the carbohydrate content in a spoonful of honey enters our body and is responsible for powering our muscles. Broken down in smaller sugar molecules like fructose and sucrose, carbohydrates are a very useful form of fuel for immediate tasks that might include exercising.

6) Used For Treatment Of Wounds

Honey has been used as a natural remedy for healing wounds for more than a century. Honey’s syrupy texture makes it an excellent ointment that could be applied over the wounded area. Application of honey causes no irritation and provides instant relief. Honey’s use for healing wounds is based on its antibacterial nature, due to which it prevents the wounded area from coming in contact with any external pathogens and get infected further.

Honey has a pH value ranging from 3.2 to 4.5. This acidic nature of honey plays an important role in the treatment of wounds. It is responsible for allowing the blood to release more oxygen, thus increasing the rate at which wounds heal.

Special honeys used to heal wounds – Manuka honey is a special kind of honey that originated in New Zealand. The bees produce this honey by using the pollen from the manuka bush. Manuka honey is known to have antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and is known to help in treating wounds, burns, boils and sores.

7) High On Minerals

One of the important factors that make honey beneficial is its high-mineral content. With minerals such as potassium and iron, the consumption of honey can be associated with a good cholesterol level. The intake of potassium allows the excess water in your bloodstream to vacate with ease and enter your bladder. However, if the level of sodium is high in your bloodstream, it can make it difficult for the excess water to leave the cell, thus increasing the overall blood pressure in the veins.

The potassium content present in honey is responsible for balancing out the sodium levels and helps you by getting rid of the excess water and maintaining blood pressure levels.

8) Honey Is A Natural Product Used For Skin And Hair Care

Honey, when applied over the skin and scalp, can help with a lot of hair and skin related problems. Apart from having several health benefits for the body, honey is also credited for its use for beauty purposes. Worried about your acne problem? Honey, to the rescue! Thanks to its anti-bacterial nature, when applied over the skin, honey can reduce the risk of acne development, and inflammation.

Applying honey over your scalp can reduce the fungal growth and help in getting rid of dandruff. It is also a great remedy for providing your scalp with the essential moisture required in order to get rid of dryness, and will also promote the growth of a good set of hair. Here are some ways in which you can use honey for healthy skin and hair.

9) Honey And Cholesterol Levels

Several studies have shown that consuming honey can help manage cholesterol levels. Honey can help lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) and boost HDL or good cholesterol.

10) Honey For Boosting Memory

According to studies, some honey varieties like also help in boosting memory. Pinocembrin is a type of flavonoid that exists in honey which helps to improve brain function. Honey has properties that can help protect the brain from many nerve and cell damages.

 10 Natural Benefits Of Honey
Honey is used widely for skin and hair care.

Side Effects Of Honey

Through the post, we have understood very well that Honey is highly beneficial for our health and for beauty purposes. But, we must note that anything in excess is bad and honey is not an exception. Honey can cause some unexpected, and rare side-effects.

Honey and infants – When a child is born in an Indian household, a common practice is to make the baby have honey by a close relative as a family tradition. Doctors strictly recommend against the consumption of honey by a child who is under the age of 12 months (1 year). You ask – “Why? This has been going on in the family for generations and no one said no to this practice back then. Why now?”. This is due to the fact that honey contains a small amount of bee venom, which when ingested by infants, can cause a severe case of poisoning called botulism.

Even though cases of infant botulism are rare, it’s not recommended to feed honey to a child who is younger than a year. Clostridium botulinum spores are the root cause of botulism which are found in soil and honey products.

Honey and blood glucose – The other major side-effect is associated with honey’s over consumption. Honey has the ability to increase your blood glucose level. This is due to the higher level of sucrose found in honey.

Honey and blood pressure – It has been suggested that consuming honey at an unregulated rate can result in the reduction of blood pressure, due to the presence of potassium in honey.

Honey may promote weight gain – There is no questioning that honey has a high calorie content, which can further result in weight gain. A spoonful of honey consists of simple carbohydrates, which when consumed are immediately broken down. And if you don’t spend the energy soon it will get stored as a body fat, thus contributing to weight gain.

Tips To Consume Honey

Heating Honey – DO NOT heat honey or mix it in boiling hot water as this will lead to loss of nutrients and will change the taste of the honey.

Heating crystallised honey – If your honey is crystallised, don’t throw it out. It’s absolutely safe to eat. Even though eating crystallised honey is safe (Convenient and tasty too) to consume, in case you still want it to return it to it’s liquid state, use a double boiler method to melt it. Do not apply direct heat to the honey as it will change the nutritional value and flavor. You can read a detailed article about crystallised honey, which will help to resolve many queries like – what to do with it, how to consume it, how to store it, what causes honey to crystallise and how can you prevent it?

Now that you have read about the health benefits of honey, its side effects and some pointers to keep in mind before you consume honey, what’s stopping you from stirring some in your morning tea? Leave a comment in the section below to tell us how do you like your honey – on a toast, in your cup of green tea or some other way?

FAQs

  1. How do I substitute honey for sugar?

    When substituting honey for granulated sugar in recipes, begin by substituting honey for up to half of the sugar called for in the recipe. For baked goods, make sure to reduce the oven temperature by 25°F to prevent overbrowning, reduce any liquid called for by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda for each cup of honey used. Because of its high fructose content, honey has higher sweetening power than sugar. This means you can use less honey than sugar to achieve the desired sweetness.

  2. Does honey contain fat or cholesterol?

    Honey is composed primarily of carbohydrates from sugar and does not contain fat or cholesterol.

  3. Does honey have an expiration date?

    Honey stored in sealed containers can remain stable for years However, honey is susceptible to physical and chemical changes during storage. It tends to darken and lose its aroma and flavor or crystallize. These are temperature dependent processes, making the shelf life of honey difficult to define. For practical purposes, a shelf life of two years is often stated. Properly processed, packaged and stored honey retains its quality for a long time.

  4. What is raw honey?

    Raw honey is natural, unpasteurized honey, without having anything added or taken away from it's natural form. It is what bees produce in the hive. It is ready to eat after it has been extracted and run through a fine sieve to remove foreign particles such as bee parts, bee pollen and wax. All pure unpasteurised honey is raw honey. Raw honey is cloudier than the processed honey that we usually consume on a day-to-day basis.

  5. What is the difference between raw honey, pure honey and regular honey?

    To simply answer this question – What you receive straight from the bee hive is raw honey. Pure honey is pasteurised but contains no additives. Regular honey is also pasteurised but may contain added sugar.

  6. Can honey be used as a preservative?

    Honey primarily consists of sugar, and sugar makes a great preservative as it has very low moisture content which is not suitable for any kind of microbial growth. Another interesting property of honey is its pH levels, which are perfect to avoid any kind of spoilage. Many cultures around the world have been using honey to preserve their fruits. Here's a simple recipe to get started with making a fruit preserve with honey in it.

    Strawberry honey preserve – Strawberries are loved by one and all and are now available through the winter and spring months. Fully ripe strawberries are packed with antioxidants and you can preserve their sweet tangy taste by making a yummy strawberry honey preserve. You will need some fresh strawberries, thoroughly washed and cut in chunks. A jar of honey, any honey would do but using raw honey would be the best for the preservation of fruits.

    To make the raw strawberry preserve, puree the berries and mix it up with the honey. Make sure not to add any water or moisture in the process as it will dilute honey and may encourage fermentation. To make strawberry honey jam, mash the strawberries and cook them in a pan. Add pectin to the mix and cook until mushy. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and honey. Transfer honey in the jars. Make sure the jars are sterilised.

  7. Is crystallised honey safe for consumption?

    Yes. Crystallised honey is absolutely safe for consumption. Not only that, the crystallisation process helps to preserve the nutrients in the honey. A big plus point of crystallised honey is the ease with which honey can be used to spread on toast.

  8. Can I liquify crystallised honey?

    Yes, you can liquify crystallised honey. Please note that heating honey may change the flavor and nutrition content. It is not advisable to heat honey at uncontrolled temperatures or re-heat honey several times.

Disclaimer – This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information before making any dietary changes.

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