Health Crush Contributor
It’s time to take a page out of Winnie-the-Pooh’s book for nutritional advice and talk about honey.
Honey is indeed a sweet, tasty snack, but it is so much more than just a sweetener.
In fact, honey has been used by humans for countless health benefits for the past 2500 years, and was even referred to as the Nectar of the Gods in the times of ancient Greece.
Boasting health perks ranging from allergy relief to wound care, here is a roundup of the top 8 health benefits of honey that have the research to back them up.
Reduces cough and throat irritation
Honey helps with coughs and throat irritation and has been found to be just as effective as over the counter cough medicines. This is particularly true of buckwheat honey.
In a study of 110 children, a single dose of buckwheat nectar was just as effective as a single dose of dextromethorphan in relieving nocturnal cough and allowing proper sleep.
For cough, a 0.5 to 2 teaspoons of honey at bedtime is a studied and recommended dosage for anyone over the age of one year of age.
Heals burns, cuts, and other wounds
Honey has been used for centuries to treat wounds. The Egyptians are believed to have been the first people to apply honey to wounds.
What makes it so great for this? Honey offers antibacterial activity, maintains a moist wound condition, and a high viscosity which helps to provide a protective barrier to prevent infection.
Various research in the last several decades has documented honey’s effectiveness in treating cuts, burns, insect bites, yeast infections, along with various skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, and fungal infections ranging from athlete’s foot all the way to ringworm.
For the treatment of burns and wounds, honey is typically applied directly to the problem area or in a dressing that is changed every 24 to 48 hours.
Gives you flawless skin
Countless studies have shown honey’s antibacterial qualities are particularly useful for the skin, and when used with the other ingredients such as milk, the nectar of the gods can be very moisturizing and nourishing.
Honey and beeswax are commonly used in the beauty industry as a skin moisturizer, softener and to heal the skin tissue.
Acts as a brain booster
Nature’s liquid gold is loaded in antioxidants that may help prevent cellular damage and loss within the brain.
A 2011 study published in Menopause found a daily spoonful of Malaysian honey may boost postmenopausal women’s memory, which can provide an alternative therapy for the hormone-related intellectual decline.
After four months of taking 20 grams of honey a day, the women were more likely to have better short-term memory than their counterparts who took hormone pills.
Provides Energy and Endurance
Honey is an excellent source of all natural energy. According to the USDA, honey contains about 64 calories per tablespoon.
A 2015 study showed that honey improves running performance and glucose metabolism compared to plain water in the heat.
Try a tablespoon of honey as a recovery aid during your next workout to go the extra mile.
It can combat cancer and heart disease
Honey contains flavonoids, antioxidants which multiple studies have found help reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease.
For example, a study published in 2012 found that daily consumption of honey reduces risk of chronic infections by microorganisms.
This is a big deal for honey because chronic infections have risk for cancer development.
Reduces ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders
A number of studies have also shown that honey treatment may help disorders such as ulcers and bacterial gastroenteritis.
For example, orally ingesting honey has been found to be effective at treating diarrhea and gastroenteritis.
Functions as a natural immune booster
Various studies have suggested that daily consumption of honey improves one’s immune system.
A 2013 study found that ingesting honey at a high dose (1 gram per kilogram of body weight of honey daily) can improve allergy symptoms over a period of eight weeks.
“Local honey is great for seasonal allergy relief. When a person eats local honey that is raw, they are essentially ingesting local pollen. So over time, a person may become less-sensitive to this pollen and experience fewer seasonal allergy symptoms.” explains saludmóvil’s™ integrative medicine expert Dr. Joseph Mosquera.
What’s the healthiest type of honey?
There are more than 300 different types of honey just in the US, so I touched base with Dr. Mosquera for his recommendations on how to maximize honey’s health benefits.
“The benefits of honey that we get greatly depend on its quality. So if you want to get the goodness from your honey, make sure it is pure, raw, of the local variety, and at room temperature.” Recommends Dr. Mosquera.
“Ideally you want honey that is pure, unheated, unpasteurized and unprocessed. Raw honey contains all the beneficial vitamins, minerals and enzymes not present in refined honey.” Says Dr. Mosquera.
Cautions to take with honey
Honey has many health benefits, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any drawbacks or risks to adding honey to your diet.
When it comes to being cautious about honey, Dr. Mosquera notes you should never give honey to a child less than 12 months old.
“This is because honey can have botulism spores or the child may have an allergy.” Says Dr.Mosquera.
And even though honey is one of the healthiest sweeteners, it still should certainly be used in moderation.
Mild honey intoxication side effects can include weakness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, sweating, and nausea.
Where can I find healthy honey?
Raw honey might be available at your nearest grocery store, but it should be available at your local health food store, co-op, farmers market, or even better, via a local beekeeper. It’s also available online.
“If you have a sweet tooth, choosing honey over processed sugars is a good choice. Ditching refined sugar for pure raw honey instead has huge health benefits!” Says Dr. Mosquera
By understanding all of the healing powers that honey has to offer, I hope your teeming to lap up every bit of sweet nectar like Winnie-The-Poo when you crack open your next jar of honey.
Happy honey hunting friends!