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 of honey in relation to modern medicine, particularly in the healing of wounds.
It is known as Honig in German, Miele in Italian, Shahad in Hindi, Miel in French and Spanish, Mel in Portuguese, мед in Russian, Honing in Dutch, and μελι in Greek; 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 honey 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.
Health Benefits of Honey
The health benefits of honey include the following treatments, taken from both traditional and modern medical experts.
Sweetener: Sugar can be substituted with honey in many food and drinks. Honey 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.
Weight Loss: Though honey has more calories than sugar, when honey is consumed with warm water, it helps in digesting the fat stored in your body. Similarly, honey and lemon juice as well as honey and cinnamon help in reducing weight. Read more about the benefits of honey in weight loss.
Energy Source: According to the USDA, honey contains about 64 calories per tablespoon. Therefore, honey 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 honey 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. Honey 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: Honey 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 Properties: Honey has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, so it is often used as a natural antiseptic in traditional medicines.
Antioxidants: Honey 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. Consuming milk and honey every morning is a common practice in many countries for this very reason.
Honey in Wound Management: Significant research is being carried out to study the benefits of honey in the treatment of wounds. The Nursing Standard explains some of these benefits of honey in wound management in the document. These have been listed below:
- Honey possesses antimicrobial properties.
- It helps in promoting autolytic debridement.
- It deodorizes malodorous wounds.
- It speeds up the healing process by stimulating wound tissues.
- It helps in initiating the healing process in dormant wounds.
- Honey also helps in promoting moist wound healing.
The healing powers of honey are not overstated. The Waikato Honey Research Unit provides details about the world-wide research that is being carried out on the benefits of honey in medicine. Furthermore, BBC reported in July of 2006 that doctors at the Christie Hospital in Didsbury, Manchester are planning to use honey for faster recovery of cancer patients after surgery. Such research will provide scientific evidence for the so-called “beliefs” held by honey lovers all over the world and will help in propagating the benefits of honey to more people.
Now that you know the benefits of honey, how do you eat it? You can eat it raw, add it to water or different beverages and you can also add it to several recipes.