Honey has been used by our ancestors as early as 2100 B.C., and through the years, it has had various applications. This thick, naturally sweet, and golden fluid was not only used for medicine in the olden days. For instance, honey was also used as a form of currency and an additive for cement and furniture varnish.
Traditional Western and Eastern medicines from Rome and Egypt to China and India relied on honey’s therapeutic properties to combat a variety of conditions, especially to heal wounds quickly.
Winnie Pooh’s favorite food does more than fill a hungry tummy. It boasts anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidative, and other medicinal properties, making it effective in various applications in modern medicine.
With its worldwide and age-old fame as a superfood, there are various indications that honey is capable of improving one’s health. Here are some of them.
1) Honey is Packed with Antibacterial, Antifungal, and Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Research has shown that raw honey can combat bacteria and fungus. It has been found effective in treating various forms of infection, skin ulcers, and nonhealing wounds. The study has cited numerous reasons that make honey effective; among them are the following:
- Honey contains hydrogen peroxide, which is a natural antiseptic.
- Its slightly acidic pH level prevents bacteria proliferation.
- Honey produces an osmotic effect, which eliminates waste products from your blood.
- It acts as an immunostimulant.
- It has high nutritional and antioxidant content.
- Honey lowers prostaglandin levels.
- It elevates nitric oxide levels.
It’s said that Egyptian goddess Cleopatra loved using honey on her face because of its antibacterial properties.
2) Honey is Brimming with Antioxidants
Raw honey is loaded with phytochemicals and a wide range of flavonoids and phenolic acids that act as antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that prevent cell damage and protect our body against free radicals that are linked to certain diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and other chronic diseases. Honey is said to be packed with illness-fighting flavonoids, such as pinocembrin, pinostrobin, and chrysin.
Antioxidant levels contained in honey vary wildly, and they depend on the types of plants that the bee was pollinating. Researchers at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana propose that, generally, darker-colored honey has higher antioxidant content than lighter-hued honey.
It was discovered that the dark buckwheat honey contained more than five times the antioxidant levels in acacia honey, which is one of the lightest-hued honey produced from acacia flowers. Some types of honey were found to possess as many antioxidants as nutritious fruits and vegetables.
3) Honey May Help Prevent Heart Disease
Because of its high antioxidant content, honey may help lower your blood pressure, according to a study. Elevated levels of antioxidants likewise increase blood flow and minimize the formation of blood clots.
High levels of triglycerides in the blood increase your susceptibility to heart disease. A diet that’s high in sugar and refined carbohydrates will set off the triglyceride levels in your blood. Inversely, when honey is consumed in lieu of table sugar, triglyceride levels decrease dramatically.
4) Honey May Help Manage Diabetes
Managing triglyceride content in the blood may also help control diabetes.
While honey is extremely sweet, ingesting it regularly has been linked to lower triglyceride levels, based on multiple studies. One of these studies found out that, compared to those taking table sugar, individuals consuming honey had up to 19% lower triglyceride levels.
Consuming honey instead of table sugar also led to a lower glycemic index in the body, a study found out. The said research discovered that taking honey produced higher levels of C-peptide, a byproduct of insulin production.
This is good news, as insulin is responsible for lowering blood sugar levels in the blood. Normal to high C-peptide levels, therefore, means that the body is making adequate levels of insulin. While the said research shows promising results, more studies are needed to establish honey’s efficacy in fighting and treating diabetes.
5) Honey is A Phytonutrient Powerhouse
Phytonutrients are compounds that protect the plant from fungi, germs, and other threats. It’s also valuable for keeping insects away and in helping prevent radiation.
Honey, being made primarily from nectar, retains the phytonutrients from plants. This makes honey rich in phytonutrients that, when consumed regularly, can protect humans from diseases and help promote the body’s normal processes.
Make sure that your honey is raw, devoid of chemical additives, and has not undergone heavy processing to preserve its high phytonutrient content. You may want to consider this type of honey harvested in life-threatening conditions by a certain tribe in Nepal.
6) Honey is a Wound-Healing Rockstar
Because of its antibacterial properties, honey has been used as a wound-healer since antiquity.
Recent studies show that Manuka honey, a type of honey predominantly made in New Zealand and Australia, is extremely effective in treating wounds and helping tissue regeneration. The Manuka honey-producing bees are known to pollinate the tea leptospermum scoparium bush, which belongs to the tea tree family. Tea tree, as you may have already known, is teeming with antioxidant and antibacterial properties.
7) Honey May Help Maintain Gut Health
This golden liquid is rich in oligosaccharides, also known as prebiotics. Prebiotics, which come from carbs, are non-digestible. They are beneficial for gut health because good bacteria mainly consume them. A prebiotic likewise suppresses the growth of harmful bacteria.
Bifidobacteria, a subgroup of beneficial bacteria touted to maintain gut health, multiplies with a high presence of prebiotics.
Numerous studies have shown that honey is packed with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, making it effective in a few health enhancement applications.
There’s one caveat, though. To enjoy its full health benefits, only buy raw honey. This golden liquid’s medicinal powers depend on the specific flora that the bees used to pollinate and its water content. Buying imported, possibly adulterated, and over-processed honey will negatively impact its healing properties.