Honey is the thick, sweet by-product of bees and has been used as a healthy alternative to sugar and other sweeteners. It is simply amazing how bees can feed on flower nectar and through a chemical process, their saliva turns that nectar into honey. In addition to being a natural sweetener, there has been a lot of scientific research that supports honey’s use as an antioxidant and an antimicrobial medium.
Raw Honey – The Top Antimicrobial
The level of healthy benefits of honey depends greatly on its quality, how it is produced by the bees as well as the process the honey undergoes to prepare for human consumption. Raw honey is chockfull of phytonutrients, thanks to the pollen collected by bees through many different plants. These phytonutrients contains a number of components that have shown promise in preventing colon cancer, tumor growth and cleansing wounds.
However, when the honey is heat processed in a factory, a number of those beneficial phytonutrients are processed out. One natural resin ingredient in the honey called propolis is particularly beneficial. The bees use this propolis resin to “patch” their bee hives to prevent microorganisms such as bacteria and fungus from entering the hive. If propolis can protect the bees from germs, can you imagine what it can do for you?
It is important that in order for honey to be beneficial to you, it be labeled raw, natural or organic. These forms likely have not been heat processed and manufactured which means the honey will contain the curative properties for good health. Once you discover the many wonderful benefits of this sweet, golden nectar, you just might want to keep a bottle in your first aid kit in addition to the kitchen!
Top Benefits of Honey
1. Honey is a powerful antioxidant. It can help remove free radicals that enter your body each day from germs, air pollution and even some of the foods you eat. Consuming a spoonful or two of honey a day can be quite beneficial. 2. As an antimicrobial, honey can be used on minor wounds such as burns, cuts and even sores that have trouble healing. Raw honey absorbs the excess moisture which could breed germs; plus, honey, when it reacts with water, produces a natural form of hydrogen peroxide which cleanses the wound. 3. Honey is the preferred sweetener for dieters and especially for people with diabetes. It prevents spikes in blood sugar and even helps lower blood sugar. Unlike sugar which contains empty calories, honey contains several vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B6 and B2 in addition to some iron and manganese. 4. As a cough treatment, honey not soothes the throat by coating it, but thanks to the antimicrobial properties, honey helps kill the germs that are causing the irritated throat. 5. Honey helps boost athletic performance over the long term. Not only does honey provide energy, but it also helps in repairing muscles and restores glycogen levels.
Do not store your honey in a well-lit or warm area such a cabinet near the stove. The heat can break down the beneficial properties of the honey. Instead, keep it in a cool, dark place. Darker honey varieties tend to have more beneficial properties than lighter versions. However, all honey, particularly the raw kind, is an excellent health booster.