10 Health Benefits of Honey
In this article,I am going to Share Benefits of Honey.Who knew that the tiny and humble honeybee could make something so magical from nature? Honey, a multipurpose ingredient, has got amazing benefits for health, diet, skin and hair. From time immemorial now, ever since the age of ancient Egyptians, humankind has been using honey. Thanks to cave paintings in Valencia, Spain, evidence has been unearthed that 7000-8000 years ago, mankind was gathering honey from bee colonies. But honeybee fossils dating back to 150 million years have been found, so in all likelihood, that’s how old the honey making process is. In folklore, the Romans used honey to heal their wounds and treat armies that had been on the battlefield. Many ancient civilisations also used it as currency, because it was considered so valuable.
Human beings don’t actually make any honey. We simply harvest it. The honey making process is carried out entirely by honeybees. It is fairly simple, yet requires immense precision – something that these little insects possess in amazing measure. An example of just how precise they are – the hexagonal shape of the beehive is so complicated to draw with the naked hand, yet, honeybees do it so beautifully; such is the marvel of their abilities to get things right to the last detail. Back to honey making, worker honeybees pick up flower nectar from flowers, by sucking it out with their tongues. These are then stored in a separate pouch known as the honey stomach (no relation to the food stomach!). In the honey stomach, the nectar mixes with proteins and enzymes, the first step towards creating honey.
Once this is done, they go back to the hive to fill the comb with the honey until it is completely full. They then buzz around the comb, drying out the honey and thickening them in the process – leading to the fully finished substance that humans recognise as honey. Honeybees have their own methodology to signify that the honey making process is complete – they cap the honeycomb with beeswax. Once this is done, they move onto the next comb. Just to give you an idea of how much honey a bee makes – it takes eight bees their entire lifetime to produce just one teaspoon of pure honey. Just remember that the next time you’re digging into the bottle.
What are the health benefits of honey?
This sweet ingredient is truly nature’s bounty; it combines great taste with nutrition. It’s one of the few natural ingredients that can be eaten as it is, without any preparation whatsoever, thanks to bees working their magic. Here are some of the health and diet benefits of eating honey:
1) It is a natural sugar substitute, without any of the problems created by refined sugars and artificial sweeteners. In fact, in most cases, honey can actually bring down high blood sugar levels thanks to the unique combination of fructose and glucose.
2) It contains a high level of flavanoids and antioxidants, reducing the risk of cancer and keeping your cell structure and immune system healthy.
3) It is an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal substance, which works on the gastrointestinal system, killing off bacteria (that’s partly why it has such a long shelf-life, but we’ll come to that later!). It keeps stomach-related diseases like ulcers at bay, and also helps cure acid reflux.
4) It is one of the best known cures for insomnia. Studies have proven that a teaspoon of honey before bedtime helps a person sleep lesser fitfully and more soundly.
5) Honey is a natural remedy for colds, coughs and other nasal and bronchial conditions, helping keep all throat and nose-related ailments away.
6) If you’ve got a pollen allergy (yes, the very same ingredient that bees use to make honey), a spoonful of this syrupy sweet potion can help desensitise against the allergy.
7) What it lacks for in protein, good fats, and vitamins and minerals (only trace amounts), it makes up for in bioactive plant compounds like carotenoids and polyphenols, which promote overall health by reducing the risk of heart disease and other diseases.
8) It is a potent source of energy, being rich in natural sugars. In fact, in the era of the ancient Olympics, athletes ate honey and figs to boost their performance and maintain glycogen levels.
9) It balances cholesterol levels in the body, reducing bad cholesterol marginally and increasing good cholesterol.
10) Honey boosts the body’s metabolism naturally, and also prevents sugar cravings, thereby aiding weight loss.
Read More : Beauty Tips for Honey
What are the beauty benefits of honey?
1) If you’ve got a cut or a burn, dab a dollop of pure honey onto it and you’re good to go. Thanks to its anti-bacterial nature, it helps heal wounds faster.
2) For the same reason, it is also good to prevent and treat acne and breakouts.
3) It is the ultimate cleanser moisturiser. Applying a thin layer of honey on your skin leaves it smooth, supple and nourished, cleansing it without stripping it off natural oils.
4) Honey is a good de-tan agent, while combating the damages caused by excessive exposure to sun like rashes and sunspots. It boosts overall complexion and skin health.
5) Since it is high in antioxidants, it is great to slow down the ageing process and treat mature skins.
6) Dry and dehydrated skin conditions could do with a spoonful of honey – from chapped lips to cracked heels, they’ve all been known to benefit.
7) It works as a great scalp cleanser. Applying raw honey on the scalp can treat dandruff and dry, flaky skin on the scalp.
Why does honey have a long shelf-life?
Archaeologists have discovered a honeycomb buried in an Egyptian tomb several millennia ago, and guess what – the honey was still edible! Pure, undiluted honey, kept in a sealed jar, is the only substance in the world that does not spoil. So what is the secret to the eternal shelf-life of this ingredient? There are a number of factors. Honey is a natural sugar, and so is hygroscopic – meaning, while it doesn’t contain moisture of its own, it can easily suck in moisture from the outside. Because of the low moisture, very few bacteria can actually survive in honey; organisms just die. So there’s nothing in there for the honey to spoil. The pH levels are high, and so the acidic nature ensures that organisms who try to enter the honey are killed off. Also, during the honey making process, the honey stomach of the bee contains an enzyme called glucose peroxide, which when mixed with the honey, creates a by-product called hydrogen peroxide – that prevents bacteria from growing. Note, this is applicable to pure honey, without chemical additives.
What are the different kinds of honeys?
There are over 300 different kinds of honeys, varying on the nectar source (the flowers), geographic location and the kind of honeybee. Colours range from nearly translucent to a dark, chocolaty brown, and similarly flavours also vary from full-bodied to mild. From the bold aftertaste of eucalyptus honey to the sweet, flowery taste of clover honey, from the dark amber Turkish pine honey to the light and fruity American orange blossom, from the most common wildflower honey to the rare and exotic black locust honey (the tree only produces blossoms once in two years), there’s something for all honey lovers to choose from. The most commonly used and recommended by universal healthcare practitioners across the world though, is Manuka Honey. Produced in New Zealand (the Manuka bush is indigenous to New Zealand), it can be used in diet and skincare because of its high level of antibacterial benefits.
What to watch out for?
Honey need not be given to children below the age of 1, since they may contain spores that very young bodies may not be able to tolerate. Also, honey, when it isn’t stored properly, may crystallise – meaning that the natural glucose separates from the water content. So store it well, since there is no way to reverse this process. If you need the honey then and there though, a temporary solution is to reheat the quantity required and stir up the sugar and water content. Also, there’s always too much of a good thing, same goes with honey. Keep your honey intake down to less then 10 tsp a day to avoid health complications.
Healthy recipes with honey
Try these healthy recipes which use honey as an ingredient
2 cups whole almonds
3 tbsp pure honey
1 tsp rock salt or sea salt
1) Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2) In a saucepan, warm the honey to liquefy it a bit.
3) Put the almonds in a mixing bowl and pour the honey over it. Mix well, until all the almonds are evenly coated with the honey.
4) Line a baking dish with parchment, and slowly and carefully scatter the almonds all over it, evenly.
5) Sprinkle the salt on top, and bake for around 20 minutes.
6) You will need to take out the baking dish every 2-3 minutes and shake the almonds around, to prevent excessive burning.
7) Once done, store in an airtight jar, and reach for these whenever you need a tasty and addictive, but healthy snack alternative.
Honey-glazed carrots with thyme
200 g baby carrots
5 g butter
1 tbsp honey
100 ml water
1 thyme sprig with leaves picked
Salt, to taste
1) Take a wide pan and shallow pan (to prevent the carrots from layering one on top of the other), and spread out the carrots.
2) Put it on low flame, then add the butter, honey and water. Finally, add the thyme and salt. Cover and cook this over high flame till the carrots are tender and fully coated in the honey butter mix.
3) Remove from the flame, gently mix till the carrots have been coated in the residual syrup at the bottom, tip into a serving platter and serve hot. You can garnish with some extra thyme if you like. This dish is great to have by itself, and also goes well with mains like quinoa and couscous for a complete meal experience.
Burnt honey gelato
2/3 cup honey
½ tsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp water
2 egg yolks
1 ½ cups milk
3 sprigs fresh basil
½ tsp salt
½ cup mascarpone cheese
1) In a heavy-bottom saucepan, combine honey, lemon juice and water, simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
2) In another heavy-bottom pot, pour the milk, add the basil sprigs and bring this mix to a simmer. Remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes, to allow the flavour to steep.
3) Remove the basil from the now-flavoured milk and pour in the honey mixture. Whisk well until fully blended.
4) Take a large bowl and start by whisking the egg yolks till you have a smooth consistent mix. Slowly pour the honey-milk mix into the bowl, return the mixture to the heavy-bottom pot, and cook on low flame for another 5 minutes, stirring throughout.
5) Once this is done, strain the mixture into a baking dish through a sieve, and refrigerate until it is set.
6) Finally, churn in an ice cream maker, and serve fresh.
Try this honey scrub for nourished and smooth lips
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (1/2 tbsp if you have oily skin)
1 tbsp brown sugar
1) Whisk the honey and olive oil together in a bowl.
2) Add the sugar spoon by spoon to this mix, stirring gently until you have a smooth evenly coarse paste.
3) Cleanse your lips thoroughly off lip gloss, lipstick and other topical applications, and rinse with lukewarm water.
4) While the lips are still damp, apply the scrub all over the lip area, including the area surrounding it. Massage in outward, gentle strokes for 3-5 minutes. Leave on for another 10 minutes, and then wash off and pat dry.
5) For best results, repeat at least once a week. The honey cleanses and brightens darkened, dry and damaged lips, while the sugar helps cleanse and dislodge minute particles of grime and dirt.
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