What do we know about honey? It’s made by bees. Golden in colour. Delicious and sweet. Tastes great on toast, or as a healthy sweetener. This may be enough for a lot of you, but did you know that honey also contains a whole treasure chest of hidden nutritional and medicinal values. The sweet golden liquid from the beehive is a popular kitchen staple, loaded with antibacterial and antifungal properties that have been used for its healing and therapeutic properties since the ancient Egyptian times. Here are ten things you may not have known about honey, but you’ll probably be pleased to find out.
1. Alleviates Allergies
Honey’s anti inflammatory effects and ability to soothe coughs has led to the belief it can also reduce seasonal allergy symptoms. A common theory is that honey acts like a natural vaccine. Honey naturally contains pollen, which when the body is exposed to small amounts of it, triggers an immune response which produces antibodies, so naturally fighting the allergy to the pollen without the need for antihistamines or other pharmaceutical drugs.
2. All Natural Energy Drink
Honey is a brilliant source of natural energy with only 17 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon. The naturally occurring, unprocessed sugar (fructose and glucose) directly enters the bloodstream and can deliver a quick boost of energy. The rise in blood sugar acts as a short term energy source, perfect for just before a workout, especially in long endurance exercise.
3. Memory Booster
Sweet, golden honey is loaded with antioxidants that can help prevent cellular damage and loss within the brain. Honey’s ability to help the body absorb calcium can in turn aid brain health. The brain needs calcium in order to process thoughts and make decisions. As our life expectancy increases, and populations continue to grow, so does the chance of dementia setting in due to lack of vitamins and minerals.
4. Cough Suppressant
Even the strongest of us sometimes fall victim to the pesky cold, and can be left with a persistent cough for days or even weeks afterwards. Honey is the all natural cure when it comes to these annoying and sometimes painful coughs. A hot toddy before bedtime is a long standing remedy for coughs and colds, and the whiskey no doubt helps clear the head and induce sleep but it is the honey that is the real miracle worker here. Studies have shown that children between the ages of 1 and 5 with a night time cough, coughed less frequently when they were given two teaspoons of honey, 30 minutes before bedtime. Much tastier than nasty cough medicines!
5. Sleep Aid
Yes, you heard us correctly, consuming honey can help improve the length and quality of your sleep. Similar to sugar, honey can cause a rise in insulin and release serotonin, a neuro transmitter that improves mood and happiness. The body converts serotonin into melatonin, a chemical compound that regulates the length and quality of your sleep.
6. Dandruff Treatment
A 2001 study published by the European Journal of Medical Research asked participants who suffered with dandruff to apply honey, diluted with 10% warm water, to the affected areas on their head. It was left for 3 hours before rinsing with warm water. It was found the treatment relieved itching and within a week, the participants had no scaling. Within two weeks, skin lesions were healed and it was even believed certain patients showed improvements with hair loss. Even after six months, there was no relapse. Cheaper than anti dandruff shampoos, with far less chemicals and we bet you’d smell much sweeter.
7. Natural Antibiotic
Honey is a natural antibiotic that can be used both internally and externally. A conventional treatment for wounds and burns, honey is a natural disinfectant that kills off many species of bacteria. A 2005 study published in the British Journal of Surgery found all but one of patients who suffered from wounds and leg ulcers showed remarkable improvement after a topical application of honey to the wounded areas.
The use of honey for treatment of microbial infections dates back thousands of years. Research conducted more recently on Manuka honey, has proved it to be effective against E-Coli, Salmonella and MRSA amongst others.
8. Anti-Cancer Properties
Honey has been hailed as “a powerful anti-cancer agent”, and is believed to be of profound benefit in fighting cancer. A superlative healing food, with more than 69 health benefits, honey is believed to positively impact both the development and progression of cancer and tumours. Naturally occurring flavonoids and phenolic acids are believed to be the primary anti-cancer compounds found in natural honey and involved in its beneficial properties. Studies have proven it to be effective in the treatment of cancer, therefore making it a potential and very promising anti-cancer agent, which warrants further research.
9. Blood Sugar Regulation
Honey contains simple sugars, which are not the same as those found in refined, white sugar or artificial sweeteners. Honey offers the perfect combination of fructose and glucose which actually assist the body in regulating its blood sugar levels and maintaining a healthy balance. Honey is also known to have a low glycemic index which can help lead to improved insulin responses and blood cholesterol levels. In layman’s terms: it’s good for you!
10. Beautiful Skin
Anything to assist us in the quest for beautiful skin, is always welcome on our menu. Honey’s natural anti-bacterial qualities mentioned above, can be particularly useful for the skin. Ever heard of ancient beauties applying honey and milk regularly to keep their skin looking youthful, radiant and smooth? Well, they weren’t crazy. Honey’s natural anti oxidant and anti microbial properties protect the skin from the damage of the sun’s rays, and support the skin’s ability to rejuvenate and refresh, leaving it silky smooth and soft. It also has an ability to absorb and retain water, which makes it an ideal ingredient in many cosmetics.
Why not try out this Carrot Face Mask and see the results for yourself?