The Health Benefits of Honey and How to Obtain Them

The Health Benefits of Honey and How to Obtain Them

Honey is one of nature’s greatest miracles, a delicious substance with powerful benefits to human health that was known by virtually all the world’s cultures since ancient times. We cannot find a single people that wasn’t aware of the health benefits of honey and that didn’t cherish bees and this elixir of life they create. But today, in the modern era with all the advanced means of science at our disposal, we can learn in greater detail how honey works inside our bodies, what substances it contains and what we can do to maximize their effect.

The Health Benefits of Pure Honey

Honey has a lot of positive effects on human health, making it useful way beyond its great taste. Apart from using it as a sweetener and a healthier alternative to sugar, even in cakes or baked goods, honey is often consumed by itself, in therapeutic doses, for the various benefits it brings. As a short note, some people have concerns about using honey in baked goods or cooking, since there has been an internet rumor that honey becomes somehow toxic when exposed to high heat. The idea that heated honey becomes toxic can trace its source to ayurvedic teachings, but no evidence has been found by modern science that heating it does actually cause it to become unhealthy in any way. There has been a study which links heated honey to some potential for toxicity, but only when combined with ghee and heated together.

However, we should say that while heating honey doesn’t make it become toxic, it may dilute the honey’s powerful properties, as well as destroy some precious enzymes contained by honey in the process. It won’t become toxic, but for enjoying the full health benefits of honey, it’s best if you consume it raw, and preferably from an organic and local source.

The main health benefits of honey are:

  • Its energizing capacity – Just 1 teaspoon of honey thrice a day can help your body sustain many challenges and help with intellectual effort as well. It keeps the body active and energized for much longer than sugar can, and it’s a great aid in season-related lethargy or during dieting. In fact, a great tip is to use honey in the place of maple syrup in the famous lemonade diet – it may not be what the creators of the diet ordered, but it can help your body in many ways to withstand the strenuous effects of fasting. The same goes for sustaining your body through intense workouts or sports.
  • It helps build the immune system – One of the chief health benefits of honey is its capacity of boosting one’s immune system. In fact, its power to strengthen immunity can be so great, that honey is actually not recommended for people who must take immunosuppressant drugs after an organ transplant. Thanks to its anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties, honey strengthens the good bacteria in your digestive tract, making your immune system perform way better, after regular consumption of honey.
  • It can help fight cancer – if that doesn’t make honey even more amazing, we’re not sure what can. Cancer is the plague of the century, and any natural super-food that can help our bodies fight cancer cells before the disease takes hold is nothing short of miraculous.

The Healthiest Types of Honey

Many people often wonder what are the healthiest types of honey or if some sort of honey is better than all the others. The answer to this concern is that all types of bee honey possess the base properties of this product and any kind of honey you consume will have those common health benefits (albeit in various degrees, depending on the quality of the honey and on whether it has been diluted or not). However, some types of honey can also boast with an extra benefit or two, owed to the plant from which the honey was specifically derived from.

Manuka honey is a mono-floral honey produced in New Zealand and Australia, from the flowers of the manuka tree. Its antibacterial properties are even stronger than those of other types of honey.

Clover honey is another traditional product of New Zealand (but not only), and it’s made by bees which fed primarily on clover nectar. It tastes floral and mild and it has amazing properties of blood pressure and cholesterol regulation, as well as protecting the liver. When topically applied, clover honey can also help fight acne, due to its high content of anti-bacterial substances.

Alfalfa honey is produced mostly in the United States and Canada and has a very high content of useful enzymes and antioxidants. Its benefits are basically the main health benefits of honey in general, only amplified by their unique concentration.

Eucalyptus honey not only bears a fain taste of eucalyptus candy, but it has wonderful throat-soothing properties when you’re dealing with a cold or a bad cough. Stir it in your tea and fight colds naturally.

Buckwheat honey has a strong and distinctive taste and is very effective in treating cough in children. A recent study has even shown this honey to be more effective than the average over-the-counter cough syrup you could find in a drugstore.

The Best Combinations for Honey

Honey and cinnamon is a very popular combination, taken as a vitamin cure by many people around the world, in the amount of one teaspoon three times a day, for a few weeks. Eating this mixture in small amounts regularly has been shown to regulate gut flora, energize both physically and mentally, aid in keeping fatigue away during diets or intense workout periods etc.

Honey and unfiltered vinegar (especially apple cider vinegar) is an effective and non-expensive combo used in weight loss efforts. Mix 1 tablespoon of honey with 1 teaspoon of vinegar and dilute this mixture in half a glass of water. Drink it three times a day, before each meal.

Honey and green tea – as we mentioned above, exposing honey to heat does not make it toxic, and this means it’s perfectly safe to sweeten your hot cup of tea with honey. Combining honey with green tea enhances the wonderful antioxidant properties of the tea. To amplify the mixture even further, you can use 1 tablespoon of honey in combination with 1/3 teaspoon of matcha powder as a tonic. The health benefits of honey and those of the concentrated green tea will boost each other.

Topical (External) Uses of Honey

Honey is traditionally used as a remedy for various ailments through external use as well, including yeast infection, arthritis pain or athlete foot. Its antiseptic properties make it suitable to treat many types of inflammation or injury. But the most spectacular of the health benefits of honey when topically applied is how fast it can treat superficial burns and irritations, even cuts sometimes. The next time you get burned by handling a hot object, or when you get razor burn or sunburn, apply a layer of honey on the burnt area as soon as possible. Leave the honey on for at least 30 minutes, then gently wash it off and be amazed at how wonderful the area is already healing.

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