The only things sweeter than honey is the health benefits gained from consuming this liquid gold.
Honey is one of the oldest household staple items, used for its healing properties and culinary enjoyment. Dating back approximately 3000 years, ancient Egyptians used it for a multitude of purposes including medicinal ointments, sweetener for foods, gift to the gods and even embalming fluid. Fast forward to today, it’s still customarily used for its functional and healthful benefits—minus the mummifying use.
THE BEES KNEES
Raw honey has many healing powers and is loaded with nutritional value. Made by honeybees gathering nectar from flowers, it’s pure, unpasteurized and unfiltered—preserving its nutrient-dense characteristics. Packed with bee pollen, one of nature’s most nourishing foods, it aids in boosting the immune system, reducing inflammation and has powerful antioxidant properties. Additionally, if you’re an allergy sufferer, buying local honey will help ease your watery eyes and runny nose, as it contains a blend of local pol- len which may strengthen your body’s defences and reduce pollen-allergy symptoms.
Processed, commercialized honey, on the other hand, may not contain all the healthful benefits as nature intended. Through the pasteurization process, it’s heated and filtered, stripping it of the organic, beneficial content such as en- zymes, vitamins, amino acids, and bee pollen. What’s left is honey that looks clearer and smoother, has a longer shelf life—sans, much of the nutritional goodness.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF HONEY
Honey is a disease fighter, as it contains polyphenols which are powerful antioxidants that actively work in the body to protect and ward-off free radicals. It has been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease, and boosts the immune system to defend against illnesses such as colds and flu.
The healthful properties found in honey can relieve intestinal ailments by decreasing inflammation of the digestive tract. Those suffering from constipation, abdominal pain and irregular bowel movements, can find solace from honey’s digestive compounds. Diastase, amylase, and invertase are some enzymes found to ease these gut-related symptoms by breaking down molecules like fats, proteins and carbs, so food and nutrients can properly be digested.
As a natural anti-bacterial aid, honey has long been used to treat burns, cuts and scrapes. With its fighting power, it has the ability to deprive bacteria of the moisture required to survive, thereby actively cleansing and healing wounds. Similarly, honey along with beeswax can be found in lotions and lip balms for its skin-soothing abilities.
The carbohydrate-rich properties found in honey provide an immediate energy boost from its glucose/fructose content. The glucose gives an instant supply of energy that is quickly absorbed, while fructose is slowly digested, providing sustained energy. Consuming honey pre-or post-workout will help fuel performance goals, while reducing muscle fatigue.
Honey is one of Mother Nature’s most nourishing superfoods. As a power- house food and medicinal source, its healing powers have been making history since pre-historic times. Consider making raw honey your household staple item and reap all its nutritional benefits!
More Inspiration: Check out this article on the health benefits of seeds and add some honey!
Author: Daniela DeFeo is a freelance writer who covers topics about health, fitness, and lifestyle. She often writes for Optimyz print and digital editions.