The dangers of sugar have been in the headlines so frequently that many people assume anything sweet equals bad news for the body. While it is true that refined sugar is harmful to your health, there is a variety of natural sugars found in fruits, root vegetables and honey that nourish the body and promote good health.
Honey has been known for its healing powers for centuries, and has proven effective in fixing ailments ranging from a pesky cough to a painful wound. The following are some of honey’s best-known health benefits:
1. Reduces Risk Of Heart Disease
Honey contains flavonoids, which are antioxidants that reduce the risk of heart disease.
Honey mixed with cinnamon has been shown to revitalize the arteries and veins of the heart and reduce cholesterol in the blood by up to 10%. When taken regularly, this honey-cinnamon mixture can reduce the risk of heart attacks and stop future ones from occurring in those who have already suffered one.
Add 1-2 tablespoons of honey with 1/3 teaspoon of cinnamon to warm water, then drink daily.
2. Wound Treatment
Surgihoney, whose natural antibacterial properties have been boosted, is proving highly effective at treating infected wounds and superbugs. The honey is believed to work by killing the bugs, removing dead tissue and pus, and then providing a moisture barrier as well as local nutrition.
Honey contains vitamins, minerals, enzymes and sugars – all of which help in the healing of wounds. Manuka honey is especially regarded as the most potent honey, but it relies upon nectar from a particular tree in New Zealand, limiting its supply.
3. Blood Sugar Regulation
Although honey contains simple sugars, these are NOT the same as white sugar or artificial sweeteners. The precise combination of fructose and glucose actually helps the body regulate blood sugar levels. Some honeys have a low hypoglycemic index, so they don’t cause blood sugar to spike.
4. Natural Immune Booster
Honey has numerous medicinal properties as well as antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, which help fight infections from viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Honeybees gather pollen from the very plants that cause itchy eyes and allergies, so consuming a small daily dose of local honey will stimulate the immune system and reduce allergies. Skip the common clover honey that is prevalent in supermarkets as it has the lowest antioxidant level. Look for buckwheat honey, which has the highest.
5. Resolves Dandruff and Scalp Irritations
In a study involving patients with chronic seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff, participants were asked to apply honey diluted with 10 percent warm water to problematic scalp areas and leave on for three hours before rinsing with warm water. In all of the patients, itching was relieved and scaling disappeared within one week. Skin lesions were completely healed within two weeks, and patients showed significant improvement in hair loss as well. When applied weekly for six months, not a single patient showed signs of relapse.
***A note of caution:
Do not let infants under the age of 1 eat honey because of the risk of botulism. The spores of the botulism bacteria are found in dust and soil that may make their way into honey. Infants do not have a developed immune system to defend against infection, says Jatinder Bhatia, MD, a Georgia neonatologist who heads the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Nutrition. “It’s been shown very clearly that honey can give infants botulism,” a paralytic disorder in which the infant must be given anti-toxins and be placed on a respirator.***