Honey is being in used for thousands of year not only for its great taste but for its potential health benefits. The use of honey in remedies and for its possible health benefits has been reported in ayurvedic, Greek, Roman and Islamic texts. Holy Prophet Mohammed (P.B.U.H) exalted the healing powers and health benefits of honey and so the ancient Greek philosophers. It is supposed by Greek philosopher that consuming honey could make the life longer.
Honey contains 70% to 80% sugar in the form of Fructose (the sweetest sugar), glucose, sucrose and maltose along with vitamins and minerals with 17% water. This composition makes honey the one of the sweetest and healthiest foods with great source of energy and other health benefits. Here are the top 10 health benefits of honey.
01. Healing Wound and Burns
Honey was traditionally used on the skin for soothing effects and was used as home remedies for treating wounds and skin infections including burns. Recants researches show that the topical application of honey over the wound or burnt skin area is as effective as the application of antiseptics or silver nitrate (the usual treatment of burns). Honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory nature as well as has drying effects; while apply over the wound, these properties of Honey helps keep the wound aseptic (free of germs), reduce swelling thus reduce pain and promotes wound healing and leave the wound without scars.
02. Fight Infections
While making honey, bees add certain enzymes to it including Lysozyme (the power bacterial destroying enzyme natural occurs in living organisms) and others that make hydrogen per oxide (a potent antiseptic). Another study done at University of Amsterdam in 2010 reported that the anti-bacterial activity of honey is also due to the presence of defensin – 1 a protein which kills the bacteria. With all these powerful bacteriolytic enzymes and protein substances, honey is the best natural antibacterial and antifungal agent which even kills the antibiotic resistant species. Honey (especially Manuka honey) may helpful in treating athletic foot (a fungal infection of skin), other skin infections and the upper respiratory infections.
03. Soothes Cough and Sore Throat
Another proven health benefit of honey is to sooth cough and treat sore throats. Honey, due to its soothing, softening and antibacterial effects, show proven effectiveness to soothes cough, especially nocturnal cough (sleep time cough) in children. A study on 110 children which involves a single dose of honey (the buckwheat honey) to the children with night time cough reveals that the honey is as effective in relieving nocturnal cough as the conventional treatment of cough with dextromethorphan.
Honey is just not the remedy for cough only but it also helps in treating sore throats. Taking pure honey or adding it to drinks (hot water or tea) soothes the throats and kills the germs (bacteria) which cause throat infection.
04. Treating Allergies May relieve seasonal allergies
Seasonal allergies are among common health problems the symptoms of which can be lessen with honey. Many people using honey to get rid off or get relive from seasonal allergies, and this facts is prove by scientific research that honey may be useful in minimizing such conditions due to its anti-inflammatory effects. A study on a group of 36 people who have seasonal allergy shows better response to honey as compared to the placebo agent.
05. Prevent Cancer and Heart Diseases
Honey is anti-cancer though it doesn’t cure cancer but it prevents it. Honey contains antioxidants and flavonoids which to some extent reduce the risk of developing cancer and heart disease as well. This sound good as if it is true then honey will be the cheapest medicine to prevent cancer and heart diseases.
06. Beautiful skin
As stated earlier, honey was used as a home remedy to treat wound and burns; it was also used with other ingredients in facial masks for beautiful skin and conditioner for hairs. The anti-bacterial nature and bleaching effects of honey makes it an excellent face Cleanser to treat acne and blemish skin.
The moisturizing, hydrating and softening effects of honey make it wonderful conditioner for hair give the dull hair shining.
07. Blood Sugar Regulation
Honey contains Fructose in higher percentage as compared to Glucose. Fructose is sweeter then glucose but it doesn’t require insulin (a hormone that is necessary for glucose metabolism) for metabolism and can enter to the cells without insulin, thus helps to regulate the blood sugar level
08. Reduce Gastric Ulcers and GI disorders
The cause of Gastric ulcer is H. Pylori bacteria that inhabit the gastric (stomach) mucosa. Antibacterial nature of honey prevents the excess colonization, thus infection of stomach (gastritis). Eating honey regularly prevent GERD (Gastro-esophageal reflux Disease) because honey is 100 time more viscous than water (at room temperature) prevent regurgitation or reflux back of the stomach content.
09. Nutrients Rich Food
Honey is the nature’s nutrients rich food and far more beneficial than the artificial vitamin supplements as it contain a wide range of vitamins including the vitamins from B complex group and some vital minerals including zinc (the immunity booster), calcium (the bone cement), iron (the hematonic), copper, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and manganese.
10. Makes great workout fuel
Beyond its great taste, one of the great health benefits of honey is it is the instant source of energy because honey is already digest by bees and absorb rapidly in gastrointestinal tract fuel up the body instantly.
Honey contain glucose which absorb rapidly in intestine, gives immediate energy shoot and Fructose has low hypoglycemic index, absorbed slowly providing sustain level of energy to body. Again, honey is not only comes with sugar, it contain essential vitamins and minerals making honey the perfect workout fuel.
Honey is used and added to water or drinks by many professional athletes to get instant energy to fuel up their bodies, prevent fatigue during endurance event, boost performance and enhance muscle recovery after stressful event.