No doubts, honey is a viscous sweet liquid produced from the nectar of plants by bees. The clear, golden-amber color honey often sells at an higher price than the darker variation.
The flavor of a certain type of honey differs accordingly on the types of flower from which the plant nectar was harvested.
There are two kinds of honey, the raw and pasteurized form of honey. The raw honey is removed from the hive and bottled immediately and as such will contain little amounts of yeast, wax, and pollen. Consumption of local raw honey is believed to help lessen the effects allergies that occurs in seasons due to repeated exposure to the pollen in the area. Pasteurized honey has been heated and processed to remove impurities and micro-organisms.
Honey contains high levels of monosaccharides- fructose and glucose thereby containing about 70 to 80 percent sugar which in turn provides sweetness. Honey also has antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Modern medical science has managed to discover the uses of honey in treatment of long-term wounds and fighting infections.
Properties of Honey
Honey has a composition of 64 calories, 17.3 grams (g) of sugar, and 0 g of fiber, fat, and protein.
Choosing honey over refined and processed sugar may be beneficial in the long run. Honey is known to have antioxidant, antimicrobial and soothing effects.
Honey is composed of glucose, fructose, and minerals such as Iron, calcium, phosphate, sodium chloride, potassium, and magnesium.
Below is the nutritional composition of Honey:
· Fructose: 38.2 %
· Glucose: 31.3 %
· Maltose: 7.1 %
· Sucrose: 1.3 %
· Water: 17.2 %
· Higher sugars: 1.5 %
· Ash: 0.2 %
· Other: 3.2 %
The slightly acidic pH level of honey is what helps stop the growth of bacteria and all other micro-organisms while its antioxidant properties and elements help clean up free radicals (molecules) that are linked to diseases and infection.
The physical characteristics of honey differs based on the specific flora used in its production including its water content
Fun facts about Honey
o Honey has wound-healing and antibacterial properties.
o It has been used in medicine for over 5,000 years and counting now.
o Honey can be used to replace sugar in meals giving an healthier option. However, they can also add browning and excess moisture to a dish.
o Honey should not be given to children under 1 year old.
Health Benefits of Honey
Honey is very high in beneficial plant compounds and offers many health benefits. Honey is specifically healthy when used in place of refined and processed sugar which is 100% empty of calories.
Honey Is Rich in Antioxidants:
High-quality honey contains many vital antioxidants. These include organic acids and phenolic compounds like flavonoids.
Scientists are of the notion that the combination of these compounds gives honey its antioxidant power.
Some studies have shown that buckwheat honey increases the value of antioxidant in your blood.
Antioxidants have also been connected to lower the chances of heart attacks, strokes and cancer (some types). They may also boost the health of the eye.
The Antioxidants in Honey can Help Lower Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is one of the risk factors for heart disease and honey helps reduce it. This is because it contains antioxidant compounds that are connected to reducing blood pressure.
Studies (in both humans and rats) have shown moderate reductions in blood pressure from consumption of honey.
The Antioxidants in Honey possess beneficial effects to Heart health:
Honey is a rich source of phenols and other antioxidant compounds. Many of these compounds and elements have been linked to help in reducing the risk of heart diseases.
They help the arteries in your heart enlarge, increasing the flow of blood to your heart. They may also help stop the clotting of blood formation which can cause heart attacks and strokes.
Furthermore, a study in rats showed that honey protected the heart from stress resulting from oxidation.
Honey can help reduce the effects of cough and cold symptoms in Children:
Coughing is a common problem for children with upper respiratory infections. These infections can affect sleep and as well the quality of life for both children and their parents.
However, certain medications for cough are not always effective and can most times have side effects. Thankfully, honey can serve as a better choice and alternative and trusted sources have proven it to be very effective. A study have even shown that honey worked way better and effective than usage of two common cough medications.
Another study discovered that it reduced the symptoms of cough and as well improved sleep quality way more than cough medication.
However, it is important to note that honey should never be given to children under one year of age due to the risk for botulism.
Honey help prevent acid reflux:
A research recently conducted has shown that honey can help reduce the upward flow of acid in the stomach and food not digested by lining the esophagus and stomach.
This has helped in reduction of the risk of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) which can cause inflammation, acid reflux, and heartburn.
Reducing the duration of diarrhea:
According to research-based reviews pertaining to honey, it was deduced that honey has been shown to decrease the severity and duration of diarrhea. Honey has been shown to also promote an increased potassium and water intake, which is mostly helpful when experiencing diarrhea.
Research conducted in Lagos, Nigeria discovered that honey possessed he ability to block the actions of the causative agents that cause diarrhea.
Honey Promotes Wound and Burns Healing:
Topical honey treatment has been used to heal wounds and burns since the beginning of Egypt and still been used till now.
A review of 26 studies on honey and wound healing discovered that honey was most effective at healing partial thickness burns and wounds that became infected after surgery.
Honey is also considered in treating diabetic foot ulcers and has shown to be very effective. Diabetic foot ulcers are severe complications that can cause amputation.
A study conducted reported a 43.3% success rate of honey used in the treatment of wounds. In another study, topical honey treatment healed a large number of patients about 97% from diabetic ulcers.
Researchers believe the healing powers that come from honey is due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects as well as its ability to nourish surrounding tissues.
Honey can as well help in the treatment of several skin conditions including psoriasis and herpes lesions. Manuka honey is known to be very effective in treating burn wounds.
Honey is a better substitute than Sugar:
Honey can reduce several risk factors for heart disease common in people with type 2 diabetes.
For instance, it may lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and inflammation while raising “good” HDL cholesterol.
However, some studies have discovered that honey can increase blood sugar levels but not as much as refined and processed sugar.
Whilst honey may be slenderly better than refined sugar for people diagnosed of diabetes, it should still be consumed in moderate amounts.
Honey has been used to treat a wide range of illnesses, ailments, and injuries.
It can also be mixed with other remedies, consumed or rubbed on the skin.
Ayurvedic medicine practitioners have tried using honey as a remedy or treatment for the following:
v Sleep disturbance
v Vision problems
v Bad breath
v Teething pain in children (1 year old+)
v Cough and asthma
v Stomach ulcers
v Diarrhea and dysentery
v Bedwetting and frequent urination
v High blood pressure
v Hangover relief
v Eczema and dermatitis
v Burns, cuts, and wounds
While not using honey as treatment has been proven effective, using it as treatment will neither worsen condition or cause harm.
Honey is a delicious, nutritious and healthier alternative to sugar. When choosing or purchasing honey, ensure to go for a quality brand because lower qualities could be adulterated or mixed with syrup.
It is important to note that honey should be consumed in moderate amounts as it still has high calories and sugar.
The benefits of honey are most pronounced when it is replacing another, unhealthier sweetener.
In conclusion, honey is simply a “less bad” sweetener than sugar and can be used to replace sugar in diets with no negative impacts on health. Sugar added into diet is high in calories with no nutritional benefit which can lead to an increase in body weight that could result to an higher risk of high blood pressure and diabetes.