Are you someone who has just started on the path to a healthy life? That probably means avoiding refined flours and refined sugar, right? So what is the next best alternative for sugar? Honey, of course! But not the one you get at the supermarket, laden with sugar; we mean completely unrefined, raw and full of natural goodness.
You probably have your honey with lemon juice first thing in the morning, or with your morning breakfast oats, but do you know about the health benefits of honey?
Probably not! You will be surprised to find that honey is not a mere sweetener, but also loaded with all kinds of nutrients that are great for your health. Food for thought, isn’t it? So, let’s discuss the numerous benefits of pure, unadulterated raw honey.
Benefits of the Power Food – Honey
Bees swallow, digest and bring up nectar known as honey. This nectar is packed with almost 600 compounds.
No wonder it has been labeled as a superfood. Honey has been used for its healing properties for ages; in fact, it’s earliest mention was made by Aristotle as early as 384 BC.
The Greeks, the Romans, and the Egyptians have all used honey in some way or the other.
Honey finds a mention in the Bible too, as King Solomon had mentioned, “My son, eat thou honey for it is good.”
So why is honey so loved? Probably because it is a power food loaded with antioxidants that tastes delicious as well. Most of the power foods we know can be associated with health, but taste? Well, we are not too sure! Check out the other reasons why that golden liquid resting easy on the shelf of your larder has more roles to play than just a sweetener!
1. Aids in weight loss
Now, this is reason enough for all of us to make this natural sweetener a part of our diets. It contains 69% glucose and fructose, and is a pretty healthy reason not to drink our drinks bland! It is one of the healthiest sugar substitutes around.
Surprisingly, it has more calories than sugar, but what works in its favor is the fact that it mobilizes the fat around your body when consumed with warm water. Probably why warm lemon water and honey has earned brownie points from health connoisseurs all around the world.
2. It is a great energy source
Now that we know that honey is a great energy source, it makes sense why we feel so kicked about our long day ahead when we down a glass of lemon water spiked with honey. Try to incorporate this into your morning routine and you’ll see the change!
One tablespoon of sugar has 15 calories, but one tablespoon of honey has 64, but these calories can be changed to glucose and easily digested.
3. It is a great source of vitamins and minerals
Unlike most other sweeteners like sugar, which is stripped of all essential nutrients, honey is surprisingly rich in vitamin C, iron and calcium. This is why you need to make that all important swap from sugar to honey.
4. It improves athletic performance
Honey is great to boost the performance of athletes. It is mainly because honey has ergogenic properties. It activates muscle regeneration and glycogen restoration after a power packed workout and maintains your blood sugar levels as well. Here is why you need this after an invigorating run in the park or a sweaty session at the gym.
5. It is full of antioxidants
Antioxidant is the buzzword in the health world today, as it helps us fight the scavenging free radicals which undermine our health. In fact, conditions like cancer and heart disease are a result of these scavenging free radicals.
Honey has neutraceuticals, a potent antioxidant which removes antioxidants from the body. This helps fight many chronic diseases. That is why honey is such an important weapon to combat most diseases, and its empowered role as a natural panacea cannot be ignored.
6. Antibacterial and antifungal properties
Besides its obvious beneficial properties, honey has antibacterial and antifungal properties, and must find a place in your emergency kit since it is a natural antiseptic found in traditional medicines. Wound management becomes all the easier, because of the effects of honey.
7. Honey impacts your blood in the most positive way
The red blood count of your blood is impacted by honey in a beneficial way as it enhances the oxygen-carrying properties of the red blood cells. When the capacity of the RBC’s is markedly reduced due to certain health conditions like anemia, we need the health-enhancing effects of this natural elixir.
8. A skin and hair specialist
Honey is a must include in your beauty cabinet too! It is a natural moisturizer. Finding a good moisturizer is as hard as looking for a needle in a haystack, and most people would agree to this. But a teaspoon or two of this organic goodness can pretty much bring back that glow on your face. It is time you brought back your faith back to natural products, especially honey.
Honey is great for treating certain scalp conditions like seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff. Applying honey on the scalp, when it is affected by scalp infections, can provide quick relief from itching and scaling. This is a great remedy for most scalp infections.
Let us explore the different ways of including honey in your daily life to reap the maximum benefits.
5 Major Benefits of Honey for Weight Loss, Skin, Hair and Scars
You must have already started with the honey and lemon therapy or sweetening your green tea with the natural sweetness of honey. Here are other health drinks which can be greatly beneficial for you.
1. Honey and Cinnamon for Weight Loss
What is so great about this combination of honey and cinnamon? Though it is not backed by any scientific evidence, cinnamon is said to contain fat burning properties. It is said to mimic the biological activity of insulin and also boosts the metabolism level too.
Since spiraling blood sugar levels lead to a greater percentage of fat storage, cinnamon can help prevent the excess of fat storage and also helps you drop the unwanted pounds pretty quickly. Honey is an able ally of cinnamon in this respect and enhances its weight loss effects.
Here is what you need to do first thing in the morning, in fact just half an hour before breakfast on an empty stomach, and also at night right before you hit the sack. Add a teaspoon of honey to half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder to warm water and drink up!
You can also add 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon to a cup of water. Bring it to boil and simmer it until it becomes smooth. Cool it down, or you can even consume it warm.
2. Honey and Ginger for Colds
This concoction is incredibly good for those annoying colds which are so difficult to get rid of. This drink is good to soothe an upset tummy too, so all in all, it’s a great drink that’s anti-viral and anti-bacterial too. If you are down with a cold, make sure you keep having this all throughout the day. It gives your sore throat the palliative care of ginger and honey.
It flushes out toxins from your body too, giving respite to pains and niggles. This drink is more soothing than any over the counter medicine and is also devoid of the side-effects.
Pour 1 cup of honey into a saucepan and add 1 tablespoon of finely minced gingerroot. A pinch of ground ginger will also do. You can add a small pinch of ground ginger if you are a fan of strong flavors. Heat the mixture for 10 minutes. When it is done, let it be infused for 2 hours or store it up for at least 2 weeks in a glass jar, with lid closed tightly. Strain it and you’ll have a perfect sipping drink.
3. Honey Concoction for Great Skin
When we have a breakout on our skin, we try to stay as far away from oily moisturizers as possible. But honey being a moisturizer is still different from the other conventional moisturizers. The rich enzyme content of raw honey keeps the pores clear of all the oil build-up and hence, keeps skin scrupulously clean. So in order to control skin problems and imbalances, try this effective antibacterial concoction of honey along with jojoba or coconut oil to heal your inflamed skin.
Here is what you can do to reap the benefits of honey on skin; stir one tablespoon of raw honey with two tablespoons of jojoba oil or coconut oil until you get a mixture which can be easily spread. Apply on clean, dry skin, and massage with circular strokes, leaving the eye area. Rinse with lukewarm water.
4. Honey to Fade Stubborn Scars
It is now time to ditch those creams which promise to erase away every mark on your face, but seldom lives up to their tall claims. Honey has certain properties which lighten skin, and its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties minimize the appearance of scars to a great extent, accelerating tissue regeneration. The moisturizing properties of honey and coconut oil or olive oil will revitalize your skin, and gentle massaging will enhance cell regeneration.
Here is what you can do, stir one teaspoon of raw honey with one teaspoon of either coconut oil or olive oil. Apply gently on the scars and massage with the tips of your fingers in a slow circular motion for a minute or two. Place a warm washcloth on the affected areas of your skin, and keep it there until cool. Do this regularly for stunning results.
5. Honey to Restore Vitality of Hair
Looking for that elusive hair product which can bring back life and vitality to your dull tresses? Well, don’t pick the next hair gloss serum you see, but choose honey over this artificial stuff. The enzymes and nutrients in raw honey can rejuvenate your hair without making it too oily. The other ingredients in coconut oil penetrate deep into the hair shaft to condition your hair and also smoothen the cuticles, giving your hair the much-desired shine and luster.
The nutritional benefits of honey can revive your crowning glory like no other. Blend one tablespoon of raw honey with two tablespoons of coconut oil. Massage your hair thoroughly, start with the ends and work yourself up. Let the mixture stay on your hair for about 20 minutes and then rinse off well with plenty of water.
How to Select the Right Honey
Though it is touted as a power food, it is also one of the most adulterated foods. Mostly it is sweetened with sugar and corn syrup, so beware those harmless looking bottles adorning the shelves of your neighborhood supermarket.
Go for raw organic honey, read the labels properly so that you know whether the one you are buying is not full of antibiotics, as is the case with most honey available in the market. The right honey no doubt can improve your health, skin and hair, but the wrong one can do exactly the opposite.
Also, just because it is healthy, do not mean that you can indulge in large tablespoons of this golden elixir. Consuming it in moderation is the key here, as is the case with most healthy foods.
So while a teaspoon or two on your morning oats or your green tea is okay, keep it at that! So, explore the medicinal benefits of honey and revive and rejuvenate your health in the best way possible. Is honey your favorite sweetener too? Tell us how you have it in the comments section below. Till then, stay healthy and stay happy!