Many of us add honey to our tea or yogurt without much thought. All we want is to add a bit of sweetness to our beverage, recipe, or snack! But did you know that honey has a long and unique history of being used for various health and medicinal effects?
Thousands of years ago, the Ancient Egyptians used honey for dressing wounds due to its noted antibacterial properties. The Egyptians also had other non-medicinal uses for this sweet substance, including using it to embalm the dead. In fact, the Egyptians collected honey via the first known organized beekeeping. Inevitably, honey is more than just a little sweetness!
So, in the modern day, what are the health benefits of honey exactly? What should you know when it comes to adding this to your diet?
Honey is delicious and nutritious! Honey is jam-packed with polyphenols, a plant compound that acts as an antioxidant in the body and decreases your risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. These compounds are also thought to play a role in reducing inflammation and enhancing brain health.
But there’s more! Check out the benefits of honey below.
Honey is mostly comprised of sugar. Yet, it doesn’t have the same impact that refined sugar has on blood sugar levels. While it does raise your blood sugar (as any sugar would), research shows that honey actually might play an invaluable role in regulating blood sugar.
More specifically, honey may increase adiponectin, which is a hormone linked to improved blood sugar levels. On top of this, honey may reduce one’s risk of associated blood sugar dysregulation diseases, such as metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
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As previously mentioned, thousands of years ago, various ancient civilizations used honey to help wounds heal faster. Studies today even show how honey can help promote the healing of burns or wounds that are infected post-surgery.
Additionally, honey is being considered a treatment option for psoriasis and other skin conditions.
Ever wonder why honey is a common ingredient in lozenges and some respiratory medications? Well, research shows that honey may help suppress a cough, even being more effective than common cough medications.
There is also some evidence showing that honey may help fight COVID-19 due to its ability to decrease inflammation and antimicrobial effects, which may potentially enhance the immune response.
Honey has the potential to regulate your heartbeat, lower blood pressure, protect healthy cells, and enhance blood fat levels. All of these factors contribute to a happy heart!
Honey also has propolis, which is thought to enhance triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Inevitably, honey isn’t going to solve all your heart problems. But it may have protective effects to keep this vital organ in tip-top shape.
Research shows honey may play a role in improving symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, and stress, as well as enhance memory and concentration. In other words, it’s good for your mental health and cognitive functioning (all wins!).
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Honey is ultra-simple to add to stir-fries (simply mix it into your sauce or in the pan!). You can throw it in smoothies, add it as a topping to Greek Yogurt, or even dissolve a teaspoon of it into your tea or coffee. The endless amounts of ways to add honey to your diet make it a no-brainer!
Like anything, honey should be consumed in moderation. In fact, it’s not recommended at all for children one year and under. Due to the bacteria in raw honey, it can lead to infant botulism. Unfortunately, a child this young just doesn’t have the proper immunity to handle this type and amount of bacteria.
Furthermore, some individuals may be allergic to honey. Thus, if you suspect this or have never had any, make sure to test in small amounts first.
Honey should also be treated like other sugars. This means while adding a teaspoon here or there is completely a-okay, you don’t want to overdo it. Some sources further recommend consuming no more than 50 ml of honey per day.
“You are what you eat so eat something sweet!” — unknown
From your physical to mental health, honey comes jam-packed with loads of benefits. Even if you don’t have a sweet tooth, honey can easily be added (or even snuck in!) to various recipes, meals, and snacks. And if you love honey, now you have an even greater excuse to eat it.
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