Sugar, ah honey, honey. That’s the opening line to a song that you may or may not know, but it does make a point. You’ve heard people say that all sugars are the same when it comes to your health, but some are better than others. Honey in its raw form and taken in small doses can have many benefits that other sugars do not.
Honey is a natural sweetener made up of a combination of sugar, enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids. Minerals included in this mix are iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and selenium. Vitamins found in honey include vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and niacin. Making sure you are getting organic raw honey is important because the kind of honey found in your typical grocery store is likely highly processed an pretty much devoid of all the nutrients you get from raw honey.
Replacing your intake of refined sugar by using pure raw honey instead can increase nutritional value and healing properties. One tablespoon of sugar can be replaced with two teaspoons of raw honey eliminating the sugar spike and the elevated insulin releases that come with refined white sugar. Raw honey increases insulin and decreases hyperglycemia and can be beneficial to healthy blood sugar management.
Honey is high in fructose, around 53 percent, but in its raw form and consumed in small amounts can actually lower your blood sugar. The trick is to add your total grams of fructose that you consume each day, and stay below 25 grams per day.
Raw honey has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used instead of pharmaceuticals. Here are a few examples:
- Use it as a cough medicine- honey can reduce irritation by forming a protective film. That’s why many cough drops include honey as an ingredient.
- It can heal wounds- raw honey has antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant activities that make it ideal for treating wounds, especially burn dressings.
- Helps prevent dandruff- honey attracts and retains moisture, improves seborrheic dermatitis, which is a scalp condition that causes dandruff and itching. It can also help restore moisture to your hands, feet, and entire body.
- Energy booster – the high carbohydrate load of raw honey is a great source of unprocessed energy. A great trick used by athletes and desk jockeys alike for that quick injection of energy.
- Relieves allergy symptoms – raw honey in its purest form (locally produced) contains pollen spores picked up by the bees from local plants and introduces a small amount of allergen into your system, activating your immune system and building up your natural immunity over time.
- Helps prevent Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) – soothes acid reflux and heartburn and
- lines the esophagus, which helps heal inflammation or damage.
- Cleans and builds up your digestive system- raw honey is often used in full body cleansing for optimal health.
- Weight loss and management- replacing sugar with raw honey can actually lower serum triglycerides and activate hormones that suppress the appetite.
- Provides antioxidants and polyphenols that help block free radicals in the body that can cause disease.
- Promotes restorative sleep by restocking the liver’s glycogen supply and
- releases melatonin in the brain.
- Natural aphrodisiac- regular consumption helps men produce more testosterone helps women with estrogen levels.
- Hangover helper- raw honey helps your liver speed up the oxidation of the alcohol, which helps get the toxins out of your body faster.
Never cook with raw honey because heat destroys its good properties. Also, do not store it near a heat source. It shouldn’t be heated above 95 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the normal temperature of the bee hive. When using in your tea or coffee, wait until the drink is just tepid enough to sip comfortably. That will ensure the maximum benefit. Also, avoid giving raw honey to infants, as they may not be able to digest it properly.