Many people consider honey as one of the healthy alternatives to sugar and sweets these days. But this is not actually a recent trend. The health benefits of honey have been known since the olden days. Most honey available in the market right now and those found in grocery stores are usually pasteurized and processed versions of raw honey. This pasteurization of the raw honey to make it commercial honey makes for longer shelf life.
However, there is a tradeoff in terms of health benefits. Some of the nutritional and healthy compounds found in honey are also destroyed during the processing of raw honey for commercial use. In this article, we will look at the health benefits of raw honey and how it can be used by individuals and patients to get the optimal results they want for their health.
What are some of the health benefits of raw Honey?
Raw honey is an excellent substitute for sugar and for sweetening various food items on a menu. It has significant calories than sugar and has other pertinent health benefits for the human body. It is important to remember, however, that individuals actually procure and consume raw and unprocessed honey as other store bought honey products may have syrup in them and therefore increased fructose syrup content and calories. Listed below are some of these health benefits:
1. Honey has high nutritional value
Honey is a sweet liquid produced by bees. These honeybees collect nectar from flowers and this nectar contains natural sugar. Once they have collected enough of this nectar, they repeatedly consume and excrete nectar thereby producing honey inside their beehives. The honey produced by this nectar will depend on the type of flower the nectar was taken from.
The nutritional value for honey is promising with one (1) tablespoon which is roughly around 21 grams containing 17 grams of sugar composed of sucrose, maltose, and fructose. In total, it only contains 64 calories per tablespoon. It does not contain any fiber, protein, or fat, making it a great substitute of sugar without having to pile up on calories. Honey also has minute amounts of minerals and vitamins and significant levels of antioxidants with dark colored honey variants having more antioxidant content than their lighter counterparts.
2. Honey that is high quality is rich in antioxidants
Honey that is considered high quality has a lot of anti-oxidants in them. These antioxidants include compounds such as flavonoids or phenolic compounds and organic acids. Working in unison and in collaboration, experts believe that these two components of honey give it its increased antioxidant content. A number of studies point to an increase in antioxidant content of the body through the consumption of buckwheat honey. These antioxidants can help fight against various adverse health conditions such as strokes, certain types of cancers and cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.
3. Compared to sugar, honey is a better option for patients with type 2 diabetes
The benefits of honey to diabetic requires further studies. However, it has been confirmed that raw honey or honey that is unprocessed is a better option for patients with type 2 diabetes. The consumption of honey though can still lead to increased intake of carbohydrates and sugars and for people with type 2 diabetes, it is still best to lower the overall sugar and carbohydrate intake. It must also be stressed that some honey products may have added sugar or syrup in them which defeats the purpose of eating honey to lessen sugar intake. Buyers should really just be aware of this possibility and stick to raw unprocessed honey for maximum health benefits.
4. The antioxidants in honey can help address hypertension or high blood pressure
One study recorded improvements in blood pressure for animals and humans who consumed honey. This was attributed by experts to the antioxidants present in honey.
5. Honey can help control cholesterols in the body
Patients with increased levels of LDL Cholesterol or bad cholesterol have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as strokes and heart attacks. This is because LDL cholesterol can contribute to the build-up of fats in a patient’s arteries and veins increasing their risk for having a stroke or a heart attack. Surprisingly, the consumption of honey has been shown to lower the levels of bad cholesterol and increases the levels of good cholesterol or HDL cholesterol. Research shows that honey can increase HDL cholesterol or good cholesterol by up to 3.3 % while it reduces the level of bad cholesterol or LDL cholesterol by 5.8%.
6. Honey can help decrease triglycerides
Triglycerides greatly contribute to an individuals’ possibility of developing type 2 diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases. High levels of triglycerides can mostly be attributed to a diet that is high in carbohydrates and refined sugars. As such, using honey as a sugar substitute or replacement can greatly decrease triglyceride levels in the body thereby decreasing the chances of developing heart diseases and type 2 diabetes as well.
7. The presence of antioxidants in honey can positively impact a patient’s heart health
Antioxidants in honey can help improve a patient’s heart health and reduce other adverse health conditions such as heart attacks and strokes. Studies suggest that this is because honey can help dilate the arteries and the veins of the body, making blood circulation and blood flow more efficient. This, in turn, can provide the heart and other vital organs with oxygen-rich blood, providing a positive impact on a patient’s heart health.
8. Honey can help the body heal wounds and burns
The use of honey to treat wounds and burns have been documented since ancient times. Honey has been observed to be effective against wounds, burns and even foot ulcers caused by type 2 diabetes. Experts believe that the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of honey contribute to its effective healing properties. It can help soothe wounds and burns by helping to nourish the affected area and the tissue surrounding the injured area.