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Top 10 health benefits of honey

Honey is a sweet liquid produced by honey bees using nectar from flowers through a process of regurgitation and evaporation. Bees swallow, digest and regurgitate nectar to make honey; this nectar contains almost 600 compounds. The possible health benefits of consuming honey have been documented in early Greek, Roman, Vedic, and Islamic texts and the healing qualities of honey were referred to by philosophers and scientists all the way back to ancient times.

Many consider honey a tasty snack, but it has a rich history and recognition as holding several healing powers far beyond accommodating our hunger pangs. For over four thousand years Indian traditional Ayurveda, honey was used as a medicine to treat material imbalances in the body.

In pre-Ancient Egyptian times, honey was used topically to treat wounds. Egyptian medicinal compounds more than five millennia ago used honey.

The ancient Greeks believed that consuming honey could help make you live longer. Even the Prophet Mohammed(SAW) glorified the healing powers of honey.

Quran says:
"And thy Lord taught the Bee to build its cells in hills, on trees, and in (men's) habitations; Then to eat of all the produce (of the earth), and find with skill the spacious paths of its Lord: there issues from within their bodies a drink of varying colors, wherein is healing for men: verily in this is a Sign for those who give thought."

In the Bible (Old Testament), King Solomon said "My son, eat thou honey, for it is good", and there are a number of reasons why it may be good.

Nutritional properties of honey:
Honey is made up of glucose, fructose, and minerals such as iron, calcium, phosphate, sodium, chlorine, potassium, magnesium. It is also fairly rich in vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6. Other physical properties of honey vary depending on the specific flora that was used to produce it, as well as its water content.

The slightly acidic pH level of honey (between 3.2 and 4.5) is what helps prevent the growth of bacteria, while its antioxidant constituents cleans up free radicals. Scientists have revealed that honey has powerful anti-bacterial properties on at least sixty species of bacteria, and unlike antibiotics, which are often useless against certain types of bacteria.

Many consider honey a tasty snack, but recently the sticky spread has gained recognition as holding several healing powers far beyond accommodating our hunger pangs. Honey is non-toxic and has strong effects, recently honey has gained recognition as medicine to treat many common health problems, from cough suppressant to germ-killer, learn about the powerful health benefits of honey.

Here are the top 10 health benefits of honey.

1. Boosts Energy and fights fatigue

Honey can instantly boost your energy level. Due to the natural sugars in honey, it provides a healthy source of calories and energy whenever the body needs them most. 
It easily fights fatigue and solves the problem of low energy.This is due to the perfect combination of glucose and fructose in honey. Glucose is absorbed instantly by the body and provides immediate energy, while fructose is absorbed more slowly, providing sustained energy to the body.
Ancient Olympic athletes would eat honey and dried figs to enhance their performance. This has now been verified with modern studies, showing that it is superior in maintaining glycogen levels and improving recovery time than other sweeteners.

2. Reduces cough and throat irritation:
Honey helps with coughs, particularly buckwheat honey. Several studies have found that honey is a far more effective remedy for coughs compared to many over-the-counter cough medicines. Honey has strong antibacterial properties that help soothe sore throats and kill the bacteria that cause the infection. 
In a study of 110 children, a single dose of buckwheat honey was just as effective as a single dose of dextromethorphan in relieving nocturnal cough and allowing proper sleep. To get quick relief from coughing, mix one tablespoon of honey with some fresh-squeezed lemon juice and drink this solution at regular intervals

3. Regulates Blood Sugar

Even though honey contains simple sugars, it isn't the same as white sugar or artificial sweeteners. Its exact combination of fructose and glucose actually helps the body regulate blood sugar levels. 
Those who suffer from diabetes can enjoy it without a problem. 

Some types of honeys have a low hypoglycemic index. This means when such honey is consumed, it will not spike your blood sugar level fast, but the minerals,vitamins and antioxidant properties in honey are highly beneficial. Plus, as it is sweeter, you are likely to use a lesser amount of honey than sugar.

4. Heals Wounds and Cuts  

Honey has natural antiseptic, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. External application of honey has been shown to be as effective as conventional treatment with silver sulfadiazene. These properties help clean wounds and cuts. Also, honey can keep wounds and cuts free from infection, reduce odor and pus, lessen pain and promote speedy healing. 

Honey is an excellent option for those who are allergic to topical antibiotics. It is speculated that the drying effect of the simple sugars and honey’s anti-bacterial nature combine to create this effect. After gently cleaning the wound or cut with lukewarm water and mild soap, apply a layer of honey on the affected area and cover the area fully with a bandage. Change the bandage every 24 hours. 

5. Helps in minor burns

Studies suggest you can also use honey to treat minor burns effectively. Its antibacterial and antifungal properties can prevent bacterial growth and the antimicrobial properties prevent infection. Smeared on a burn, the sticky elixir could reduce the time it takes for the wound to heal up to four days sooner in some cases.

6. Helps in weight loss

Honey contains vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Drinking lemon juice mixed with lukewarm water and honey may help to reduce belly fat and obesity. Lemons are low in calories while honey is a fat free, natural energy booster. Their combination helps to melt down the fatty deposits in the body. Honey contains natural fruit sugar which is digested easily. Add one teaspoon of honey and three teaspoons of lemon juice to a glass of warm water. Stir well and drink it every morning to shed those extra kilos from the body. 

At the same time, honey satisfies the body’s innate craving for something sweet. This means you can have honey without worrying about putting on extra weight. Next time you feel the urge to eat something sweet, simply have a tablespoon of raw, organic honey.

7. Prevent cancer and heart disease
Honey contains flavonoids, antioxidants which help reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease. New research is always finding new possible uses of honey in treating certain conditions and diseases.One study found that Manuka honey may prevent radiation-induced dermatitis in breast cancer patients. 
8. Good for SkinIts anti-bacterial qualities are particularly useful for the skin, and, when used with the other ingredients, can also be moisturizing and nourishing! honey is the ultimate ingredient to use for healthy and glowing skin. For blemishes, apply a little bit of honey directly on the affected area before going to bed. This will give the skin all night to absorb the honey’s medicinal properties.

Wash it off the next morning with lukewarm water. Follow this simple remedy for several days and soon you will have clear and glowing skin. Honey can also be used to treat other skin conditions like eczema, ringworm and psoriasis. Honey can also reduce skin inflammation and relieve dryness.

9. Reduces gastrointestinal disorders

Recent research shows that honey treatment may help disorders such as ulcers and bacterial gastroenteritis. Honey being 125.9 times more viscous than distilled water at 37c(body temprature) may be helpful in preventing gastro oesophageal reflux as it can form a coating on the Oesophageal mucosa. 

Researchers also observed relief from heartburn after intake of 5ml of honey. Honey being a viscous liquid and a nutrient can be used easily to prevent gastro oesophageal reflux

10) Balance the 5 elements 
Honey has been used in ayurvedic medicine in India for at least 4000 years and is considered to affect all three of the body’s primitive material imbalances positively. It is also said to be useful useful in improving eyesight, weight loss, curing impotence and premature ejaculation, urinary tract disorders, bronchial asthma, diarrhea, and nausea.

Honey is referred as “Yogavahi” since it has a quality of penetrating the deepest tissues of the body. When honey is used with other herbal preparations, it enhances the medicinal qualities of those preparations and also helps them to reach the deeper tissues.

These are just a few of the numerous health benefits this sweet health elixir is capable of, if you want to get the goodness from your honey, make sure it is pure and raw. Raw honey contains vitamins, minerals and enzymes not present in refined honey.

Oxford journal

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