Discover the health benefits of honey, one of the oldest sweeteners on earth. It is a delicious part of any dessert made with it; see some of my favourite recipes here too.
Bees swallow, digest and regurgitate nectar to make honey; this nectar contains almost 600 compounds. We need our bees, so let’s do everything we can to save them and keep them here on this earth.
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Honey is so good for you that we have included it in our list of superfoods that should be in your kitchen right now.
Once you taste the sweet honey, you want more of that. ~ Garbine Muguruza
Health Benefits of Honey
1. Honey Prevents cancer and heart disease
Honey contains flavonoids, antioxidants which help reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease.
2. Reduce ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders
Recent research shows that honey treatment may help disorders such as ulcers and bacterial gastroenteritis. This may be related to the 3rd benefit.
3. Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-fungal
“All honey is antibacterial because the bees add an enzyme that makes hydrogen peroxide,” said Peter Molan, director of the Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato in New Zealand.
4. Increase athletic performance
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.
5. Reduces a cough and throat irritation
It helps with coughs, particularly buckwheat honey. In a study of 105 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.
6. Balance the 5 Elements
It 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. A few of the health benefits of honey are that it is useful in improving eyesight, weight loss, curing impotence and premature ejaculation, urinary tract disorders, bronchial asthma, diarrhea, and nausea.
Honey is referred to 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.
7. Blood sugar regulation
Even though it contains simple sugars, it is NOT the same as white sugar or artificial sweeteners. Its exact combination of fructose and glucose actually helps the body regulate blood sugar levels. Some kinds of honey do have a low hypoglycemic index, so they don’t jolt your blood sugar. Watch this video Sweetener Comparison where I compare stevia, brown rice syrup, honey, molasses, and agave, and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each.
8. Heal wounds and burns
Health benefits of honey extend even to external applications. Applied to the skin, honey has been shown to be as effective as conventional treatment with silver sulfadiazine. It is speculated that the drying effect of the simple sugars and honey’s antibacterial nature combine to create this effect. Studies have shown it to be very successful in healing wounds.
Some varieties possess large amounts of friendly bacteria. This includes up to 6 species of lactobacilli and 4 species of bifidobacteria. This may explain many of the “mysterious therapeutic properties of honey.”
10. Strengthen the Immune System
“Buckwheat honey should be a part of every winter medicine cabinet and here is why—it’s high in antioxidants and it really has a lot of immune boosting properties. Ideally, the buckwheat honey has a darker, richer flavor, it’s a little bit like molasses…this particular honey can keep you healthy throughout the winter.” says Dr. Bhatia.
Different kinds of honey have different flavonoid profiles, depending on the floral source of the nectar. The most beneficial kinds of honey for the body are Manuka and buckwheat.
Types of Honey
- Manuka honey strengthens the immune system. The Kiva Certified UMF 15+ – Raw Manuka Honey 15+ is lab-certified to UMF 15+ standard and is raw. This is a genuine Manuka Honey harvested from the remote hills, forest, and coastal areas of New Zealand.
- Buckwheat is a healthier alternative to cough syrup and good for the immune system.
- Wildflower – Topanga Quality Wildflower Honey is raw, unfiltered and unpasteurized. Kosher too.
- Alfalfa – Stockin’s Unheated and Unfiltered Raw Alfalfa Honey is made in Saskatchewan, Canada from Alfalfa Blossoms.
- Black Locust has the lowest glycemic index (32) of all of the kinds of honey.
Raw Locust Honey by the Beekeeper’s Daughter is light, clean, and very aromatic and floral.
- Orange Blossom
- Clover: Uncle Henry’s Honey was voted best tasting by honey lovers and is from the purest wildflower fields of Canada.
There are at least 40 types – each one has a distinctive taste and unique properties. Darker types tend to have higher antioxidant levels, while Monofloral honey (from a single plant species) usually has the lowest glycemic index (GI).
For example, locust honey from the Black Locust tree has a GI of 32. Clover honey, which is used commercially, has the highest glycemic index at 69.
Benefits of Raw Honey
If you want to get the goodness from your honey, make sure it is pure, raw and organic.
The benefits of raw honey outweigh conventional forms. Raw honey contains vitamins, minerals, and enzymes not present in refined honey.
- Best not to feed to infants. Spores of Clostridium botulinum have been found in a small percentage of honey in North America. This is not dangerous to adults and older children, but infants can have a serious reaction of illness in the first year. Do not add honey to baby food or use as a soother to quiet a fussy or colicky baby. Most Canadian honey is not contaminated with the bacteria causing infant botulism, but it’s still best not to take the chance. “Do not let babies eat honey,” states foodsafety.gov, a website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- It is a sugar, so do not eat jars full of it if you value your good health and want to maintain a healthy weight. It has a high caloric value and will put you on a sugar high and low.
Cook with it or use only raw honey?
There is some controversy about cooking with it, although I cannot substantiate it from all of my research.
When honey is heated above 108 degrees Fahrenheit, it becomes transformed into a glue-like substance that is extremely difficult to digest. This substance is considered a toxin (ama), since it adheres to the tissues of the body and is very difficult to remove.” Ayurveda Wellness Center
That said, I am not convinced that we should not cook with honey, although I am not using it in most of my cooked recipes until I get to the bottom of this.
If it comes to it, maybe consider blackstrap molasses instead. It’s equally nutritious and can be a substitute where applicable.
For Beautiful Skin
Its anti-bacterial qualities are particularly useful for the skin, and, when used with the other ingredients, can also be moisturizing and nourishing! For a powerful home beauty treatment for which you probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen already, read Carrot Face Mask.
I love my homemade dandelion flower pancakes topped with these healthy syrups (below).
Delicious Honey Recipes for You
Orange Syrup: This syrup is a much healthier syrup then the usual syrups on your pancakes or waffles. It has less honey in it because of the orange juice which makes it delicious. The zing of the orange make is very tasty.
Dandelion Flower Syrup: This syrup is a great treat from your weeds and it is so easy to make. See why I am mad about dandelions – and their amazing health benefits.
Honey Syrup: the goodness and taste of both honey and molasses.
Delicious Sweet Recipes with Honey
Peanut Butter Bliss Balls: This is one of those recipes that originated in my hippy days in the Kootenays of British Columbia, Canada. We had a variety of flavours of ‘Bliss Balls’; this was a favorite. It did have lots of honey in it though which I reduced the quantity. Also, it had wheat germ in it which I replaced to make it gluten-free.
Oatmeal Cinnamon Porridge & Sultanas: This porridge makes a great start to your day. I like the old fashioned oats as they have a fuller flavour and are healthier. You can eat this as a raw meal or make it into regular porridge. As they take longer to cook; I often soak them overnight but you do not have to.
Dandelion Tea: for any time with a dash of honey. You can easily make a dandelion with dried leaves from the plants which are full of nutrition. Find out some of the great reasons to love dandelions.
Sugarless Date Squares: Most date squares are just way too sweet in my opinion. So when I developed this recipe; my own version is less sweet and tastes even better. You will find it hard to stop at only one.
Mango Squares: mmmmangos yum!
7 Tips to Avoid Sugar Cravings
Eating honey is a more healthy choice than white sugar but that doesn’t mean you can eat all you want. Learn how to reduce your sugar cravings at 7 Tips to Avoid Sugar Craving
Learn more about some of the healthiest vegetables and fruits for vegans and vegetarians that you will always want to have in your fridge or pantry
READ: Superfoods – Over 100 of the Healthiest Foods You Should Have in Your Diet and learn more about the variety of Superfoods like honey we think you should use in your recipes.