Honey: What you should know

Honey is a sweet liquid produced by bees from flower nectar. Color is used to classify honey, with clear, golden amber honey capturing a higher retail price than darker varieties.

The flavor of a honey will differ depending on the type of flower from which the nectar was extracted.

Honey is available in both raw and pasteurized forms. Because raw honey is taken directly from the hive and bottled, it may contain trace amounts of yeast, wax, and pollen. Due to repeated exposure to pollen in the area, local raw honey is thought to help with seasonal allergies. Impurities have been removed from pasteurized honey by heating and processing.

Honey contains a lot of monosaccharides, fructose, and glucose, and it’s sweet because it’s made up of 70 to 80 percent sugar. Honey has antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Honey has been found to be useful in the treatment of chronic wounds and the prevention of infection by modern medicine.

This article gives a quick overview of honey’s history in traditional medicine as well as some of its potential health benefits.

Important facts about honey

  • Honey has been linked to wound healing and antibacterial properties.
  • For over 5,000 years, it has been used in medicine.
  • Honey can be used to replace sugar in meals, making them healthier. They can, however, brown a dish and add too much moisture.
  • Honey should not be given to children under the age of 12 months.

Health benefits

Honey benefits
Honey has been consumed for thousands of years due to its purported health benefits.

Many of the historical uses of honey are being confirmed by modern science.

1) Healing wounds and burns

Honey has been reported to have beneficial effects in the treatment of wounds in some cases.

Honey may be able to help heal burns, according to a review published in The Cochrane Library. “Topical honey is cheaper than other interventions, notably oral antibiotics, which are often used and may have other deleterious side effects,” according to the study’s lead author.

However, there isn’t enough evidence to back up this claim. In fact, a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases found that applying medical-grade honey to patients’ wounds has no benefit over standard antibiotics in dialysis patients.

Honey should never be given to infants under the age of one year because it can cause botulism, a rare but deadly form of food poisoning.

2) Reducing the length of time diarrhea lasts

Honey has been shown to reduce the severity and duration of diarrhea, according to research-based reviews. Honey as well promotes increased potassium and water intake, which is particularly helpful when experiencing diarrhea.

Honey has also been shown to have the ability to block the actions of pathogens that commonly cause diarrhea, according to research conducted in Lagos, Nigeria.

3) Acid reflux prevention

Honey can reduce the upward flow of stomach acid and undigested food by lining the esophagus and stomach, according to new research.

This has helped to reduce the risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Inflammation, acid reflux, and heartburn are all symptoms of GERD.

4) Fighting infections

Honey’s ability to kill bacteria is due to a protein called defensin-1, according to researchers from the Academic Medical Center at the University of Amsterdam, who published their findings in the FASEB Journal in 2010.

A recent study published in the European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases found that Manuka honey can help prevent the bacteria Clostridium difficile from settling in the body. C. difficile is known for causing severe diarrhea and sickness.

Manuka honey has been shown to be effective in the treatment of MRSA infections in some studies.

Dr. Jenkins concluded:

“Manuka and other honeys have been known to have wound healing and anti-bacterial properties for some time. But the way in which they act is still not known. If we can discover exactly how Manuka honey inhibits MRSA, it could be used more frequently as a first-line treatment for infections with bacteria that are resistant to many currently available antibiotics.”

According to research published in the journal Letters in Applied Microbiology, manuka honey may even help reverse antibiotic resistance in bacteria. This type of honey was found to be effective against Ureaplasma urealyticum, an antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Honey was found to be superior to placebo in helping children with a cough during the night, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics. The researchers came to the following conclusion:

“Parents rated the honey products higher than the silan date extract for symptomatic relief of their children’s nocturnal cough and sleep difficulty due to URI (upper respiratory infection). Honey may be a preferable treatment for cough and sleep difficulty associated with childhood URI.”

Researchers published data in The Scientific World Journal confirming that natural honey was just as effective as a eusol antiseptic solution in preventing wound infections.

There is a lot of evidence to back up the use of honey as an infection treatment.

5) Relieving cold and cough symptoms

A lady having cough or common cold
Honey may help to relieve the symptoms of a cold or cough.

Honey is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a natural cough remedy.

Honey is also recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics as a cough treatment.

Honey, on the other hand, is not recommended for children under the age of one year.

Honey was found to be more effective than the cough medicine dextromethorphan in reducing nighttime coughing and improving sleep quality in children with upper respiratory infections, according to a 2007 study from Penn State College of Medicine.

6) Replacing added sugar in the diet

Honey’s sweet flavor makes it an excellent sugar substitute in the diet.

Sugar in the diet adds unnecessary calories to the diet with no nutritional benefit. This can lead to an increase in body weight, which increases the risk of hypertension and diabetes.

Honey can be used to sweeten food and beverages without the negative health effects of added sugars. However, because honey is still a sweetener, it’s important to keep track of how much you’re using.

Medicinal use

Honey has long been used to treat a variety of ailments and injuries.

It can be consumed or applied to the skin after being mixed with other remedies. Honey has been tried as a treatment for the following conditions by Ayurvedic doctors:

  • stress
  • weakness
  • sleep disturbance
  • vision problems
  • bad breath
  • teething pain, in children over a year old
  • cough and asthma
  • hiccups
  • stomach ulcers
  • diarrhea and dysentery
  • vomiting
  • bedwetting and frequent urination
  • high blood pressure
  • obesity
  • jaundice
  • hangover relief
  • eczema and dermatitis
  • burns, cuts, and wounds
  • arthritis

While not all honey uses have been proven to be effective, using it as a treatment will not make your condition worse or harm you.

Honey is sometimes recommended as a treatment for cracked, dry, pimple-prone, or clogged skin.

History

Honey was first used by humans around 8,000 years ago, according to cave paintings, though there was no evidence of humans keeping and cultivating bee colonies until 2,400 BC.

For centuries, honey has been a staple in many cultures’ medical practices. Honey has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for over 4,000 years, and it was thought to be effective in treating indigestion and body imbalances.

Honey was rubbed on the skin to treat wounds before it was used by the Ancient Egyptians, and it has been found in medicinal substances dating back over 5,000 years.

In modern times, the beneficial properties of honey have been explored and studied, and there is evidence that some aspects of its historical reputation may be true.

Properties

According to the National Nutrient Database of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one tablespoon of honey contains 64 calories, 17.3 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of fiber, fat, or protein.

Honey may have long-term health benefits when compared to refined and processed sugar. Honey has anti-oxidant, antimicrobial, and soothing properties.

Glucose, fructose, and minerals like iron, calcium, phosphate, sodium chloride, potassium, and magnesium are all found in it.

According to BeeSource, the following is a typical honey profile:

  • Fructose: 38.2 percent
  • Glucose: 31.3 percent
  • Maltose: 7.1 percent
  • Sucrose: 1.3 percent
  • Water: 17.2 percent
  • Higher sugars: 1.5 percent
  • Ash: 0.2 percent
  • Other: 3.2 percent

Honey’s slightly acidic pH helps to prevent bacteria from growing, while its antioxidant elements help to clean up free radicals linked to disease.

Honey’s physical properties are influenced by the flora used in its production as well as its water content.

Diet

When it comes to substituting honey for sugar, experimentation is key. Excessive browning and moisture can result from baking with honey.

Use ¾ cup honey for every one cup sugar, reduce the liquid in the recipe by 2 tablespoons, and lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit as a general rule.

Here are some quick ways to incorporate honey into your diet:

  • Use honey to sweeten your dressings or marinades.
  • Stir honey into coffee or tea.
  • Drizzle honey on top of toast or pancakes.
  • Mix honey into yogurt, cereal, or oatmeal for a more natural sweetener.
  • Spread raw honey over whole grain toast and top with peanut butter.

Alternatively, try these registered dietitian-created healthy and delicious recipes:

Honey has no expiration date if kept in an airtight container.

Risks

The overall eating pattern of a person is the most important factor in preventing disease and maintaining good health. It is preferable to eat a varied diet rather than focusing on a single food as the key to good health.

Because honey is still a type of sugar, it should be consumed in moderation. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), women should consume no more than 100 calories per day from added sugars, while men should consume no more than 150 calories per day. For women, this is slightly more than two tablespoons, while for men, it is three tablespoons.

Honey is not recommended for infants under the age of one year. Honey may contain botulinum endospores, which can cause infant botulism, a rare but serious type of food poisoning that can result in paralysis in young children. These spores can be found in pasteurized honey as well.

Honey, on the other hand, has a long list of advantages.

Sources

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