We're Buzzing About These Health Benefits of HoneyNutrition
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder
Most people associate honey with those jars of honey that live on the shelves of grocery stores. Unfortunately, much of the honey you see in the stores is processed and heated, which significantly reduces its nutrient content. These processed products are usually depleted of bee pollen, an antioxidant that may relieve inflammation, allergies and help boost the immune system. If you are interested in reaping nutritional benefits from honey, then perhaps you should consider raw honey.
Raw honey is thicker in appearance and contains bee pollen. And you can purchase raw honey. Check the National Honey Board locator to find a local, raw honey vendor near you. You can also usually find raw honey at certain natural foods stores. This natural, unprocessed honey may be lightly filtered, but it is unheated, unpasteurized and full of nutrients that may benefit your health.
Raw honey may be good for your gut.
Raw honey is a prebiotic. You are likely familiar with probiotics, live beneficial bacteria we get from eating certain foods including yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, kefir, miso soup and more. Prebiotics, like raw honey, are just as critical for gut health because they are made of fiber that our bodies cannot digest. Prebiotics can, however, be digested by probiotics (live beneficial bacteria in our gut). So prebiotics are the food source for probiotics. We need to feed the good bacteria in our guts in order to have a balanced gut microbiota, and a great way to ensure this may be by eating just a tablespoon of raw honey a day along with getting probiotics in our diet. Put raw honey in your morning yogurt for a prebiotic/probiotic “cocktail.” If you do not eat dairy, you can get herbal teas with probiotics and add raw honey.
A balanced gut may improve digestion, and studies have shown that if we take care of our gut health, we have better mental health.
Raw honey may be a good topical treatment for wounds.
Honey has been used for thousands of years in ancient medicine to heal burns and prevent infection.
“The healing property of honey is due to the fact that it offers antibacterial activity, maintains a moist wound condition, and its high viscosity helps to provide a protective barrier to prevent infection,” according to the National Institutes for Health (NIH).
The NIH also reports that honey has an inhibitory effect to around 60 species of bacteria.
Raw honey may help fight cancer and reduce risk for cardiovascular disease.
Raw honey is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties, just like many of the fruits and veggies we encourage you to get in your daily diet.
According to the NIH, raw honey induces apoptosis (cell death) in various types of cancer cells, and its anti-tumor effect may be attributed to its antioxidant properties.
We usually try to stay away from sugar, but perhaps natural, unrefined sugar has a plethora of benefits.
“Honey modulates the body immune system. There are still many unanswered questions; why sugar is carcinogenic, while honey which is basically sugar has anticarcinogenic properties,” reports the NIH.
And since raw honey is a great anti-inflammatory, it has proven to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and promote healthier cholesterol levels.
Raw honey is rich in phenolic compounds, which have antioxidant properties. Furthermore, “[m]any epidemiological studies have shown that regular intake of phenolic compounds is associated with reduced risk of heart diseases,” reports the NIH.
Raw honey may help with weight management.
It may sound too good to be true that something so sweet may help with weight control, but studies have shown that raw honey may increase appetite-regulating hormones. There is also evidence that replacing sugar with honey may help prevent weight gain and even lower blood sugar levels. Raw honey may be a great sweetener alternative for diabetics. Just be sure to consume in moderation, and talk with your doctor about how you can incorporate this superfood into your diet.
You can find more information about honey here. It’s so exciting and inspiring to discover delicious foods that may do wonders for our overall health. And remember NOT to give children under 12 months raw honey. It may be too hard on their digestive systems and cause infant botulism. Once your child is older, consult your pediatrician.
Healthy food can be so sweet!
Enjoy your healthy life!
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.