Honey is one of the most underrated health foods that’s been around for ages. It’s a popular delicacy incorporating many medicinal properties. Daily consumption of honey is said to result in an agile body and a healthy heart.
If you belong to the Indian subcontinent, you surely have a jar of honey in your kitchen. Most people do, but only a rare few are aware of the incredible benefits it has to offer.
This ultimate guide to honey will cover the incredible benefits of honey, its various medicinal properties, and the best ways to consume it. It will also address the important FAQs regarding honey and its consumption.
So, without taking any more of your time, let’s get started.
How Does Honey Affect Your Blood?
According to the Yogic sciences, the compositions of blood and honey are quite similar. This is why honey poses many positive effects on your blood.
Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen to all parts of your body. A low RBC count, for instance, with anemic people, might lead to mental fatigue, constant exhaustion, and even depression. This is where honey might help.
According to a scientific study, a solution of honey mixed with water has been observed to improve your blood count. This results in more oxygen being carried to all parts of your body, leading to increased energy levels and a more vibrant metabolism!
Therefore, introducing small amounts of honey to your regular diet may help with the circulation and purification of blood. However, make sure you don’t consume it in excess, as it may lead to a spike in your blood sugar levels.
Benefits of Honey for Your Skin and How to Use it!
Because of its antiseptic properties, honey has been used as a medical remedy to treat skin ailments since the ancient ages. It is considered to play an important part in Siddha and Ayurveda, which are traditional Indian systems of medicine.
In India, the use of honey and ghee as a dressing for infected wounds dates back to 600 BC, when Sushruta Samhita suggested that the combination of honey and ghee could help with wound healing.
Even the Egyptians and other cultures around the world have used honey as a bandage to relieve the pain of burns and wounds and to cure skin diseases.
If you frequently suffer from dandruff and a dry scalp, honey could help revitalize the health of your hair and provide it with the necessary nourishment. Honey is also enriched with exfoliating properties, which is why you can try it for getting rid of black spots and marks on your face.
This simple Honey and Lemon Remedy could help with eliminating dull skin and persistent spots!
STEPS TO PREPARE
- Prepare an adequate amount of paste by mixing equal parts of lemon juice and honey.
- Apply this thin mixture to your face and let it rest for 20 minutes.
Doing this twice a day could help clear up the spots and scars on your face. Try it out for yourself and let us know your experiences.
Honey vs. Sugar: Which is Better?
Honey and Sugar are two of the most popular sweeteners used across the globe. But which of them is a healthier option? Let’s find out!
Honey is a naturally occurring substance made by honey bees. It doesn’t require any processing and can be consumed raw. Apart from that, honey also has traces of vitamins and minerals that are good for your body and metabolism.
On the other hand, the white sugar that we generally consume is made by refining sugarcane. Converting sugarcane into white sugar requires multiple processing steps that strip it of its nutritive properties. Thus, sugar only tends to add empty calories to our bodies!
You might’ve experienced the instant sugar rush from consuming white sugar. It helps activate your brain and provides a quick boost of energy. But, sadly, it comes at a cost! Consuming sugar in excess could raise your insulin levels. This could further lead to weight gain, heart disease, and even type-2 diabetes.
Honey, on the other hand, is safer to consume as it contains glucose and fructose in its free forms. The glucose present in honey provides an instant boost of energy, and the higher level of fructose content gives the feeling of sweetness even on consuming honey in little proportions.
Ultimately, consuming honey is a little healthier option than sugar. When taken in smaller amounts, it only tends to add valuable elements to your body.
Can Honey Cure Cold?
If you frequently suffer from cold, consuming honey could alleviate your symptoms in no time. Honey displays antimicrobial activity. It is known to help in fighting against the pathogens responsible for the cold and reduce the secretion of mucus in your system.
A simple remedy that may help clear your nostrils, throat, and lungs is consuming peppercorns with honey. Here’s how you can prepare it.
STEPS TO PREPARE
- Crush 10-12 peppercorns and soak them in 2 teaspoons of honey overnight (or for 8 to 12 hours).
- Consume peppercorns and honey in the morning, making sure to chew them well.
Will Honey Increase Weight?
Do you know that 1 tablespoon of honey contains 64 calories, whereas 1 tablespoon of sugar only contains 49 calories? This would suggest honey is more fattening and leads to weight gain. But is it true? Well, not exactly.
Honey consists of various beneficial proteins, vitamins, and minerals, which makes it quite healthy for you. Whereas, sugar is pure sucrose. It doesn’t contain any nutrients and only adds empty calories to your body.
Honey tends to add more sweetening properties to the food and satiates your palette even in smaller proportions. Thus, honey won’t necessarily lead to weight gain if taken in moderate amounts.
Can I Feed Honey to my Baby?
New parents get thrilled with the idea of introducing new food items to their babies. Easy to swallow and sweet to taste, honey is naturally the first product that pops up in most parents’ minds. But beware!
Feeding honey to infants below 1 year of age might be dangerous. Raw honey comprises the spores of botulism bacteria, found in soil and dust particles. These bacteria could increase the risk of botulism – a rare condition that causes breathing difficulties and muscle paralysis in infants.
A study conducted on infant botulism noted almost 20% of cases of botulism involved the use of honey or corn syrup.
The immune system of a growing baby may not be developed enough to resist this harmful botulism bacteria. Thus, it’s best to wait for up to 12 months before introducing honey to your baby’s diet.
Honey – An Instant Energy Booster
Does the busy day leave you drained and too exhausted to enjoy the moment? Well, honey might help!
Where refined sugar tends to add empty calories to your body, honey is imbued with the nutritional values of vitamins, minerals, and helpful enzymes. Its high fructose content also keeps you active, alert, and full of energy.
The sugar (glucose) present in honey is also absorbed by the blood fairly easily, giving you an instant spurt of energy. So, if you’re looking for a quick energy drink, honey mixed with warm water would be a delicious and healthy option.
Does Honey Help Digestion?
Yes, honey does help with digestion. Raw honey contains many helpful digestive enzymes like diastase, amylase, invertase, and protease that help in breaking down complex foods into simpler, easy-to-digest substances.
As per research conducted on the effect of honey on improving the gut microbial balance, it was observed that honey contains a specific type of carbohydrate, called oligosaccharide, which may promote the growth of lactobacilli bacteria and the bifidobacteria in our intestines. These bacteria may regulate our digestive system and help with reducing constipation, diarrhoea, gas, and bloating in your stomach.
So, if you are troubled with a constantly upset stomach and digestive issues, consuming a spoonful of raw honey regularly would result in better gut health over time.
Another effective remedy would be consuming honey and lemon mixed in hot water early in the morning. This is a traditionally known method to cleanse and regulate bowel movements and improve your overall system.
Incredible Benefits of Honey for Yoga Practitioners and Sadhakas
Practising yoga and meditation for hours at a stretch requires you to have high amounts of energy. When you begin to push your body through yogic practices, it’s important to keep your blood chemistry in balance.
Honey is said to be a yogi’s best friend! It’s an amazing resource of energy, flexibility, and vitality. Yogis are known to consume lukewarm water laced with honey every morning before their sadhana or yogic practices. This is said to keep them active and energetic around the clock and help regulate the blood circulation in their body.
Another best practice for anyone practising sadhana or yoga is to consume neem and turmeric with mildly laced honey water. Doing this for 7 to 8 days will cleanse your entire system and make your muscles more flexible.
Why Should You Not Heat Honey?
Honey in its raw form comes with a wide range of health benefits. But what happens when you heat it?
As noted in the ancient Ayurvedic textbook Ashtanga Hridayam Sutrasthana (Chapter 5, Shloka 53), honey is not recommended to be heated or used with hot foods, in hot seasons, or hot countries. It changes its natural composition and is said to turn toxic on being heated.
Even science tends to agree with this speculation. According to research conducted on the effects of heating honey at a high temperature, it was observed that honey tends to lose its nutritive elements and quality on being heated at higher temperatures.
The high heat tends to kill the helpful enzymes present in raw honey. Hence, it’s best to avoid heating honey and consume honey in its raw form.
Can Honey Cure Cough?
Honey is quite popular as a household remedy for cough. Elderly people have believed it to be a quick fix for treating symptoms of cough for a long time. But does it cure cough?
Well, not exactly. Honey does not cure cough but it may help with reducing its symptoms. Because of the antioxidant and antibacterial properties of honey, it tends to promote healing in your body. Consumption of honey coats your cough-ridden throat which may provide a soothing effect on your membranes and relieve you of a persistent cough.
According to a study conducted on 3 different types of honey, it was found that all three types of honey were more effective in relieving cough than a placebo (fake medicine) used in the experiment.
Though it’s not a proven ‘cure’ for cough, the best part about treating your cough with honey is its lack of side effects! Being an organic product, it doesn’t bear the risk of any side effects as observed with many over-the-counter medicines.
Consuming 1-2 teaspoons of honey either raw or mixed with warm water before going to sleep could be an effective remedy for treating cough. If you’re a morning person, you can mix honey in your tea instead of sugar for a clear throat.
Medicinal Properties of Honey
Honey is a unique composition of natural ingredients that possess medicinal properties. It has been used as a natural medicine to treat various kinds of ailments in the human body for ages. Let us look at the medicinal properties of honey and how they improve our health.
- Honey As An Antioxidant
The presence of traces of Vitamin C makes honey act as an antioxidant. This may help with boosting your memory, reducing the risk of heart diseases, treating inflammation, respiratory infections, and even the common cold.
- Honey As An Anti-Depressant
A study conducted on the Neurological Effects of Honey suggests that raw honey displays antidepressant activity and may also enhance memory.
Additionally, consuming honey may cause your insulin levels to rise. This might lead to the body releasing a chemical called serotonin which is responsible for improving mood and promoting healthy sleep.
Thus, the consumption of honey might show improvement in patients dealing with depression, anxiety, or other neurological disorders.
- Honey As Anti-Microbial & Anti-Allergic
Research has shown that honey might be potent enough in killing a wide range of harmful germs and bacteria entering your system. It may also help in healing different kinds of injuries, burns, and wounds. This property can be attributed to its high sugar concentration, antioxidant properties, and low pH levels.
Additionally, honey contains small amounts of pollen grains that might be effective in treating allergies as well.
- Honey As An Energy Booster
Honey consists of natural sugar, which may offer instant energy to our bodies. The presence of nutritious elements like vitamins and minerals also tends to add calories to your diet, thus keeping you energetic and vibrant for long hours!
- Honey As A Sleep Aid
Honey may help the body in releasing melatonin, which acts as an agent for inducing sleep. This is due to the tryptophan content (an amino acid) found in honey. It helps the body in releasing hormones that promote sleep and initiate a full-body recovery.
Best Ways to Consume Honey
Now that you know all about honey and the ways it improves our health, you must be wondering about the ways you can inculcate this yogic super food into your diet. Here are some simple yet effective ways.
- Honey Water Drink
Honey mixed with water is a great way to revitalize the body. It has a different impact when consumed in different ways.
When you consume 1-3 teaspoons of honey mixed in a glass of water at room temperature, it can re-energize your nervous system and nourish your tissues.
Whereas, when you consume 1-3 teaspoons of honey mixed with lukewarm water, it tends to provide an instant burst of energy and keeps your body weight in balance.
- Honey Lemon Drink
Honey and Lemon are two excellent ingredients for detoxifying your body and improving your metabolism. Lemon is a rich source of vitamin C, that offers antioxidant properties for the body.
Drinking honey and lemon mixed in lukewarm water on an empty stomach in the morning may aid in weight loss and improved digestion.
- Ginger Honey Lemon Drink
Similar to honey, ginger comes with a range of health benefits. Consuming a little ginger every day might improve your digestion and boost your immune system. Combine that with the antioxidant properties of lemon, and you have a power drink right before you!
STEPS TO PREPARE
- Take a cup and add 4 teaspoons of honey, 4 teaspoons of ginger juice, and two teaspoons of lemon juice to it.
- Add ¾ cup of water to it and mix well.
Drinking this enriching drink can help you ward off cough and cold and cleanse your system.
- Honey-Pomegranate Drink
Pomegranate is an exceptionally healthy fruit packed with lots of nutrients. If you love pomegranates, here’s an easy and nutritious recipe for you.
STEPS TO PREPARE
- Mix the fresh juice of one whole pomegranate with one teaspoon of honey.
- Consume this drink every morning on an empty stomach.
This drink may prove effective in maintaining a healthy heart, immune body, and glowing skin!
- Honey-Watermelon Mint Drink
Watermelon is one of the most loved summer delicacies. It comes loaded with tonnes of healthy ingredients.
What happens when you mix the king of summers with the freshness of mint and the healing properties of ginger? You get a lip-smacking drink to fight off the blazing sun! Here’s how you can prepare it.
- 1/4th of a watermelon
- 1-inch piece of ginger
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
- Black pepper powder
- 3 tablespoons of Honey
STEPS TO PREPARE
- Peel and remove seeds from the watermelon. Now chop it into small pieces and toss them into a blender jar.
- Peel and crush the ginger piece and add it to the jar.
- Now, add some mint leaves, salt, pepper, and honey to it. Blend till it turns into a smooth paste.
- Strain the contents and pour them into glasses. Serve it with or without ice cubes. Your summer delicacy is ready!
Honey As a Medicine in Ayurveda and Siddha
Ayurveda and Siddha are traditional systems of medicine that have their origins in India. They treat diseases using natural and organic ingredients.
Interestingly, the traditional texts of Ayurveda and Siddha have regarded honey as a ‘vehicle for medicine’. This suggests that if a medicine is mixed with honey, your body tends to absorb it easily and spread it across your body through the circulation of blood.
Siddha recognizes 7 varieties of honey and regards the honey collected from mountainous forests – also called Mountain Honey – as possessing the highest medicinal values. It’s believed to incorporate the benefits of many medicinal plants that bees have collected nectar from.
According to the Siddha texts, honey may also be effective in treating heat-related issues in the body, for instance, gas, excess mucous, blood impurities, vomiting, etc.
Whereas, the Ayurveda system finds honey to be effective in both internal and external applications in the human body. Along with its usage as a natural preservative in Ayurvedic preparations, it could also be used for treating eye diseases, cough, phlegm, vomiting, asthma, obesity, wound infections, etc.
Honey continues to be the most treasured superfood for yogis and fitness enthusiasts. This article uncovered the numerous health benefits it offers to us.
Honey won’t just satisfy your taste buds, but may also prove effective in improving your blood circulation, treating respiratory infections, healing skin ailments, and boosting immunity.
We hope you found this guide on honey insightful. Do try out the different honey remedies discussed above and let us know if they worked out for you!