Honey is a food formed by honey bees using nectar from flowers. These bees transform nectar from flowers into honey by a process called regurgitation. Honey has a long history in human consumption. It is widely used in countless cultures for ages. It is used in various foods and beverages as sweetener or for flavoring. Apart from that it has several extremely useful medicinal properties and is widely used for curing and preventing various ailments. Honey is the only food produced by the insects (honey bees) and consumed by the humans. It includes vitamins, minerals and enzymes that are necessary to sustain life. It is eaten the same as the nature provides us, meaning thereby that it re- quires no refining or processing. That makes it all the more powerful. Honey is the only sweetener that isn’t man-made or processed and has antibacterial properties and many healing effects. Honey contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, in fact one unique antioxidant called “pinocembrin” is only found in honey. So let’s start our journey to get more familiar with this wonderful gift of nature by looking at its long list of benefits.
What Makes Honey a Real Health Treat
Honey is not a recently discovered new age drug but it has been used by humans since ages to heal wounds, as a part of daily diet, as a preservative and for other uses whose evidence is to be found by the historians. Several rock paintings dating back thousands of years have shown man hunting down honey from bee hives. Archaeologists discovered honey combs in the tombs of pharaohs and surprisingly it was edible even today. In fact several references of the nutritional, medicinal and other valuable properties have been found documented in Vedas as well as the ancient books of Romans, Greeks, Christian, Islamic and many other faiths and cultures. Physicians of ancient times have all referred to the healing qualities of honey in their text. In fact some of these texts have mentioned in the use of honey in over 6oo remedies, which to say is truly mind boggling. It has been referred in Vedas as the “Nectar of Sun” and its use in Indian system of medicine called Ayurveda goes back to over 4000 years. Ancient Egyptians used honey in medicinal compounds about 5000 years ago and the Chinese Medicine have widely used it for Centuries and continues to use it even today. Even ancient Russian manuscripts have award- ed a lot of importance to the use of Honey in medicine.
Fat Loss: Replace Sugar with Honey in Your Diet and Accelerate Your Weight Loss
Can something so rich in calories help you burn your fat? Yes, it is amazing, unintuitive, incredible but true, honey can do it. A natural sweetener making you lose weight is absolutely not a myth because other than the sweetness there are other properties of honey that make it special. . Results noticed from a honey diet plan in this regard have been remarkable. Honey is nature’s cure for hunger and assists you in losing weight. Table sugar when processed loses its nutrients and thus depends upon the other foods to get it-self absorbed, resulting to the body lacking those essential nutrients, as sugar has consumed them all in order to be digested by the body. Liver stores the sugar for the body but there is a limit to how much sugar it can store. So sugar when consumed in excess is delivered back to the blood by the liver resulting in fatty acids and fat deposits in body thus giving you a belly or butt fat. On the other hand honey, a natural food is packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Unlike sugar, it does not require any nutrients from the body to get digested or consumed by the body as being natural it does not require much processing. All of them together work to regulate the proper functioning of the body thereby keeping your fat levels and cholesterol levels under control.
Honey acts as a fuel to make liver produce glucose. This glucose raises the brain sugar levels and forces the brain to produce fat burning hormones. Thus honey triggers the burning of fats in the body and attacks all the fat deposits in the body. These fat deposits begin to melt away and disappear. Thus honey helps get the body rid of its excess fat and regular consumption of it can help prevent the buildup of fat in the body. We all know the numerous dangers of obesity. Obesity or excess fat deposits in the body can lead to high blood pressure or hypertension, stroke, vascular dementia, kidney failure, kidney scarring, transient ischemic attack, heart failure, coronary artery disease, enlarged left heart, type 2 diabetes, cancer, sleep apnea, Fatty liver disease, osteoarthritis, gall stones, GERD ( Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), Gout, Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome and many more health risks. So in a way honey can save us from all these health complications by keeping our fat deposits in check. It has a healthier Glycemic Index (GI) than refined sugar and is smoothly ab- sorbed by the body. Glycemic Index is a system of classifying carbohydrate based foods depending on how much blood sugar they raise after being consumed. A variety of health problems such as diabetes, insulin resistance, heart disease and obesity can be prevented by eating foods according to their Glycemic Index. The lower the GI of a food the better and safer it is for your health, because it means it has a tendency to release sugar slowly in your body and does not cause any un- wanted spikes in sugar levels (and consequently insulin which is needed to handle this sugar)which are rather difficult to handle for the body. Lesser insulin in the body can delay or prevent the occurrence of diabetes, heart disease and help control hunger thus helping in weight control. Thus honey gives us all these advantages by having a lower GI than sugar.
Honey as an Immunity Booster
Health is your asset. You take care of yourselves so that you look good and feel comfortable. Looking good would not matter to you if you feel lethargic at the same time. So your health is your wealth. In this digital age, most of our work involves sitting at one place in front of a computer screen or only limited physical movement in most of the cases. We work, eat, go home, eat, watch TV and sleep. Thus we have developed a very sedentary life style, where we have time enough only for every other activity but exercise. Also we tend to neglect the diet we have. We are too busy to cook our own healthy food and have increased our dependence on highly processed foods which are devastating for health and have little or no nutritional value. Since our body is ultimately made of the food we eat, if we feed it regularly with junk it will become junk itself Human body is designed in such a way that it remains fit only if we provide it with regular exercise and eat good nutritious food. But as we neglect both these fronts, the result is a weaker immune system making us susceptible to more and more diseases. So we need to develop some natural strength in our immune system and this can come only through something natural.
Raw honey is known to have lots of phytonutrients that stimulate the antibody production thereby strengthening your immune system to a great extent. It is these antibodies that fight away all the harmful disease causing microorganisms. It is like an army developed by the body to prevent all foreign attacks. Antibodies (also called immunoglobulins) are specialized proteins that travel through the blood stream and are found in body fluids. These antibodies are used by the immune system to identify and prevent against foreign intruders or antigens like bacteria, virus- es, pollens etc. Antibodies recognize or identify these disease causing foreign intruders through a specific area on the surface of the antigen known as antibody determinant. Once recognized the antibody binds itself to the body of the antigen and thus it is marked for destruction by other immune cells. These antibodies do their job even before these antigens can enter or harm cells. Eating honey daily ensures that you have enough antibodies protecting you from a variety of diseases due to the antibody production stimulating powers of honey. Its antioxidant, antibacterial and antiseptic properties help you in fighting infection and thus aid you in building up your immunity. It prevents you from having cold and cough. There are vitamins and minerals present in honey which strength- en your body’s power to fight diseases. Honey is rich in vitamin C which is an excellent immunity booster. Abundant antioxidants in honey have a direct association with improved health and lower risk of disease. So have a spoon of honey be- fore breakfast regularly and see what wonders does it bring. It will definitely save you from having a great variety of medicines.
Honey Provides Stamina: Wonder Food for Athletes
Honey is one of the richest sources of instant energy and increases the physical stamina since it is easily absorbed into the blood. Natural sugars in honey are al- ready in a pre digested form and therefore easily ingested by the human body. Sugar fructose in honey is easily absorbed by the body and thus it becomes a wonder food for the athletes. Carbohydrates in honey act as a fuel to the body and therefore it is the best food after a vigorous workout. One tablespoon of honey contains 60 Calories and about 17 gms of carbohydrates of which about 16gms come from sugar. Honey contains no fats or proteins and the rest is Vitamins and minerals. Consuming carbohydrates before and during an exercise can help improve performance. So athletes after an intense workout can immediately enhance their performance by having this magical food. One teaspoon is enough to sustain the stamina. Glucose in honey gives you instant energy whereas fructose helps you maintain the energy level as it is absorbed at a slower rate than glucose. You can prevent fatigue and muscle exhaustion while you are into an athletic activity. Having and maintaining a consistent blood sugar level is a must for all the athletes and honey is the safest source. No other energy drink or energy gel can be as safe as natural honey because honey has a lower Glycemic Index than sugar. Lower the Glycemic Index of any food better it is. Low GI (Glycemic Index) means slow absorption process and better digestion. Diets having low GI have better insulin responses and better cholesterol levels. Honey has gentler effects on sugar levels of the body and is sweeter than sucrose, so fewer grams of honey (as compared to sugar) can be consumed to have same sweetness. This also means fewer calories eaten for the same amount of sweetness. Thus honey is found to be safest carbohydrate source to replenish your muscles after a strenuous workout. According to a research conducted on a group of athletes, those who were given honey, they were found to be faster in time trials than those given placebos. Thus the effectiveness of honey as a stamina enhancing food was proved. Honey acts as a perfect carbohydrate for the job which provides instant energy through glucose part of the honey and continuous supply of energy through the fructose part.
Honey Prevents Insomnia Good sleep is a must for a healthy body. Lack of sleep can result in serious health problems like obesity, mood swings, lack of focus, stress and much more. Irrespective of what your age is, you would never want to deal with a problem like insomnia. It has severe negative impacts on your body. Foods rich in tryptophan nutrient induce sleep. Honey is one of these super foods that aid your recovery from insomnia. It has sleep inducing properties. So you can mix honey in a cup of milk or tea before going to bed and have a good quality sleep. How does it work? (a) Taking honey at night causes a small increase in sugar level. This mod- erate rise in insulin level causes tryptophan to enter the brain. This tryptophan further gets converted to serotonin, a hormone that provides relaxation to your body. At night when it is dark this serotonin turns into melatonin which is a widely known cure for insomnia. (b) Our body stores glycogen in the liver for the brain. This glycogen is a readily available energy source for the brain. At night our liver may run out of glycogen. Then our brain releases stress hormones. So here honey acts as an adequate storage for glycogen and therefore prevents the release of stress hormones. Honey actually has both glucose and fructose. While the glucose part is readily used by the body for instant energy, the sucrose part is stored in the liver as glycogen as a reserve source of energy. This resource is consumed after the body has run out of the sugar in the blood. Some people avoid taking honey at night thinking that they may gain weight. Honey taken in moderate quantity will serve you to have better sleep without making you gain weight. Taking a teaspoon of honey before bedtime is an easy solution to deal with sleeping disorders. So it is well worth taking a spoon of honey and enjoying a sound sleep.
Honey Prevents Insomnia
Good sleep is a must for a healthy body. Lack of sleep can result in serious health problems like obesity, mood swings, lack of focus, stress and much more. Irrespective of what your age is, you would never want to deal with a problem like insomnia. It has severe negative impacts on your body.
Foods rich in tryptophan nutrient induce sleep. Honey is one of these super foods that aid your recovery from insomnia. It has sleep inducing properties. So you can mix honey in a cup of milk or tea before going to bed and have a good quality sleep.
How does it work?
(a) Taking honey at night causes a small increase in sugar level. This moderate rise in insulin level causes tryptophan to enter the brain. This tryptophan further gets converted to serotonin, a hormone that provides relaxation to your body. At night when it is dark this serotonin turns into melatonin which is a widely known cure for insomnia.
(b) Our body stores glycogen in the liver for the brain. This glycogen is a readily available energy source for the brain. At night our liver may run out of glycogen. Then our brain releases stress hormones. So here honey acts as an adequate storage for glycogen and therefore prevents the release of stress
hormones. Honey actually has both glucose and fructose. While the glucose part is readily used by the body for instant energy, the sucrose part is stored in the liver as glycogen as a reserve source of energy. This resource is consumed after the body has run out of the sugar in the blood.
Some people avoid taking honey at night thinking that they may gain weight. Honey taken in moderate quantity will serve you to have better sleep without making you gain weight. Taking a teaspoon of honey before bedtime is an easy solution to deal with sleeping disorders. So it is well worth taking a spoon of honey and enjoying a sound sleep.
Honey for a Healthy Glowing Problem Free Skin
Who doesn’t want to look young and attractive? Everybody wishes to have a healthy skin. Honey is a natural cleanser and you must wash your face with honey at least twice a week to have a glowing skin. It is considered to be one of the best moisturizers that nature has ever produced, as it full of anti oxidants it will delay your ageing process and give you a wrinkle free skin for a prolonged period of your life. Using honey for skin will give a radiant and blemish free skin. It is also known to reduce scars. Anti bacterial properties of raw honey helps you in having a pimple free skin because acne is caused mainly by oil and dust. Honey does not permit bacteria to penetrate your skin and give you pimples. So enjoy pimple free skin with honey, a natural bliss. The most overworked part of our body is our feet and unfortunately the most neglected too. Make a relaxing foot soak for yourself using honey and smoothen your feet. Take an empty bucket. Pour equal quantities(say 1/2 cup each ) of honey and milk in it. Dip your feet in it for about fifteen minutes. You may add lemon for whitening effect. It will be a nourishing treat for your feet. Honey can also be a nice treat for our hair. Our hair are constantly exposed to dust and dirt and therefore must be regularly taken care of. Add two teaspoons of honey to two cups of warm milk. Apply the above mixture to your hair and let it stay for fifteen minutes. The antimicrobial properties of honey will tend to smoothen and nourish your hair. Honey can also be used as an alternative to chemical and expensive body wax.
There are many recipes for your skin that you can try with honey.
1.You can mix it with tomatoes and make a paste and apply on your skin.
2.Honey also goes well with milk. Make a thick paste with either milk or curd and put it on your face before going to bed.
3.Mixing rose water with honey and applying it for fifteen minutes will also do wonders.
4.Making a paste of honey blended with olive oil and lemon also becomes a natural skin brightener which soothes and softens your dry skin in winters.
5.Taking two parts of honey and one part of baking soda becomes an excellent full body scrub.
6.Make a combination of one tbsp of buttermilk, 1 tbsp honey and 1 egg yolk. Apply to your skin for 15-20 minutes. Wash your face with lukewarm water.
7.You can also mix honey with some oil and use it for removing your makeup.
8.Another way is to blend ground almonds with honey in equal proportions to form a paste. The mixture so formed will give you a wonderful body scrub.
9.Lemon is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. 1 tbsp of honey when mixed with one half of the lemon and then applied on face will give you a fantastic facial treatment.
10.Blending one peeled apple with one tsp of honey and applying on the skin for 15 minutes will give a silky and luscious skin.
11.The best and the easiest recipes with honey is by adding one fourth cup of honey to your hot water bath. Try it in winters and get yourself rid of dry skin.
12.If you have dry and cracked lips use honey as a lip balm.
13.Oats and almonds are perfect softening exfoliants. So blend 1 tbsp of hon- ey,1 tbsp of crushed almonds and 2tbsp of dry oatmeal. Massage gently the above mixture on your face and feel the difference in your skin.
14.Make a honey face mask. Mix together honey with gram flour, rose oil, sandalwood and milk cream and fulfill your desire of having a flawless skin by applying it at least once a week.
15.Want to get rid of tanning due to sun exposure? Here honey comes to your rescue. Mix honey, lemon juice, milk powder and almond oil in equal pro- portions and apply it on your face for about 20 minutes. Now see the re- sults that follow.
16.You can also get rid of unwanted facial hair by mixing 1 tbsp of honey, 1 tbsp of sugar and little lemon juice. Apply this mixture on the area from where you want to pluck hair and use a strip to pull them off. So these are few easy ways to soften your skin and make it glow. Anti inflammatory properties of honey make it best for anti ageing. It eliminates the free radicals from our system. So make the best use honey and have a flawless and a glowing skin.
You can also get rid of unwanted facial hair by mixing 1 tbsp of honey, 1 tbsp of sugar and little lemon juice. Apply this mixture on the area from where you want to pluck hair and use a strip to pull them off.
So these are few easy ways to soften your skin and make it glow. Anti inflammatory properties of honey make it best for anti ageing. It eliminates the free radicals from our system. So make the best use honey and have a flawless and a glowing skin.