Honey is a food substance that is produced by bees from nectar plants. Honey has been known for its medicinal properties throughout history and it offers a lot of tremendous health benefits. It is useful in cooking, skincare, baking, replacement of refined sugar and treatment of many Health conditions. In today’s article we will be discussing the various the nutritional and medicinal properties of honey and their health benefits.
The colour and flavour of honey varies and depends on the plants where bees collect nectar. Honey is highly nutritious and it contains essential amount of calories, carbohydrates (glucose,fructose , maltose and sucrose), vitamins, folic acid, potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium zinc and water. It is also rich in antioxidants such as phenolic acids and flavonoids and this antioxidant properties are effective in preventing chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Health benefits of honey
The following are the health benefits that honey provides:
Remedies to gastroenteritis
Gastroenteritis is the inflammation of the digestive tract that is characterized by abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. They are usually caused by microbial infections from bacteria and viruses. Honey is well loaded with antimicrobial properties that treat gastrointestinal disorder. A study carried out in southwestern Nigeria to determine the antimicrobial effect of natural honey on diarrhoea causing bacteria showed that natural honey possesses effective inhibitory effect on the growth of Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterocolitis and Shigella dysenteriae. This research futher suggested that in the absence of amoxicillin, chlorophenol and tetracycline honey can be used to treat diarrhoea caused by bacterial infections.
Honey fights Infections
Infections and diseases are caused as a result of the body’s invasion by microbial pathogens such as bacteria, fungi and viruses. Honey contains antimicrobial agents that fight against many infectious pathogens. A study using the extract of three medicinal plants “neem bark, tursi leaf and tumeric” and honey to determine the antibiotics accessibility of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus(MRSA) revealed that the test organism presents strong susceptibility to honey compared to other plant extract used for the study. Honey possess powerful inhibitory effects on microbes and it is effective in killing drug resistant microorganisms that is linked to chronic rhinosinosis.
Another study to investigate the invitro antifungal activity of honey showed that honey have powerful inhibitory effects with increasing concentrations on Penicillin chrysogenum, Microsporum gyspseum and Candida albicans. This fungi causes various infections in the body and honey can be used as an alternative therapy in the absence of antifungal medications.
It may regulate blood pressure
The antioxidant contents in honey can help lower the risk of many cardiovascular disease and enhance the regulation of blood pressure. A study showed that short term consumption of honey have the ability to reduce systolic blood pressure in healthy males and may also lower the risk of high blood pressure in men.
Honey can be used to replace refined sugar in diets
Honey is more safe and beneficial than refined sugar when used as sweetener and added to diets. Refined sugar contains high amount of calories and less nutrients which may increase your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. A study revealed that honey have a lot of positive nutritional benefits and it contains carbohydrates(mainly fructose and glucose), amino acids, minerals, vitamins, enzymes, aromatic compounds and polyphenols. Adding honeys to your diets as sweetners provides more nutrients and health benefits than refined sugar.
Promotion of mental health
Honey contains polyphenols that protect mental health. In a study to evaluate the neurological effect of honey revealed that raw honey exhibit anxiolytic, antinociceptive, anticonvulgant and antidepressant properties and these improves the oxidative status of the brain. These properties are due to the polyphenolic contents of honey which ensures the overall health of the brain.
Honey may prevent cancer
Cancer is a disease that is caused by the abnormal growth of cells which can spread to other tissues and organs in the body. Studies have shown that honey may prevent cancer due to its apoptotic, antiproliferative, anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF), antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, estrogenic, and immunology properties.
It promotes wounds healing
Honey have been used for many years for wounds healing. According to a study published in Jundishapur Jornal of Natural Pharmaceutical Products in 2013, honey is well loaded with anti-inflammatory, antioxidants and antibacterial properties. These constituents makes it ideal for wound dressings as they boost healing of wounds. This study futher revealed that the use of honey reduces pains and inflammations in burnt patient and it also improves wound healing in severe cases. Therefore the use of honey can be very helpful in speeding up the healing of wounds.
Remedies to cough in children
Honey helps to clear the throat and airways from mucus, microorganisms, irritant and other foreign particles. When a cough becomes persistent for weeksy it may become worrisome and uncomfortable. Honey is one of the best natural remedies to cough. According to a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (New York) in 2010 revealed that recommending a 2.5 ml dose of honey to children between the age of 2-5 with cough caused by upper respiratory infections (URIs) have more alleviating effect compared with doses of dextromethorphan and diphenhydramine (DPH).
Treatment of insomnia
Insomia is the problems of maintaining a good sleep. Honey contains adequate amount of tryptophan which is an amino acid that stimulate the production of melatonin and serotonin in the body which at the end promotes good sleep. Add a teaspoon of honey to hot milk to achieve a good sleep.
Honey elevates the efficiency of the immune system
Honey contains antioxidants that protects cells, fights infections and strengthens immune system. The immune system protects you against foreign pathogenic microorganisms and other parasites such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoans. A weak immune system increases the susceptibility of the body to different infections and foreign Invaders while a strong immune system is needed to maintain a good health. There are many factors that can contribute to the efficiency of your immune system and nutrition is highly included. A study analysing the therapeutic properties of honey and contribution to human health revealed that honey is composed of different pounds compounds that provides a lot of health benefits. Honey’s therapeutic effect is linked to its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties as well as boosting of immune system.