The health benefits of honey

The health benefits of honey
The health benefits of honey

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Honey has been a part of the human diet even before the first accounts mentioning its use were written in early Sumerian cuneiform writings. In Babylon and Egypt, honey was used as a cure for a variety of ailments.  Honey’s popularity as both a culinary delicacy and cure has continued throughout millennia, right up to the present time, when its health benefits are being more widely recognized by the scientific community. Keep in mind that you’ll reap the most benefits from raw honey that is produced locally, as pasteurized honey loses many of its beneficial enzymes and does not contain local pollen.

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Allergies

The idea behind conventional allergy treatment is that exposure to small amounts of an allergen will help the body learn not to overreact when it is exposed to that substance. If you are allergic to tree and weed pollen in your area, honey can help to resolve your allergy symptoms in much the same manner. There is one caveat, however. Honey will not help to resolve allergies that are caused primarily by windborne pollens from plants that do not require pollination from bees.

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Blood Sugar

If you have a sweet tooth, satisfy your cravings with honey. Honey is perceived as sweeter than the same amount of sugar, which leads people to consume a smaller amount of sweetener. Also, honey does not impact blood sugar in the same manner as fructose, found study published in the “Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.” It causes fewer spikes in blood sugar, lessening the blood sugar “roller coaster ride” that many people experience after eating sweets.

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Cholesterol and Heart Disease

It’s wise to eat a variety of cholesterol-lowering foods to help keep cholesterol at healthy levels. However, whole grains and vegetables aren’t the only options for lowering cholesterol. Honey has been found to lower cholesterol as much as 7 percent in clinical studies. It also reduced levels of chemicals in the body that are markers for heart disease – evidence that strongly points to honey consumption being cardioprotective.

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Wound Care

Honey has antibacterial properties, which means that it can be used as a salve on burns and other wounds. The antioxidant and drying properties of honey contribute to its healing effect. Studies that have examined the use of honey in wound treatment have found the application of honey resulted in significantly fewer infections when compared to traditional wound treatments.

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Coughs

Two teaspoons of honey is just as effective as cough syrup when treating coughs in children, according to Mayo Clinic internist James Steckelberg, M.D. Many adults already use this remedy, often combining honey with lemon juice and hot water, which makes a soothing, antibacterial drink. Never give honey to children under one year old, however, as there is a slight risk of infant botulism.

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When adding honey to your diet, do so in moderation, as honey is high in calories and sugars. Try adding a spoonful to a cup of tea or yogurt, or use it to sweeten hot cereal. You can bake with honey, but be aware that heat destroys its healthy enzymes. Honey will be the most effective when added to a balanced diet comprised of plenty of vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

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