Honey contains hidden nutritional and medicinal values. Raw, unprocessed types are nutritious, antimicrobial, and good for the skin & hair. The Bible itself suggests eating honey. But what does the science say? Read this post to learn the health benefits of honey and its effects on blood sugar levels. What is Honey?
Honey is a sweet food made by bees taking nectar from flowers. There are different types of honey, but the most common kind comes from the genus Apis, known as honeybees. Honeybees convert the nectar to honey by a regurgitation process and evaporation.
As you can imagine, depending on the available plants, the taste, constituents, and benefits of honey are different [ 1 ].
Depending on the type, honey can be a pain reliever, antibacterial, or pure sugar (like artificial honey). Snapshot
Good for the skin & hair
Provides energy and nutrients
May relieve cough and allergies
May balance cholesterol levels
Supports wound healing
Lacks solid clinical research
Excess consumption might cause stomach upset
High in sugar
Loses nutrients when heated or commercially processed
Conflicting effects on blood sugar
Raw vs. Heated Honey
Raw honey retains more of its beneficial bioactive compounds . It is especially rich in flavonoids and other polyphenol antioxidants that can reduce inflammation, protect the brain, fight viruses and bacteria, and boost cognition [ 2 , 3 ].
The concentration of honey is also very important. The bacteria-fighting potency among the different kinds of honey can vary up to 100-fold, depending on its geographical, seasonal and plant source as well as harvesting, processing and storage conditions [ 2 ].
Manuka honey has been widely researched and it’s renowned worldwide for its antibacterial effects. Mountain, tualang, Capilano, and eco-honeys also have high bacteria-fighting potency [ 2 ].
However, commercially available honey is often heat-processed. Higher temperatures can reduce the quality of honey and cause it to lose many beneficial enzymes, nutrients, and antioxidants . Heating honey together with ghee doesn’t reduce the concentration of beneficial substances but can cause harmful products to build up [ 4 ].
For this reason, you may want to find high-quality, natural, raw honey. Health Benefits of Honey
1) Fights Microbes
In rats, infected skin wounds treated daily with honey for 7 days had a better outcome than saltwater treatments.
After 7 days, the bacteria culture showed that honey was effective in the management of infected skin wounds by significantly inhibiting bacterial growth and having a positive influence on wound repair [ 5 ].
When the concentrations of honey were increased, the antibacterial effects against Staph bacteria and E.Coli were enhanced [ 6 ].Various kinds of honey show antimicrobial effects against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria as well as multidrug-resistant strains [ 7 ].Melaleuca honey is capable of inhibiting MRSA [ 8 ].A literature review found that honey is a great antimicrobial because of its high viscosity that provides a barrier to prevent infections. The antimicrobial property comes from the enzymatic production of hydrogen peroxide [ 9 ]. Fungal Infections In 70 women with vaginal candidiasis, honey + yogurt were similar to clotrimazole cream and even better at relieving some symptoms [ 10 ].Substituting sugars with honey in processed food can inhibit the harmful and genotoxic effects of mycotoxins, and improve the gut microflora. Honey increased colon Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli count the mice [ 11 ]. 2) Supplies Vitamins, Minerals, and Enzymes A pilot study was performed in 10 healthy people consuming multi-floral honey daily for two weeks (1.2 g/kg BW). Honey consumption increased blood antioxidants, Vitamin C , beta-carotene ( Vitamin A ), glutathione reductase, iron , white blood cells , zinc , magnesium , hemoglobin , and copper .On the other hand, honey decreased blood ferritin , IgE, aspartate aminotransferase , alanine aminotransferase , lactic acid dehydrogenase, creatine kinase, and fasting blood sugar [ 12 ]. 3) Improves Wound Healing In a review of 6 clinical trials, honey was more effective as a wound dressing than silver as measured by the number of days the wound needed to heal [ 13 ].In patients with diabetic foot ulcers, honey was able to reduce the rate of amputation.172 patients with non-healing diabetic foot ulcers received a thick layer of honey on their wound. Wounds became healthy within 7-35 days. Of those 172 patients, only 3 had to get their big toe amputated and 2 had below the knee amputations. This study concluded that honey greatly decreased the rate of amputations [ 14 ].In patients with diabetic foot ulcers, a regular saline dressing was compared to the effect of Beri-honey-impregnated dressings. 136/179 wounds were completely healed with honey compared to 97/169 that healed with saline dressings. The mean healing time for honey was 18 days compared to the 29 days for the saline dressings [ 15 ].Skin grafts are used to cover burn injuries and honey has been shown to increase the adherence of skin grafts to wound beds. In a clinical trial, 30 patients used honey as their graft and 30 used a regular dressing or suturing.The patients treated with honey reported a significantly reduced infection rate on day 5 and had reduced pain. They also had a shorter mean hospital stay. This study concluded that medical honey can be used for the fixation of a split-thickness skin graft [ 16 ].In rats, honey (combined with milk and aloe vera ) induced cell proliferation which increased the wound closure rate, blood vessel count and the collagen fiber density [ 17 ].However, in 19 trials it was found that for burns, compression bands alone were just as effective as honey [ 18 ]. 4) Nourishes the Skin and Hair According to a clinical review, honey can be used in rejuvenating the skin as well as slowing down the formation of wrinkles. It also helps make hair smooth and regulates the pH while preventing pathogen infections [ 19 ].Another article suggested using honey as a face wash and facial cleansing scrub for pimples and dry skin [ 20 ].A […]