Honey: Definition, Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects, Properties and More

Honey

According to Mayo Clinic honey is rich in nutrients and antioxidants, has antibacterial properties, and can play a role in diabetes management as part of a balanced diet. It is a syrupy liquid that honeybees make from plant nectar. It is a common ingredient in many foods and is available in many forms. The product also has several potential health benefits and plays a role in many home remedies and alternative medicine treatments.

What is Honey?

Honey is a natural sweet liquid produced by bees using nectar from flowers. It has been reserved for its potential health benefits by people worldwide for thousands of years. Honey is available raw or pasteurized and comes in various color grades. On average, it contains approximately 80% sugar. Since honey is collected directly from hives, it may also contain small amounts of yeast, wax, and pollen. Several studies suggest that consuming honey may alleviate seasonal allergies, while others indicate its potential to aid wound healing.

What are the Health Benefits of Honey?

Here are some unique health benefits of honey. Such as:

Contains a Variety of Nutrients:

  • 1 tablespoon, or 20 grams of honey contains:
  • Calories: 61
  • Fat: 0g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Carbs: 17g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Riboflavin: 1% of the daily value (DV)
  • Copper: 1% DV

It is essentially pure sugar with no fat and only trace amounts of protein and fiber. It contains small amounts of some nutrients but most people typically don’t consume enough for it to be a significant dietary source of vitamins and minerals. Still, it’s worth nothing that it is rich in health-promoting plant compounds known as polyphenols.

Rich in Antioxidants:

Minimally processed it contains many important bioactive plant compounds and antioxidants such as flavonoids and phenolic acids. Darker varieties tend to offer more antioxidants than lighter varieties. Antioxidants help neutralize reactive oxygen species (ROS) in your body which can build up in cells and cause damage. This damage can contribute to conditions like premature aging, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. As such many of its health benefits are attributed to its antioxidants content.

Better for Blood Sugar Levels than Regular Sugar:

Regarding blood sugar management it may offer some slight benefits over regular sugar. Although it raises your blood sugar level just like other types of sugar do, the antioxidants it contains may help protect against metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Researchers have found that it may increase adiponectin levels, a hormone that reduces inflammation and improves blood sugar regulation. There’s also evidence that daily honey intake may improve fasting blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. However, while it may be slightly better than refined sugar for people with diabetes, people should consume it in moderation. It’s also important to know that some procedures dilute honey with plain syrup. Although honey adulteration is illegal in most countries it remains a widespread problem.

May Improve Heart Health:

It may also help prevent heart disease. According to one review it may help lower blood pressure, improve blood fat levels, regulate your heartbeat and prevent death of healthy cells, all factors that can improve your heart function and health. One observational study including over 4500 people over 40 associated a moderate honey intake with a lower risk of high blood pressure among women. A rodent study also showed that honey helped protect the heart from oxidative stress. Additionally raw honey typically contains propolis, a resin that bees produce from sap producing trees and similar plants. Propolis may improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels. All told there’s no long-term human study available on it and heart health. More research is needed to understand its effects on heart health better.

Promote Burn and Wound Healing:

There is a historical precedent for the use of topical treatment for wound and burn healing. The practice is still common today. A review of 26 studies on it and wound care found it most effective at healing partial-thickness burns and wounds that have become infected after surgery. Manuka honey specifically may have positive applications in burn treatments. However, if you have a severe burn home remedies are not a viable substitute for emergency care, and you should seek medical attention immediately. Researchers theorize that its healing power comes from its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.

May Help Suppress Coughing in Children:

Coughing is a common problem for children with upper respiratory infections. These infections can affect sleep and quality of life for children and patterns. One review of several studies on it and cough in children found that honey appears more effective than diphenhydramine for cough symptoms. It may also help reduce cough duration. Another review noted that it may also improve sleep quality among children with coughs as well as their parents. Further, unlike some cough medicines, honey doesn’t have any side effects. However, never give honey to children under 1 year of age due to the risk of botulism.

Easy to Add to Your Diet:

It is often easy to add to your diet. To get a small boost of antioxidants from it you can use it any way you’d typically use sugar. It’s excellent for sweetening plain yogurt, coffee, or tea. You can also use it in cooking and baking. However, remember that it is a type of sugar so consuming it will cause your blood sugar levels to rise. Eating large quantities of honey especially consistently over a long period can contribute to weight gain and increase your risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes or heart disease.

What is the History of Honey?

It has been a mainstay in medicinal practices throughout the world for countries. Practitioners of traditional Ayurvedic medicine for example found honey to be effective in treating wounds and various imbalances in the body.

Is Honey Sustainable?

The production of it can have a negative environmental effect. Studies show that beekeeping can introduce large populations of honeybees into areas where they are not indigenous and this can suppress pollination by native bee species. Further research highlights negative subsequent effects on the entire ecosystem including plant life. Industrial beekeeping practices may also contribute to colony breakdowns and an overall decline in bee populations according to a 2020 review. Another study published the same year emphasized that increasing the overall bee population is critical for sustainable development. The western honeybee is not native to the United States; it arrived with colonists in the 17th century. Honeybees can pose a threat to the roughly 4000 native species of bee in the country. For this reason honeybees are not introduced in many conservation areas.

What are the Properties of Honey?

One tablespoon of it contains 64 calories 17.2 grams of sugar and no fiber, fat, or protein. Honey has a slightly acidic average pH level of 3.9 and research indicates that this acidity may help prevent the growth of bacteria. It is worth nothing that the exact physical properties of honey depend on the flora used to make it. When stored in an airtight container it has no expiration date.

Diet:

Its sweetness can make it an ideal substitute for sugar and research indicated that using it instead of adding sugar may benefit people with diabetes. It is crucial to note that honey qualifies as an added sugar and provides excess calories with no nutritional benefit. Having a diet high in added sugars can lead to increased body weight, which carries risks of high blood pressure and diabetes.

Risk:

It is a form of sugar so a person’s intake should be moderate. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that women get no more than 100 calories a day from added sugars and men no more 150 calories a day from this source. This amounts to about 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men. Another risk is botulism. According to research the bacteria that causes this serious illness can contaminate honey, and approximately 20% of infant botulism cases in the U.S. stem from raw honey.

What to Know About Raw Honey?

It provides a range of health benefits. Raw honey which comes straight from the beehive contains healthful bee pollen, bee propolis, and plenty of antioxidants. Research has not confirmed that raw honey has more health benefits than regular honey, but some people believe that processing and pasteurization that regular honey undergoes diminishes many of the beneficial elements. Some people believe that because of this raw honey provides more health benefits than regular honey. So now we talk about the difference between raw honey and regular honey.

What is Raw Honey?

It is a sweet golden liquid made by honeybees. Honey Bees store it in small hexagonal cups, called a honeycomb. Raw honey comes straight from the honeycomb. It from the hive contains bee pollen, beeswax, and parts of dead bees. Its manufacturers will usually pass raw honey through a filter to remove as many impurities as possible but some generally remain. It is still safe to eat. Unlike raw honey, regular honey undergoes a pasteurization process. This means manufacturers have heated it to kill yeast cells that can affect its taste, increase its shell-life and make it look more transparent and attractive. However, pasteurization may adversely affect the number of nutrients in the honey. Some historical evidence estimates that humans have used honey for over 8000 years during ancient times, people would have used raw honey but today most people use pasteurized honey. It naturally offers the following healthful properties:

  • Antibacterial action
  • Wound healing effects
  • Dietary antioxidants
  • Anti-inflammatory effects

It also contains bee pollen and bee propolis, which is a sticky, glue-like substance bees use to hold their hive together. Regular honey may not contain the same levels of bee propolis and bee pollen as raw honey. A 2017 review on honey and a 2015 review on bee pollen report that bee propolis and bee pollen can offer anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, antibacterial, and anticancer properties. The following sections explore seven evidence-based health benefits of it. The benefits of raw honey such as:

  • Antioxidant effects
  • Nutrition
  • Antibacterial action
  • Wound healing
  • Relieving coughs
  • Treating diarrhea
  • Protecting the brain

Honey for Skin How to Use and Side Effects:

It may have some benefits for the skin. These include wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties. People with allergies should also be aware of the potential risks. Many products available over the counter such as lip ointments, after sun creams, and lotions, contain varying amounts of it. An increasing amount of evidence supports the use of it as a remedy for many skin conditions. Keep reading to learn more about the research on the benefits of it as well as how to use it and the potential side effects. The use of it in skin care is not a new concept. However, researchers have recently started to verify some of the anecdotal evidence about the benefits of applying it to the skin. These benefits may include the following:

  • Microbial properties and wound healing
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Anti-aging effects
  • Treatment of skin cancer

What are the Uses of Raw Honey?

It has several potential uses on the skin, including:

  • Part of daily washing of the face
  • Help with eczema
  • Moisturizing effects
  • Help with healing small cuts or abrasions
  • Help skin look more youthful
  • A person should talk to their doctors for the treatment of skin conditions.

What are the Risks and Side Effects of Raw Honey?

People allergic to it should not use it on their skin. People with allergies to pollen or bees should also avoid applying it topically. For people without known allergies it is still important to test a small part of the skin before applying it to larger areas of the body. A person should make sure to remove any honey-based products from their skin before going to bed. If it remains on the skin it can create a mess or get dirty. Honey containing dirt could cause skin conditions to worsen.

Honey for Skin: How to Use and Side Effects of Honey?

Honey offers potential benefits for the skin, including wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties. However, individuals with allergies should be cautious about its use. Many over the counter products such as lip ointments, after sun creams, and lotions, contain varying concentrations of it. A growing body of research supports the use of it as a remedy for various skin conditions. To learn more about the research on its benefits, as well as its application and potential side effects, continue reading. 

What are the Health Benefits of Honey in Skin Care? 

The utilization of it in skincare is not a novel concept. However, researchers have recently begun to substantiate some of the anecdotal evidence regarding the advantages of applying it to the skin. These benefits may include: 

  • Microbial properties and wound healing 
  • Anti-inflammatory properties 
  • Anti-aging effects 
  • Treatment of skin cancer 

What is the Use of Honey in Skin Care?

It offers several potential uses for the skin, including:

  • Part of the daily washing of the face 
  • Help with eczema 
  • Moisturizing effects 
  • Help with healing small cuts or abrasions 
  • Help skin look more youthful 

However, it’s essential for individuals to consult their doctor using it for the treatment of skin conditions. While it has demonstrated various skincare benefits, individual responses may vary, and it’s crucial to ensure compatibility and safety, especially for those with specific medical conditions or allergies. 

How to Use Honey in Skin Care?

Before using honey on your skin, it’s smart to do a test first. Just a little honey on a small patch of skin and wait 20 minutes. If your skin gets red or irritated, honey might not be the best option for you. When using it on your skin you have a couple of options. You can mix it with other stuff to make a cream or ointment, or you can put it straight onto the area you want to treat. First, clean your skin with soap and water. Then, put the honey on your face or wherever you want to use it. Leave it there for a few minutes before washing it off. Some folks say raw honey is the best for your skin, and some small studies back that up. Raw honey has bee pollen and propolis in it. According to a review from 2015, bee pollen can help with pain, inflammation, and fighting bacteria. Another review from 2017 found that propolis might even help fight cancer and fungus. When it gets pasteurized, it loses the pollen and propolis, and some of its antioxidants might go with them. Plus, processed it might have extra stuff in it, like added sugar or syrup. 

What are the Risks and Side Effects of Honey in Skin Care?

If someone has an allergy to it, they shouldn’t use it on their skin. And if they’re allergic to pollen or bees, it’s best to steer clear of it too. Even if you don’t know of any allergies, it’s a good idea to test a tiny bit of honey on your skin before applying it all over. After using it, remember to wash it off before bed. Leaving honey on your skin overnight can lead to a sticky mess, and if it picks up dirt, it might make skin issues worse. 

FAQs:

What are the real benefits of honey?

In addition to its use as a natural sweetener, honey is used as an anti-inflammatory antioxidant and antibacterial agent. People commonly use it orally to treat coughs and topically to treat burns and promote wound healing.

What happens if we eat honey daily?

Health benefits of eating a spoonful of it everyday include diabetes management, cancer management, better heart health, and other benefits. Honey is a brown sticky sugar saturated solution made by bees. Honey bees or forage bees collect nectar from flowers and add some enzymes to the nectar.

Is honey good for a man?

Due to its phenol content it can improve testosterone levels which can boost libido improve sexual arousal and increase sperm production. It can have a vasodilatory effect which means that it widens the blood vessels and helps to improve blood flow. This is a good way to treat erectile dysfunction.

Does honey affect sperm?

It is a source of glucose , fructose, minerals and vitamins that stimulates sperm motility. Glucose and fructose are considered to be a fuel source of sperm motility.

How much honey is allowed per day?

The American Heart Association recommends that men consume no more than nine tea spoons (36 grams) per day, women and children no more than six teaspoons (24 grams) daily. A teaspoon of it contains almost six grams of sugars. Still research has shown other potential benefits to it.

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