If you eat honey every day, you’ll soon realize its true benefits, which humans have been reaping from the hard work of bees for millennia. Its delicious nectar is found on every continent except Antartica.
According to a 2017 study, “honey is used not only as a nutritional product but also in health described in traditional medicine and as an alternative treatment for clinical conditions ranging from wound healing to cancer treatment.” The study goes on to elaborate that “evidence from Stone Age paintings shows treatment of disease with bee product such as honey originated from 8000 years ago.”
In modern times, people can use honey as sweetener for an afternoon tea or as an ingredient in sticky face masks and shine-producing hair masks. The cheap and delicious substance is safe to be consumed on a daily basis and, in fact, has been proven to have great benefits to our health when we ingest it. Let’s take a look at all the ways honey helps us humans when we eat it every day. Just remember to consume honey in moderation.
1…If you eat honey every day, your skin might clear up
Used as a beauty secret by people the world over, honey has some serious healing properties. It is very effective in the effort to clean, protect, and heal wounds. Désirée Lie, clinical professor of family medicine at the Keck School of Medicine (via MedScape), shared, “As a topical agent, honey has a debriding and cleansing action and acts as a barrier to prevent infection.” Honey has properties like hydrogen peroxide, proteins, and gluconic acid that act as healing agents. So, we know honey is helpful when applied to the skin, but what happens if you add a spoonful to your tea every day?
Nutrition author David Wolfe wrote in an excerpt of his book The Beauty Diet, as shared by Parade, “Honey’s amino acids support tissue rebuilding and repair to keep the foundation under the skin plump and strong.” In addition, honey contains melatonin, which helps in the quest for sleep, which we know is key to keeping skin looking healthy. So, if you eat honey every day, your skin might just look it’s best.
2…You may be able to detox free radicals in your body if you eat honey every day
The modern world around us is full of toxins that wreak havoc on us day in and day out. And we certainly don’t always help ourselves — from spending the occasional night out on the town to throwing down a few too many cheeseburgers, we sometimes indulge in foods and beverages that aren’t the kindest to our bodies. Luckily, nature provides a solution. Studies show that we can help detoxify our bodies if we eat honey every day.
A 2018 study reported that honey “as a conventional therapy, might be a novel antioxidant to abate many of the diseases directly or indirectly associated with oxidative stress.” This is partially due to the fact that the delicious substance is full of flavonoids. According to a 2014 study, “flavonoids serve as a potent treatment for oxidative stress.” That oxidative stress is caused by free radicals, aka toxins. As green tea is also full of those handy flavonoids, adding some honey to your morning beverage can doubly help get rid of those pesky free radicals.
3…If you eat honey every day, your athletic performance may improve
There is a good reason bears are famous for being unafraid to get stung by bees that are protecting their hive. Chock full of carbohydrates, honey is an important natural, nutritional, and energy-giving food source. And let’s face it — it is also delicious. That’s why athletes around the world turn to the substance to aid in athletic performance.
The USADA refers to carbohydrates as “The Master Fuel.” According to the USADA website, “a diet rich in carbohydrates increases both endurance and intermittent high-intensity performance because of the extra store of carbohydrates in the muscles and liver, called glycogen.” When in training mode, many athletes reach for sports gel to help them with endurance. Turns out honey is a natural alternative. Regarding a recent study of honey vs. sports gels, Richard Kreider, a principal investigator at the University of Memphis Exercise and Sport Nutrition Laboratory, told Scientific American, “We were pleased to find that honey, a ‘cocktail’ of various natural sugars, performed just as well.” So it just might be worth it to eat honey every day to boost your endurance.
4…You might ward off additional weight if you eat honey every day
Billions of bucks are spent every year in the quest to lose weight. While it might seem antithetical to eat honey with all its calories while on a weight-loss journey, it has actually been proven to be a helpful agent.
A 2011 study on rats revealed that honey resulted in 14.7 percent less weight gain in the rats that consumed honey instead of sucrose. In another rat-based obesity study in 2017, researchers found when comparing different types of honey and a pharmaceutical drug that “both honey types showed better effects compared to orlistat, a drug used to control obesity.” The study also noted that the two kinds of honey used were not created equal, as one performed better than the other in the attempt to squelch weight gain. Researchers claimed that “Gelam honey possesses lipid lowering and antioxidative effects in obese induced rats” and presented “weight-reducing ability compared to Acacia honey.”
When it comes to humans, studies are still being conducted, but a 2018 diabetes study found that “participants showed a significant weight reduction in honey condition and a significant difference in waist circumference changes between the two conditions.”
5…Eat honey and put the kibosh on pesky hangovers
Hangovers are the worst. A fun night out can deplete us, dehydrate us, and keep us in bed for the whole day with the blanket over our heads. We know that sweating it out in the gym can be helpful, but, on those days when leaving the house sounds like the worst idea ever, our old pal honey can step in as a cure.
There is evidence that honey actually aids in the metabolic process of alcohol in the system. A 2009 study on fructose and alcohol metabolization found that “results show that the administered dose of fructose significantly … reduced the duration of alcohol intoxication by 30.7%, and accelerated the elimination (metabolism) of alcohol from bloodstream by 44.7%.” Additionally, Kevin Strang, Ph.D., a physiology professor at University of Wisconsin Madison, told Cosmopolitan that the sugars found in the delicious hangover cure of a honey-covered banana “send glucose to the bloodstream quickly so you feel less irritable.” So maybe try to eat honey next time you’re fighting a hangover.
6…You’ll get more quality sleep if you eat honey every day
Sleep is one of the most important things we do for ourselves. If we aren’t getting enough sleep, we not only get cranky, but we can also seriously harm our health long-term. There are plenty of potential remedies out there but ingesting honey is an ancient and tried-and-true method that helps put us to sleep and keep us there.
According to the book The Honey Prescription: The Amazing Power of Honey as Medicine, cultures from all over the world have their own pre-sleep rituals involving honey. From Europeans drinking warm milk and honey since the Middle Ages to folks in Mexico sipping warm chamomile tea with honey before bed, there are plenty of theories about why it helps us get rest.
According to pharmacist and researcher Mike McInnes (via The Honey Prescription), a couple of spoonfuls of honey at bedtime causes the pancreas to release insulin, which, in turn, sends tryptophan to the brain. McInnes notes that this leads to serotonin being converted to melatonin in the pineal gland, helping us fall and stay asleep. What a true domino effect!
7…Your LDL cholesterol levels may decrease if you eat honey every day
Cholesterol: the pesky word that makes us humans shake in our boots after years of being told high levels in our system can be fatal. There are multiple types of cholesterol found in the human body, but when we hear the initials LDL, we know that is the bad kind. High levels of LDL cholesterol can lead to plaque build-up in the arteries of the heart, ultimately raising the potential of heart attacks and strokes (via Mayo Clinic). There are many ways to prevent that build-up, be it through medicine, exercise, or diet. Specifically, honey can potentially aid in the lowering of LDL in the system.
In a 2009 study, it was found that participants who were made to eat honey had lower BMIs, which has been correlated with lower LDL numbers. Female participants who ingested a sugar solution had increased LDL levels, while the women who ate honey did not. An additional 2013 study concluded, “Natural honey consumption significantly limits the rise in blood glucose along with a significant decrease in the levels of total cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides, and increase HDL in young healthy adults.”
8…If you eat honey every day, you could ease painful acid reflux symptoms
Acid reflux is not only an annoying symptom to have to endure on a day-to-day basis, but it can also be incredibly painful. According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms can range from the traditional burning sensation in the chest to a lump in the throat, chest pain, issues with swallowing, or even regurgitation. And it has been known to be quite a sleep disrupter. It occurs for various reasons, but eating fried food, smoking, and drinking alcohol are all known to exacerbate the issue that arises when stomach acids rise up in the esophagus. There are plenty of over-the-counter medicinal remedies but one of the best can be found in nature.
Known for both its anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties, honey could potentially quell the painful symptoms caused by stomach acid agitating the esophagus. Honey is apparently also helpful because it is sticky. According to the Indian Journal of Medical Research, “Honey has high density, high viscosity, and low surface tension, and therefore, can stay longer in the oesophagus as a coating on the mucus membrane.” So, if acid reflux is a regular problem in your life, eat honey.
9…Your heart will be as strong as an ox if you eat honey every day
Nothing runs in the human body if the heart doesn’t, so it’s key to keep the blood-pumping muscle in tip-top shape. We know from countless medical studies that diet and exercise are key elements to heart health. But what does eating honey have to do with it?
In an overview of honey, the Mayo Clinic stated, “Antioxidants in honey might be associated with reduced risk of heart disease.” Honey contains flavonoids, and flavonoids work as antioxidants. A 2010 review in the African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines noted, “It is suggested that flavonoids decrease the risk of coronary heart disease by three major actions: improving coronary vasodilatation, decreasing the ability of platelets in the blood to clot, and preventing low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) from oxidizing.”
Additionally, a clinical research review published by Pharmacognosy Research in 2017 states, “Several investigations showed that certain honey polyphenols have a promising pharmacological function in reducing cardiovascular disorders.” So, if you eat honey every day, you could just be strengthening your heart.
10…You could promote brain health and boost your memory if you eat honey every day
Diet seems to keep coming up when we hear studies about brain health these days. According to Harvard Health, “what we eat might have an impact on our ability to remember and our likelihood of developing dementia as we age.” Diet impacts brain health in multiple ways.
As we know, LDL cholesterol is the bad guy when it comes to heart health. Dr. Francine Grodstein of Harvard Medical School told Harvard Health, “We know that’s bad for your heart. There is now a lot of evidence that it’s also bad for your brain.” It turns out that cholesterol can build up into plaque in the brain, potentially leading to diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Luckily, honey can help lower LDL levels in humans when consumed regularly, according to a 2013 study. And since high LDL levels also contribute to the chance of stroke, they can seriously damage brain functioning. Luckily, you can eat honey to help reduce those levels.
11…If you eat honey every day, you can help keep your gut health in check
Gut health is a key component to our physical and mental health. With thousands of bacteria working deep in our bellies, if anything is out of whack it can make us feel, well, really crummy.
Known to have antibacterial properties, honey can help rid the digestive tract of unwanted visitors, according to a 2005 study. It is even capable of protecting the body against E. coli and salmonella. In addition, the conclusion of a 2006 study stated, “Substituting sugars with honey in processed food can inhibit the harmful and genotoxic effects of mycotoxins, and improve the gut microflora.”
Honey has also been proven to fight off Helicobacter pylori, a key cause of dyspepsia and gastric ulcers in humans. This is because honey naturally contains hydrogen peroxide. Fun fact: the hydrogen peroxide that is a component of honey is there because bees have an enzyme called glucose oxidase in their stomachs that they transfer to the honey. When they spit it into the honey, it turns to hydrogen peroxide, which, in turn, preserves the honey against bacteria (via Smithsonian).
12…If you drink or eat honey every day, you can ward off a cough
The ancient remedy of honey and lemon to ward off a cough and soothe a sore throat is found all over the world, and it is still pervasive in modern times. It is not just out of tradition or because the combo is delicious, though. There is real science behind why we reach for honey and lemon when we are experiencing upper respiratory coughs. In one 2010 study, honey was found to be a more effective cough suppressant than powerful cough medicines dextromethorphan (DM) and diphenhydramine (DPH).
In terms of soothing pesky sore throats, the science is still inconclusive when it comes to the effectiveness of honey’s capabilities. But in a 2018 “recommended by experts” article in New York Magazine, professional singers who offered their advice on dealing with a sore throat had honey listed as part of the solution. So, instead of suffering from a cough or sore throat, drink or eat honey.
13…If you eat honey every day, it helps soothe anxiety and calm nerves
Anxiety is pervasive in modern culture. We spend billions of dollars on everything from Netflix subscriptions to calming teas, to booze, therapy, and beach trips in an attempt to try to quiet the nerves that we experience from all the stress in our lives. For centuries, humans have been using honey to relieve stress, even by adding it to warm milk as a pre-sleep aid. There are oodles of stress-relief beverages from all over the world that include honey as a key ingredient, including the ashwagandha and turmeric-filled Moon Milk.
Sleep is a key component in keeping anxiety levels low. If we aren’t getting the right amount, it can really throw everything off-kilter and induce stress in our lives. If you drink or eat honey every day, it can aid you in getting you the sleep you need, leading to reduced stress and potentially reduced anxiety.
14…If you eat honey every day, your immune system will get a lift
It is a very pervasive old wives’ tale that including local honey into your diet can help ward off the effects of allergies because of pollen exposure therapy. Unfortunately, according to The New York Times, there is no evidence that this is true (though that doesn’t stop people from eating spoonfuls come springtime). However, drinking honey every day can aid in boosting our immune systems.
So many factors can contribute to a compromised immune system like lack of sleep, improper diet, travel, stress, and poor gut health. We know that honey has properties that aid in alleviating some of those factors. Additionally, according to Tracie Abram — the social emotional and disease prevention and management educator at Michigan State University — who wrote about honey on the MSU blog, said, “It is an immune system builder and has both antioxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-tumor properties.” So, why not drink or eat honey every day to help boost your immune system?
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