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The mighty wonders of honey

Honey is a sweet liquid made by bees using nectar from flowers. Bees first convert the nectar into honey by a process of regurgitation and evaporation, then store it as a primary food source in wax honeycombs inside the beehive. Honey can then be harvested from the hives for human consumption. Both raw and pasteurized forms of honey are available. Raw honey is removed from the hive and bottled directly, and as such will contain trace amounts of yeast, wax and pollen. Consuming local raw honey is believed to help with seasonal allergies due to repeated exposure to the pollen in the area. Pasteurized honey has been heated and processed to remove impurities.

Honey contains a treasure chest of hidden nutritional and medicinal value for centuries. The sweet golden liquid from the beehive is a popular kitchen staple loaded with antibacterial and antifungal properties that has been used since the early days of Egyptian tombs. Honey’s scientific super powers contribute to its vastly touted health benefits for the whole body. The healthy natural sweetener offers many nutritional benefits depending on its variety. Raw honey is the unpasteurized version of commonly used honey and only differs in its filtration, which helps extend its shelf life. A tablespoon of raw honey contains 64 calories, is fat-free, cholesterol-free, and sodium-free, says the National Honey Board. Its composition is roughly 80 percent carbohydrates, 18 percent water, and two percent vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Typically, honey is sweet but can be cruel to infants. Spores of Clostridium botulinum bacteria — found in dirt and dust, which can contaminate honey — may lead to infant botulism and produce a toxin inside the body that can cause muscle weakness and breathing problems. The Mayo

Clinic recommends waiting until after 12 months of age to give infants honey; consumption is safe for older adults and kids, since they have a mature digestive system that can handle the spores. Consume honey responsibly and reap the numerous health benefits of this liquid gold.

Alleviates allergies Honey’s anti-inflammatory effects and ability to soothe coughs has led to the belief it can also reduce seasonal allergy symptoms. It contains small amounts of pollen, which if the body is exposed to small amounts of it, it can trigger an immune response that produces antibodies to the pollen. After repeated exposure, you should build up these antibodies and the body should become accustomed to their presence so that less histamine is released, resulting in a lesser allergic response.

It’s all-natural energy drink Honey is an excellent source of all-natural energy at just 17 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon. This natural unprocessed sugar — fructose and glucose — directly enter the bloodstream and can deliver a quick boost of energy. The rise in blood sugar acts as a short-term energy source for your workout, especially in longer endurance exercises. If your goal in exercising is to increase muscle mass, working out on an empty stomach first thing in the morning is the way to go.  When your body is in starvation mode (upon waking in morning), and you start exercising you release insulin-like growth-factor, which will help you build bulk, and this only works when blood sugars are low. It boosts memory The sweet nectar is loaded in antioxidants that may help prevent cellular damage and loss within the brain. A 2011 study published in Menopause found a daily spoonful of Malaysian honey may boost postmenopausal women’s memory, which can provide an alternative therapy for the hormone-related intellectual decline. After four months of taking 20 grams of honey a day, the women were more likely to have better short-term memory than their counterparts who took hormone pills. Honey’s ability to help the body absorb calcium, and it helps aid brain health. The brain needs calcium in order to process thought and make decisions. “As our populations continue to get older and older, the likelihood of dementia setting in because of poor intake of vitamins and minerals continues to get higher and higher,”he said.

It’s serve as a cough suppressant Honey can be the all-natural cure when it comes to pesky colds. A persistent cough that won’t go away can easily be remedied with two teaspoons of honey, according to a 2012 study published in the journal Pediatrics. Children between the ages of 1 and 5 with nighttime cough due to colds coughed less frequently when they received two teaspoons of honey 30 minutes before bed. The golden liquid’s thick consistency helps coat the throat while the sweet taste is believed to trigger nerve endings that protect the throat from incessant coughing. Honey is believed to be as effective as the common cough suppressant ingredient dextromethorphan. It can be used in treating upper respiratory tract infections. Its aids your mode of sleeping   Honey can be a health aid for sleepless nights. Similar to sugar, honey can cause a rise in insulin and release serotonin — a neurotransmitter that improves mood and happiness. “The body converts serotonin into melatonin, a chemical compound that regulates the length and the quality of sleep,” Rene

Ficek, registered dietitian and lead dietitian nutritionist at Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating in Chicago, Ill., told Medical Daily in an email. Moreover, honey also contains several amino acids, including tryptophan that is commonly associated with turkey. Honey’s steady rise in insulin, it causes the tryptophan in honey to enter the brain, where it’s then converted into serotonin and then into melatonin, which is a sleep aid. This hormone is responsible for regulating sleep and wake cycles.

Its treats your dandruff Honey can bring temporary relief to the scalp by targeting dandruff. A 2001 study published in the European Journal of Medical Research found applying honey diluted with 10 percent warm water to problem areas and leaving it on for three hours before rinsing led to itch relief and no scaling within a week. Skin lesions healed within two weeks and patients even showed an improvement in hair loss. The patients did not relapse even after six months of use. Thanks to honey's antibacterial and antifungal properties, it can also treat seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff, which are often caused by an overgrowth of fungus. Moreover, honey also has anti-inflammatory properties, which address the redness and itching on the scalp.

Treats your wounds and burns Honey is a natural antibiotic that can act both internally and externally. It can be used as a conventional treatment for wounds and burns by disinfecting wounds and sores from major species of bacteria such as methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). It draws fluid away from your wound, the high sugar content suppresses microorganism growth. Worker bees secrete an enzyme (glucose oxidase) into the nectar, which then releases low levels of hydrogen peroxide when the honey makes contact with your wound.

In one study, 16 adult subjects with a history of recurrent labial and genital herpes attacks used honey to treat one attack, and a commonly prescribed antiviral drug, Acyclovir cream, during another. (It's important to realize that neither the drug nor the honey will actually cure genital herpes. They only treat the symptoms). Interestingly, honey provided significantly better treatment results. For labial herpes, the mean healing time was 43 percent better, and for genital herpes, 59 percent better than acyclovir. Pain and crusting was also significantly reduced with the honey, compared to the drug. Two cases of labial herpes and one case of genital herpes remitted completely with the honey treatment, whereas none remitted while using acyclovir.12pose health aid. Some Honey Home Remedies Honey is a humectant, which means it attracts and retains moisture, making it an ideal addition to moisturizers, shampoos, and conditioners. Along with its antimicrobial properties, honey makes a wonderful addition to homemade personal care products. The National Honey Board has a few you can try out for yourself.

Honey Hair Conditioner: Mix ½ cup honey with ¼ cup olive oil. Work a small amount through your hair until coated. Cover your hair with a shower cap and let sit for 30 minutes. Shampoo as normal and rinse. Honey Body Moisturizer: Mix 5 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons rose oil, and 2 cups almond oil in a medium-sized bottle. Apply as needed onto wet skin. Honey Almond Scrub: Mix 3 teaspoons honey, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and 6 ½ tablespoons of finely crushed almonds. Rub the exfoliating scrub onto your face gently and rinse with warm water. The Organic Consumers Association has also published this simple honey lemon cough syrup that’s useful to keep on hand during the winter months.

Honey Lemon Cough Syrup Lemon helps promote health by quickly alkalinizing your body, and honey will kill most bacteria while soothing your throat. This is a perfect choice for a quick cough remedy. Put a pint of raw honey in a pan on the stove on very low heat (do not boil honey as this changes its medicinal properties). After that take a whole lemon and boil in some water in a separate pan for 2-3 minutes to both soften the lemon and kill any bacteria that may be on the lemon skin. Let the lemon cool enough to handle then cut it in slices and add it to the pint of honey on the stove and let the mixture cook on warm heat for about an hour. Then strain the lemon from the honey making sure all lemon seeds are removed. Let cool, then bottle in a jar with a lid and store in the refrigerator. This syrup will keep for 2 months in the refrigerator. To soothe a cough, take 1/2 teaspoon for a 25 lb. child and 1 teaspoon for a 50 lb. child, about 4 times a day, or as often as needed. Adults can take 1-tablespoon doses.

Honey Should Be Consumed Only in Moderation Honey has many healthy attributes, but it is also high in fructose, averaging around 53 percent. Each teaspoon of honey has nearly four grams of fructose, which means it can exacerbate pre-existing insulin resistance and wreak havoc on your body if consumed in excess. So when consuming honey, carefully add the total grams of fructose (including fruits) that you consume each day, and stay below 25 grams of total fructose per day. Keep in mind, though, that if you have insulin resistance (i.e. if you are taking drugs for high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, or if you're overweight) you'd be better off avoiding all sweeteners, including honey, since any sweetener can decrease your insulin sensitivity and worsen your insulin resistance. If you’re healthy, however, eating raw honey in moderation could provide many of the benefits listed above.

 

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