“If you have no Honey in your pot, have some in your Mouth.” – Benjamin Franklin


honey, bottle

If the tasty sweetness is not convincing enough to make honey your daily ritual, here are 10 research-proven benefits of honey to persuade you:

1. Antimicrobial, antiparasitic and antiviral

Honey can fight bacteria, fungi and viruses! The combination of:

  • low water activity
  • high acidity
  • hydrogen peroxide and
  • plant-based antibacterial components

work remarkably against a wide range of infections. Some research even documented the ability of honey to overcome certain bacteria that has mutated to become resistant to some antibiotics.

So the next time you are down with a flu, sore throat or diarrhea, try taking 1 tablespoon of honey up to 3 times a day, before running to the doctor for antibiotics. On the other hand, medical-grade honey can be used as a topical application to treat and promote healing of acne, wounds, burns and skin infections.

bee, beehives

2. Improves your heart, kidneys and liver health

Honey has been found to be able to reduce triglycerides, cholesterol, blood urea nitrogen and liver enzymes that can all contribute to kidney and liver damage and heart disease. Therefore, taking honey long term may actually help to maintain healthy kidneys, heart and liver.

Additionally, consuming honey will also increase HDL cholesterol, vitamin E and nitric oxide levels in our bodies. Nitric oxide has been known to improve your blood flow and fine-tune your heart functions. Together with higher HDL cholesterol and vitamin E, they protect the heart and blood vessels in the body from heart diseases.

3. Promotes beautiful and supple skin

Honey has been used for thousands of years to promote beautiful skin. Nowadays, you can find honey in almost every type of beauty product: - face and body wash, masks, scrubs, moisturisers, lip balms, lotions, hair shampoos and conditioners, and the list goes on.

This is because honey is:

  1. A great cleanser because of its acidity and antibacterial properties. It kills bacteria and prevents inflammation to reduce breakouts. It is also mildly astringent to tighten your pores and control excessive sebum production.
  2. A moisturiser that nourishes softens and smoothens to give you supple skin.
  3. A radiance booster. It has this effect because of its antioxidants and acidity.
  4. Able to calm and balance skin. It is beneficial for all types of skin diseases.

beauty skin

4. High antioxidant and anticancer

Honey’s been found to have remarkable antioxidant activity with the presence of vitamin C, flavonoids, phenolic acids, carotenoids (family members of vitamin A), organic acids, proteins, along with the enzymes glucose oxidase and catalase. These antioxidants work together to prevent mutations in your cells’ DNA. They can also activate your own immune system to kill cancer cells and prevent its growth and spreading.

Apart from cancer, antioxidants can prevent many chronic and degenerative diseases such as atherosclerosis, other heart diseases, metabolic syndrome and many age- or stress-related diseases. They also boost your immune system’s ability to fight common infections!

5. Better control of blood sugar and reduced risk of diabetes

Do you know what’s a Glycemic Index (GI)? It is a measure of how a sugar or carbohydrate food affects your blood sugar when you eat them. A lower GI means that the food does not cause a large sugar spike in your blood, which is a good thing to control and prevent diabetes.

Honey has a GI of around 30-58 (depending on the type of honey) so it falls under the category of low-GI foods, while table sugar or brown sugar has a GI of 63 (medium-GI food). And apart from providing fattening calories to your body, sugar provides ZERO nutritional benefits. Not to mention, honey is 3 times sweeter than sugar although the GI is lower!

Therefore, wherever possible, honey is a great substitute for sugar. Although cooking with honey does damage some of its natural beneficial components, IT’S STILL BETTER THAN SUGAR because honey has many heat-stable nutrients which you still gain, it has a lower GI than sugar and you use less because it’s sweeter.

lavender, bee, farm

6. Heals stomach ulcers, reduces GERD and gastritis

Studies have shown that honey will line the esophagus and stomach to soothe gastritis and reduce the upward flow of stomach acids and undigested food. This helps with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) that can lead to acid reflux, heartburn and inflammation.

The antibacterial effects of honey may also be able to help fight H.Pylori, the culprit behind stomach ulcers, while other beneficial components inside honey can promote the healing of the stomach lining.

7. Boost athletic performances

Honey’s been proven to be a good source of energy to boost and sustain athletic performance in both resistance and endurance exercises. In the trials, honey performed better than glucose solutions, which is the most commonly used energy booster for athletes.

8. Promotes healthy child growth

Especially in the rural areas, honey is highly used for supporting healthy growth in children as young as 1 year old. It’s been observed to improve digestion, blood formation, healthy weight gain and their immune systems. It also significantly reduces the crying phases of young children.

Do take note however that parents are advised not to feed honey to infants below 12 months of age.

 happy children

9. Reduce pollen/seasonal allergies

Small amounts of pollen are present inside natural honey. When you take natural honey every day, this long term exposure to small doses of pollen will allow your immune system to get used to pollen, causing immune tolerance which will subsequently reduce your allergic reactions to pollen.

10. Improves your overall health and vitality

Finally, taking honey everyday just makes you healthier!

It increases the levels of many vitamins and minerals which your body needs to function properly. And it reduces many enzymes and chemicals inside your body that, over a long period, will damage your organs. Not to mention, taking just 15ml of honey before bedtime have been found to promote better sleep. So overall, you will feel more energetic, fall sick less often and stay healthy even as you face all your daily stresses and general aging.

The traditional Chinese saying goes, “bitter is healthy”. Now who would have thought that something so sweet can be so good for you?!

References:
  1. Al-Waili NS, Boni N. Effect of Honey Ingestion on Nitric Oxide in Saliva. FASEB J. 2003; 17: 899.
  2. Al-Waili NS, et al. Effect of Daily Consumption of Honey Solution on Hematological Indices and Blood Levels of Minerals and Enzymes in Normal Individuals. J. Med. Food. 2003; 6: 135-140.
  3. Al-Waili NS, et al. Intravenous and Intrapulmonary Administration of Honey Solution to Healthy Sheep: Effects on Blood Sugar, Renal and Liver Function, Testes, Bone Marrow Function, Lipid Profile and Carbon Tetrachloride-Induced Liver Injury. J. Med. Food. 2003; 6: 231-247.
  4. Al-Waili NS, et al. Honey Ameriolates Influence of Hemorrhage and Food Restriction on Renal and Hepatic Functions, and Hematological and Biochemical Variables. Int. J. Food. Sc. Nutr. 2006; 57: 353-362.
  5. Attia WY, et al. The Anti-Tumour Effect of Bee Honey in Ehrlich Ascite Tumour Model of Mice is Coincided with Stimulation of The Immune Cells. The Egyptian Jour of Immunology. 2008; 15(2): 169-183.
  6. Bogdanov S, Jurendic T, Sieber R, Gallmann P. Honey for Nutrition and Health: A Review. American Journal of The College of Nutrition. 2008; 27: 677-689.
  7. Cotton JM, Kearney MT, Shah AM. Nitric Oxide and Myocardial Function in Heart failure: Friend or Foe? Heart. 2002 Dec; 88(6): 564-566.
  8. Ediriweera ERHSS, Premarathna NYS. Medicinal and Cosmetic Uses of Bee’s Honey – A Review. AYU. 2014 Apr; 33(2): 178-182.
  9. Higdon J, Drake VJ, Delage B. Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load [Internet]. Linus Pauling Institute: Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center; 2003 [updated 2016; cited 2018 Mar 27]. Available from: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/food-beverages/glycemic-index-glycemic-load
  10. Leonard J. Honey vs Sugar: Is Honey Really Better for You Than Sugar? [Internet]. Medical News Today [updated 2017 Jun 1; cited 2018 Mar 18]. Available from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317728.php
  11. Molan PC. The Antibacterial Activity of Honey. New Zealand: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Waikato. 5-28.