Ten health benefits of honey – Times of India

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Dr Ved Prakash is an Ayurveda scholar and has written several books on Ayurveda and literature. He worked as a professor in Meerut University for almost 40 years.
Honey’s proven nutritional and health-aiding benefits make it the most valuable ingredient to include in diets. Being anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-tumour, a moderate intake of honey is useful in treating and preventing various illnesses. A tablespoon (20 grams) of honey contains 64 calories, 0 gram fat, 0 gram protein, 0 gram fiber, 17 grams carbs, and 17 grams sugars, as per nutrionix.com. There are 634 ayurvedic remedies that contain honey in their formula, for varied treatments, from eye diseases, cough, thirst, phlegm, hiccups, leprosy, diabetes, obesity, worm infestation, vomiting, asthma, and diarrhoea to healing of wounds. Due to its low glycemic index, it’s recommended as a healthy alternative to sugar. Its antioxidant role is beneficial in leading a healthy, disease-free life.
It’s vital that the honey you use contains its healthy bacteria to be effective. Raw honey, which comes straight from the beehive, contains healthful bee pollen, bee propolis, and plenty of antioxidants. The dark honey varieties have a higher antioxidant count, and activates your immune system. Unlike raw honey, regular honey undergoes a pasteurization process.
Honey varieties include Multiflora honey, Eucalyptus honey, Ajwain honey, Sidr honey, and others. Multiflora honey currently holds the majority of the total market share. Some of its wellness benefits, when consumed in moderation, and under medical guidance, may be explored. These are:
Honey adds moisture or humidity naturally and treats dull skin, restoring its natural glow. Since raw honey crystalizes over time, the tiny granules act as a gentle exfoliant. It has toning, smoothening, brightening and depigmentation properties.
The probiotics, antioxidants, nutrients and enzymes in honey work together to nourish and plump the skin. While it doesn’t eliminate wrinkles, it reduces their appearance. The antioxidants help in reversing sun damage.
Honey’s natural anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties help in calming teenage acne, clear out pores, kill bacteria, and control scars caused by sun-burn.
Honey’s immunomodulatory property is relevant to wound repair. The antimicrobial activity in most honeys is due to the enzymatic production of hydrogen peroxide. However, non-peroxide honey (viz., manuka honey), displays significant antibacterial effects even when the hydrogen peroxide activity is blocked. Manuka Honey is a unique kind of Honey that is made in Australia and New Zealand by bees that pollinate the native leptospermum scoparium bush (also known as tea tree). Its mechanism may be related to the low pH level of honey and its high sugar content (high osmolarity) that is enough to hinder the growth of microbes, as per National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), part of the US National Library of Medicine. According to Ayurveda, ghee mixed with honey can be applied on wounds, blisters and inflammation to effectively cure them.
Honey has the lowest glycemic load — the measure of the impact of a given amount of food on blood glucose levels after it is eaten. Taken in moderation, the antioxidants in honey protect against metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes. As per NCBI, for years, researchers have been conducting various animal studies, preclinical trials as well as RCTs to show the beneficial effects of honey on diabetes. “Anti-diabetic effects of honey are also explained by its ability to modulate adiponectin levels as well as its antioxidant capacity,” reports NCBI.
P.S. For Diabetics, honey consumption is recommended under medical supervision only
Honey is a natural immune booster. Its role in inhibition of cell proliferation, induction of programmed cell death, and cell-cycle arrest is of great interest in cancer treatment. Taken in moderation, under doctor guidance, and as a healthier alternative to sugar, NCBI has listed its beneficial effects on breast cancer, liver cancer, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, and several other cancers.
Honey may help to lower blood pressure, regulate heartbeat, prevent the death of healthy cells, and may improve heart health. Raw honey contains propolis, a type of resin that bees produce, which helps to improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels. “Small studies in humans show honey’s antioxidants could help improve cholesterol levels,” reports heart.org. However, honey should be consumed in moderation and under medical guidance to treat illnesses.
Honey’s low glycemic load offers benefits for appetite-reduction. Founder of the honey diet, Mike McInnes discovered that athletes who ate foods rich in fructose such as honey burnt more fats and had increased stamina levels. One of the best ways to consume honey for weight loss is by having a teaspoon of honey before bedtime. Doing so will help the body burn more fat during the early hours of your sleep.
Owing to its antimicrobial activity, honey is used to treat coughs. It is commonly used to relieve sore throat, allergy symptoms or for asthmatic relief. The Ministry of AYUSH has recommended it to relive Covid symptoms.
A spoonful of honey helps in uninterrupted sleep, as it causes a slow, steady spike of insulin, which converts to serotonin and melatonin, two chemicals that help you fall asleep. A honey-infused soak will help you meet your relaxation goals.
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Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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