Natural wonder – Honey

Did you know honey is an effective natural skin moisturiser? Read on to find out more about the benefits of this sweet food.

A natural sweetener made by bees using nectar from flowers, honey,  is used in many medical traditions to treat varied ailments; and is  confirmed to have antibacterial and antiseptic properties.

Honey and its nutrients:

Honey is a mixture of sugars and other compounds. It contains mainly  carbohydrates: fructose and glucose; in addition to sucrose, maltose  and other complex carbohydrates. Honey also contains tiny amounts of several compounds that function as antioxidants. However, the specific composition of any batch of honey depends on the flowers available to the bees that produced the honey.

Health benefits of honey:

A natural energy booster: The prime nutrient in honey is essentially glucose and fructose (carbohydrates). The glucose in honey is absorbed by the body quickly and can give you an immediate energy boost; whereas the fructose is absorbed more slowly and will thus provide sustained energy. Honey has also been found to keep blood sugar levels fairly constant. So the next time you head out for a workout at the gym, take a spoonful of honey, and see the difference!

Strengthens the immune system: The most impressive health benefit of honey is this sweet food’s potential to strengthen the body’s defences against diseases. Honey packs in a variety of antioxidants that can fight against infections of many a kind. Mix a teaspoon of honey with warm water and have daily to keep infections at bay.

Anti-cancer properties: Honey is said to have carcinogenic-preventing and anti-tumour properties. Scientists have found floral flavonoids in honey. These tiny traces of flavonoids, generally known as antioxidants, have powerful influences on the body’s cells. When ingested, they immediately increase the antioxidant levels within cells, fighting free radicals. So make this anti-cancer choice to keep cancer away.

Treating cuts and burns: Honey has antiseptic properties that helps inhibit the growth of certain bacteria and keep external wounds free from infection. It has the ability to absorb moisture from the air and promote healing. Its anti-septic and antibacterial properties function as an anti-inflammatory agent, reducing swelling, pain, and also scarring.

A natural moisturiser: Honey is great for the skin as it attracts and retains moisture, leaving the skin hydrated and glowing. These properties make honey a sough-after ingredient in a range of cosmetics. If your skin is feeling dry, rub some honey, leave for a few minutes and then wash it off. Try it!

Treating sore throats and cough: One well known health benefit of honey is its ability to treat sore throats and cough. Thanks to honey’s antimicrobial properties, it not only soothes throats but can also kill certain bacteria, causing the infection. So if you are under the weather this monsoon, mix a table spoon of honey in warm water and drink to treat that irritation in your throat.

Cholesterol fighter: Honey is not only free of cholesterol, but reports suggest that including small amounts of it in one’s daily diet can keep cholesterol levels under check. High in minerals like potassium, calcium and sodium and B-complex vitamins, honey is known to lower cholesterol in our blood and keep the heart healthy.

Warning: Don’t give honey to an infant.

Many doctors warn against giving infants honey, this is because some honey contains a low-count of naturally occurring bacterial botulinum spores, which bees collect together with the nectar. These spores cannot be removed during honey processing. A baby’s digestive system is not yet acidic enough to combat this, while the digestive system of an older baby and adults is. Hence, there is a potential for these organism to thrive and grow in the intestines of young infants and produce toxins, that can possibly cause a serious form of food poisoning known as infant botulism.

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