Benefits of Raw Honey
The average American consume only around 1.3 pounds of honey per year on average, but 61% of this honey is imported from other countries. This is an insignificant amount of honey considering we eat 212 pounds of refined sugars or high fructose corn syrup.
New research indicates the health benefits can be enormous, if you stop eating refined sugars and use pure raw honey instead.
What is raw honey? It’s a pure, unfiltered and unpasteurized sweetener made by bees from the nectar of flowers. Most honey in the grocery store is processed honey that’s been heated and filtered after it was gathered from the hive. Unlike processed honey, raw honey does not get robbed of its nutritional value and health benefits.
What are some of the benefits of raw honey? It can help with everything from low energy, sleep problems, and seasonal allergies. Raw honey may even assist you with weight-loss when compared to diets containing sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
8 Health Benefits of Raw Honey
1. Healthy Weight Management
Research studies have linked honey consumption with weight loss. A San Diego State University study found that replacing sugar with honey can actually help prevent packing on extra pounds and also lower blood sugar. The results also suggest that in comparison to sugar, honey may lower serum triglycerides.
Raw Honey Hibernation Diet
In an interview, about his book “The Hibernation Diet” retired pharmacist and author Mike McInnes, remarked that although sleep is often thought of as a low-energy consumption period for the body, deep REM sleep cycles are high-energy burning times. However, inadequately-fueled energy stores in the liver (for the brain’s nightly REM activity) result in the body releasing both stress hormones – like cortisol, and orexigenic hormones – which activate hunger signals and disrupt deep sleep.
Another study from the University of Wyoming found that raw honey can activate hormones that suppress the appetite. In the double-blind randomly assigned study, appetite hormones and glycemic responses were measured in 14 healthy non-obese women after consuming a breakfast containing either honey or sugar. Overall, researchers concluded that honey consumption offers potential obesity protective effects. (4)
2. Counters Pollen Allergies
Raw honey contains bee pollen, which is known to fend off infections, provide natural allergy relief and boost overall immunity. Honey’s ability to prevent allergies is based on a concept called immunotherapy. The bees in your neighborhood travel from flower to flower collecting pollen that causes you to suffer, but when a you consume local raw honey, you also consume that same offending local pollen. After some time, an allergy sufferer may become less sensitive to this pollen that previously caused problems and experience less seasonal allergy symptoms. Many seasonal allergy sufferers have found local, raw honey to be helpful because it desensitizes them to the fauna triggering their allergic reaction.
A 2013 study found that eating honey at a high dose (one gram per kilogram of body weight of honey daily) can improve allergy symptoms over a period of eight weeks. Researchers absorbed that the honey consumption improved overall and individual symptoms of allergic rhinitis. (5) Allergic rhinitis is an allergic response that causes itchy, watery eyes, sneezing and other similar symptoms.
Some people say that a daily tablespoon of honey can actually act like an allergy shot. The type of honey is key though since pasteurized honey does not contain any pollen. For possible seasonal allergy relief, you need to consume raw honey with pollen in it.
3. Natural Energy Source
Raw honey contains natural sugars (80 percent), water (18 percent), and minerals, vitamins, pollen and protein (2 percent). Raw Honey has been called “the perfect running fuel.” It provides an easily absorbed supply of energy in the form of liver glycogen, making it ideal for energetic morning starts and as a pre-and post-exercise energy source.
Studies at the University of Memphis Exercise and Sports Nutrition Laboratory have shown honey to be one of the best choices of carbohydrate to consume right before exercising. Additionally, studies have revealed that as a sporting fuel, honey performs on a par with glucose, which is the sugar used in most commercial energy gels. (6)
When it comes to raw honey’s use in athletic endeavors, I highly recommend raw honey for both fueling and recovery. That’s why raw honey is included in some of the best pre-workout snacks and post-workout meals.
4. Antioxidant Powerhouse
Studies have shown that a daily dose of raw honey raises levels of health-promoting antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants help block free radicals in the body that cause disease. It also boosts the immune system, acting as a preventative against any number of diseases. Honey contains polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants that have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
One study fed 25 subjects about four tablespoons of honey per day for 29 days in addition to their regular diets. When blood samples were taken at the start and end of the study, researchers found a clear, direct link between honey consumption and an increased level of disease-fighting polyphenols in the blood. (7)
Studies have shown that honey contains the disease-fighting antioxidant flavonoids pinocembrin, pinostrobin and chrysin. (8) Pinocembrin supports enzyme activity, and many studies have shown that pinocembrin induces apoptosis (programmed cell death) of many types of cancer cells. (9) Laboratory research suggests that chrysin may increase the male hormone testosterone and improve bodybuilding results, but human research hasn’t found any effect on testosterone levels. (10)
5. Sleep Promoter
Eat Raw Honey before Bedtime
Raw honey promotes restorative sleep in two ways. By consuming honey before bedtime, it restores the liver’s glycogen supply. Thus prevents the brain from triggering a crisis search for fuel, which can wake you up. Secondly, eating raw honey fosters the release of melatonin in the brain by creating a small spike in insulin levels, which stimulates the release of tryptophan in the brain. Tryptophan converts to serotonin, which is then converted to melatonin.
Melatonin also boosts immunity and helps rebuild tissue during periods of rest. Poor sleep, by comparison, has been shown to be a risk factor for hypertension, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and arthritis. As honey is a proven natural sleep aid, it naturally lowers the risk of all these health problems.
6. Wound and Ulcer Healer
Honey-infused bandages are known to aid healing. Peter Charles Molan at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, has found in multiple studies that honey is a natural antibacterial with wound-healing effects. He also found that honey reacts with the body’s fluids to make hydrogen peroxide, creating an inhospitable environment for bacteria. In addition, “Concentrations of hydrogen peroxide generated are very low in comparison to those typically applied to a wound, thus, cytotoxic damage by hydrogen peroxide is very low.
For the treatment of burns and wounds, honey is typically applied directly to the problem area or in a dressing that’s changed every 24 to 48 hours. Sometimes the dressing is left in place for up to 25 days.
Honey Wound Treatment
Raw Honey has anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can be used as a wound dressing to promote rapid and improved healing. These effects are due to honey’s anti-bacterial action, secondary to its high acidity, osmotic effect, anti-oxidant content and hydrogen peroxide content. The use of honey leads to improved wound healing in acute cases, pain relief in burn patients and decreased inflammatory response in such patients. However, it has proven to be ineffective in chronic leg ulcers. Overall, studies have been done in favor of the use of honey in medicine.
Honey has been studied for its use in effectively treating various types of ulcers as well. Honey may reduce the size, pain and odor of problematic skin ulcers.
7. Diabetes Aid
Consumption of raw honey can reduce the risk of developing diabetes and help aid medication used to treat diabetes. The combination of raw honey and cinnamon can be especially beneficial to healthy blood sugar management. As well as many other health concerns like gingivitis and acne.
Honey has been observed to cause a lower elevation of plasma glucose levels in diabetics compared to dextrose and sucrose. The insulin-boosting power of cinnamon can counteract this glucose elevation in honey. This makes your honey and cinnamon mixture a low glycemic index food combination.
Raw honey increases insulin and decreases hyperglycemia. Try a little at at first to see how your blood sugar reacts to it. Then add both raw honey and cinnamon to your routine.
8. Natural Cough Syrup
Raw honey has been shown to be as effective in treating coughs as over-the-counter commercial cough syrups. Increasing scientific evidence shows that a single dose of honey can reduce mucus secretion and coughs. In one study, honey was just as effective as diphenhydramine and dextromethorphan, common ingredients found in over-the counter cough medicines.
For a cough, a half teaspoon to two teaspoons of honey at bedtime is a studied and recommended dosage for anyone over the age of one.