More and more people every day are switching to using honey as their go-to sweetener, and for good reason! Honey is as natural as it is delicious, which means using it as a substitute for sugar in your kitchen can have a lot of health benefits.
You might wonder how something that tastes so good could also be good for you. Well, eating healthy isn’t about taking all of your favorite foods out of your diet, it’s about finding good replacements for processed and junk foods so that your body can get the nutrients it needs.
Honey is definitely full of nutrients, and it has lots of other upsides, too. It’s great to use in moderation as a sweetener, or as an ingredient in a baked good or snack. Here’s just a few of the health benefits of honey, and why you should consider having some in your pantry.
The aforementioned nutrients in honey are a great contributor to physical health. Since people typically consume honey in very small amounts at a time due to how sweet it is, it doesn’t contain all the nutrients you’d need in a day, but the extra boost can’t hurt.
Honey contains 31 minerals, including some very important ones such as phosphorus, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and more. Because honey is natural, it’s not just empty calories and added sweetness.
The nutrients aren’t the only benefit of consuming honey, however. The prebiotic properties in honey help encourage healthy bacteria presence in the gut, which can in turn build up a stronger immune system. Some studies have also indicated that honey can help to combat viruses.
Honey’s anti-inflammatory compounds can prevent artery hardening as well, a serious issue that can be fatal in some cases. Honey raises the blood’s antioxidant levels, which are important for healthy hearts and, consequently, arteries.
The antioxidants in honey have other uses, however. For those who struggle with metabolic syndrome, honey could be a great way to provide relief. The low glycemic index of honey doesn’t increase blood sugar or insulin levels an alarming amount the way other foods of the same sweetness might.
By reducing triglycerides and bad cholesterol, honey can help people manage their weight or keep their metabolism going strong. In addition to this, honey can assist with oxidative stress, and help the body act faster when it encounters harmful bacteria— and that’s not the only kind of stress honey is good for.
The honey itself can even provide relief for those struggling with upper respiratory tract infections. Honey has been to decrease coughs both in frequency and severity, so now it’s often used to counteract cold and cough symptoms, since tea with honey will soothe a sore throat. It’s been found to be more successful at doing so than a placebo, anyhow.
Speaking of infections, honey can kill harmful bacteria due to the proteins in it, and the hydrogen peroxide it may contain. Specific brands of honey have been found to be more suited to this than others.
Just as honey can soothe the throat from a cough, it may also be able to soothe the stomach and prevent acid reflux. More studies still need to be conducted, however.
And honey even has some topical uses! The protein, defensin-1, in honey has properties that could help to treat wounds, but it’s important to remember that honey is more of a bandaid than a bandage— it can potentially help with these problems, not solve them entirely.
However, many beauty products incorporate honey as an ingredient, so it’s possible you’re already using honey topically already, you may just not know it yet.
There are many other minor health issues that honey reportedly can help with, such as the hiccups, hangovers, teething problems, allergies, trouble sleeping, arthritis, eczema, and much more.
More research should be done into the physical health benefits of honey, as if it can do this much it probably is also capable of more. So it’s time to stock up! However, it’s also important to consider whether raw or regular honey is superior.
Raw honey comes directly from the beehive to your teacup, so it’s much more natural. The beekeeper will remove debris from the honey so it’s still safe to eat, so it hasn’t been pasteurized or processed in any way, which could introduce other ingredients into the mix.
However, some people prefer regular honey. The pasteurization process means it gets a longer shelf life and looks much clearer. It will also kill any yeast cells, which can sometimes make the honey taste different.
There are benefits either way, so really it’s up to personal preference.
Honey can also help with mental health problems, such as depression or insomnia, in the same way that melatonin can. It also can more directly benefit your brains due to the antioxidants it contains— this reduces cell damage, helps protect the brain, and can also help the body absorb calcium.
As previously established, honey is very good for gut health, which can in turn be good for your brain. A brain suffering from anxiety or stress will send signals to the intestine accordingly.
Raw honey has been found to have antidepressant abilities, so it’s no wonder that it can assist with mental health in addition to its physical uses. While many actual medications prescribed to fight depression and anxiety can come with gnarly side effects, honey is very different.
No food is completely without risk, however. It’s very safe to consume honey both in its raw and regular forms, though it is possible for both to contain a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum, which can lead to a very rare form of food poisoning.
Honey should also not be consumed by those under 12 months of age— the digestive tracts of young children will not have developed enough to handle the bacteria in honey.
It’s also possible that those who have severe allergies to pollen may experience a reaction to honey, particularly raw honey. Though the trace amounts of pollen in honey could potentially be used to help people build up immunity to a pollen allergy, and it has been found to help with some reactions, it depends entirely on the severity of the allergy.
If your pollen allergies are super severe, it’s vital that you consult with your doctor about honey first, since it may not be the best option for you.
This is very rare, however, and the number of benefits associated with honey definitely make it an option worth pursuing more information about. After all, it’s so much better than the alternative.
Honey and sugar are both very sweet, and should both likely be used mainly in moderation, but in a contest, honey can’t be beat.
Honey is sweeter than the alternative, so even though it may contain more calories per tablespoon, people often end up using less of it overall— therefore, less calories, and less weight gain, if that’s your main reason for making the honey swap.
Many people also believe that honey simply tastes better than sugar, which is why when so many people start using honey as a sweetener instead, they swear by it. It has more flavor than just sweetness, though that is a very important part, and raw honey isn’t processed the way white sugar is.
This means that it comes with important nutrients you wouldn’t find it white sugar, such as amino acids, enzymes, vitamins, and the 31 minerals. As established, this is far from the only health benefit of honey.
For example, honey doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels, while white sugar does. While the latter is made up entirely of sugars such as fructose and glucose, sugars only make up 85% of honey— the other 15% is devoted to water and things that are very good for you!
15% may not seem like a whole lot, but it’s far superior to 0%, and honey has a lot more going for it.
In addition to using honey as a sweetener instead of sugar, another great idea would be for you to look into snacks with honey as an ingredient rather than junk food or any sort of treat with too many added sugars or fats.
You could even look up recipes and bake one yourself, but luckily you don’t have to! Simple Botanics Simple Squares are the perfect honey-based, sweet snack to have between meals, as a healthy dessert, or a quick snack to grab while you’re on your way out the door.
Recently returned to the Simple Botanics website with a new look and two new flavors are these popular snacks— back and better than ever! You can purchase a box of twelve Honey Nut or Chocolate Chip Honey Nut squares for only $23.99. Each is only 190 calories, and they’re individually wrapped.
In addition, the Simple Squares are non-GMO, dairy free, soy free, gluten free, and refined sugar free— the only sweetening ingredients in these snacks are honey and vanilla, plus chocolate chips in the aptly titled second flavor.
If you haven’t been won over by all of the health benefits of honey, let the taste convince you. Once you try it, you won’t want to make the switch back to eating plain old sugar, and nor should you, when honey is so much healthier and far more natural!