Honey: Benefits and Uncommon Uses

Honey: Benefits and Uncommon Uses

The sweet and delicious, thick liquid from runny to creamed in texture to almost clear and dark brown in colour… We enjoy it with our tea, with Greek yoghurt, or as part of a dinner recipe. We’re talking about honey, indeed!

Did you know that honey’s quality has nothing to do with its colour? The colour actually depends on the source of nectar and can range from water white to dark brown to almost black. Light coloured honey may originate from citrus blossoms, while darker coloured honey may derive from the nectar of avocado blossoms or wildflowers.

Honey seems to be a quick grab-from-the-shelf product nowadays, but it has been used as both food and medicine since ancient times. It contains several health benefits and can be used as a substitute for refined sugar. We’re sharing some fantastic benefits of honey and some uses you weren’t probably aware of. 😉

Benefits of Honey

Before we dive into the benefits of honey, we should probably share how valuable honey is with a few fun facts… Bees try really hard, but still, an average bee produces only about one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey throughout its entire lifetime; for every 0,4kg, honeybees must tap over two million flowers; and bees are the only insects that produce a substance that’s edible by humans. Incredible, right?

Okay, let’s see why honey is so healthy!

  • Nutrients: 1 tablespoon of honey contains 64 calories and 17 grams of sugar, including fructose, glucose, maltose, and sucrose, but virtually it contains no fibre, fat, or protein. It also contains trace amounts of vitamins and minerals.
  • Antioxidants: High-quality honey contains many important antioxidants, which include organic acids and phenolic compounds like flavonoids. These antioxidants are linked to reducing the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and some types of cancer. It promotes eye health too.
  • Diabetes: Studies show that honey improves heart disease risk factors in people with diabetes. It’s slightly better than refined sugar as it also increases blood sugar levels, just not as much as sugar.
  • Blood Pressure: Eating honey may lead to modest blood pressure reductions, which is a significant risk factor for heart disease.
  • Cholesterol: Studies show that honey improves cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis – the fatty buildup in arteries that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
  • Triglycerides: Honey consumption is linked with lower triglyceride levels (also associated with insulin resistance, a major driver of type 2 diabetes) when replaced with sugar.
  • Heart Health: Honey helps dilate arteries increasing blood flow to the heart and prevents blood clot formation.
  • Wound Healing: Since ancient Egypt, and still common today, topical honey treatment is known to heal wounds and burns. It can also be used to treat diabetic foot ulcers to prevent possible amputations. It’s believed that its healing powers come from its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects as well as its ability to nourish surrounding tissue.
  • Coughs: Children coughing from upper respiratory infections, is common and can affect sleep. Honey proves to be a better choice and more effective than mainstream medications.
  • It’s Delicious, but… it’s still high in calories and sugar. Even though it’s a healthier alternative to sugar, it should be consumed in moderation. Nevertheless, honey is a far less harmful sweetener than sugar.
Other Uncommon Uses for Honey

You can do some research on any of the below, but believe it or not, honey has some hidden superpowers too, such as:

  • A drop of honey in tea is good for a sore throat.
  • Add it to a fruit salad to enhance the sugars in fruit.
  • Add it to a facial because it’s a natural humectant with antimicrobial properties.
  • Take a tablespoon before a workout to boost athletic performance.
  • Get rid of a hangover with honey on toast to help speed the metabolism of alcohol.
  • Have fruits to preserve? Forget about jam; just use honey sauce.
  • Dry elbows? Rub some honey and leave on for 30min and wash off for softer skin.
  • A bit of honey can be used for less frizzy and extra conditioned hair.
  • Add a few drops of honey in the bath for relaxation. Pure bliss!
  • Replace sugar with honey in your diet for weight loss – it speeds up metabolism.

Enjoy your honey this month, Sandton. Remember, all things in moderation…