9 Surprising Science-Based Health Benefits Of Honey
Long before mass-produced candy, people satisfied their sweet tooth with sweet, sticky honey. Of course, obtaining honey in those days was not simply a matter of purchasing a jar at a local health food store; honey had to be located and, whether wild or domestic, it had to be harvested with great care.
That is why honey came to be highly prized, and for other reasons, too – people treasured honey for its unprecedented health benefits that made the risks involved in obtaining it well worth it.
So today I share with you nine health benefits of honey that may surprise you. This is one sweet treat that’s good for your bones and whole body!
The Amazing Process Of Honey Production
Honey is not produced in a factory or with industrial machinery. In fact, there is no way to replicate the work of the honeybee, which is an intricate and remarkable process.
Honeybees gather flower nectar with tireless effort – it takes about 60,000 bees and two million flowers to obtain enough nectar for one pound of honey.
Bees store this nectar in a special stomach, where it mixes with enzymes before the bee regurgitates it into the mouth of another bee. They pass the nectar along in this way until it’s digested to the point that it can be used to feed the bee larvae in the hive. The partially digested nectar is then regurgitated into the chambers of the hive’s honeycombs.
The bees then fan the nectar with their wings to evaporate some of the moisture and thicken it, and then they seal it with beeswax. Beekeepers must remove this wax seal to release and gather the honey.
When you consider the process, it makes even the most expensive types of honey seem like a bargain! And you’ll be even more amazed when you learn about some of the health benefits of this remarkable – and delicious – substance.
9 Benefits Of Honey
As we delve into the positive attributes of honey, please bear in mind that the most beneficial form of honey is raw and unfiltered, and locally produced if possible. Honey that’s been heated will lose much of its healthful components, especially enzymes, and some commercial honeys have sugar or corn syrup added to them.
Honey is a humectant, which means it applies and holds moisture to your skin. Its antimicrobial properties help soothe skin infections like acne. You can apply it directly, mix it with some sweet almond oil, or use it as an ingredient in a moisturizing cleanser. You can get a recipe here:
2. Boosts Energy
When the “afternoon slump” hits or you’re feeling sluggish in the morning, honey offers an alternative pick-me-up to bone-damaging snacks like candy bars, snack cakes, or sugary coffee drinks. As a high-carbohydrate food, honey is an alkalizing source of quick energy. Try it stirred into a cup of tea, or simply eat a one teaspoonful our of the jar.
A word of caution, however – you don’t want to become dependent on honey for your energy, thereby consuming it daily in large spoonfuls. Rather, honey should be consumed in moderation, and used for a boost of energy only occasionally. Healthful as it is, honey does increase blood glucose levels (hence the energy boost), which has a big impact on bone health.
For more on blood glucose and how it affects your bone density, check out one of our articles on this topic: Top 6 Foods That Balance Your Blood Sugar And Protect Your Bones.
3. Soothes Reflux
Sadly, acid reflux is a common problem that is on the rise in industrialized nations. Yet honey may hold promise as a treatment for this uncomfortable condition.
Chronic reflux can bring about inflammation of the upper gastrointestinal tract known as oesophagitis. A pilot study examined the effect of honey on mucositis, a painful, ulcerative condition of the mucous membranes of the digestive tract. The results are promising:
“Based on our results that showed that honey produced faster healing in patients with grade 2/3 chemotherapy-induced mucositis, we recommend using honey and possibly other bee products and olive oil in future therapeutic trials targeting chemotherapy-induced mucositis.”1
Another review notes that “honey leads to fast healing in patients with oral mucositis and is used in treating otorhinolaryngeal infections.”2
4. Promotes Healthy Gums
We’ve all heard that sugar is bad for our teeth, and for good reason. Refined sugar products are bad for your teeth. But honey’s antibacterial effects make this sweet treat a gum-healthy indulgence.
Research shows that honey has a remarkable ability to prevent and reduce plaque and decrease bleeding associated with gingivitis.3
5. Fights Eczema
Dry, flaky, inflamed skin characterizes this uncomfortable condition. According to a comprehensive 2016 review published in the Journal of Microbiology, Immunology and Infection, honey is “a realistic antimicrobial for disorders of the skin.”4
The review includes a chart showing the effectiveness of honey against the following skin-relevant microbes: MRSA, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichi a coli, Candida albicans, and dermatophytes.
6. Improves Scalp Health
Honey can even be used to treat dandruff. Study subjects suffering from seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff applied honey diluted with water to their scalps every other day, rubbing the solution in gently for two to three minutes, leaving it on for three hours, and then rinsing with warm water.
“All the patients responded markedly with application of honey. Itching was relieved and scaling was disappeared within one week. Skin lesions were healed and disappeared completely within two weeks. In addition, patients showed subjective improvement in hair loss”…“It might be concluded that crude honey could markedly improve seborrheic dermatitis and associated hair loss and prevent relapse when applied weekly.”5
What a sweet way to overcome dandruff!
7. Sharpens Memory
Memory loss and brain fog can be a frustrating aspect of menopause, and synthetic estrogen and progestin are often prescribed to relieve symptoms. At the Save Institute, however, hormone therapy is not recommended. Rather, we advocate supporting the body through its natural changes, including the normal dwindling of hormones with age.
Honey is a good support mechanism for such life changes. When the effects of honey on postmenopausal women’s memories was studied, the findings were very encouraging:
“Postmenopausal women who received tualang honey showed improvement in their immediate memory…comparable with the improvement seen in women receiving estrogen plus progestin therapy.”6
Honey makes excellent “brain food” not only because of its carbohydrate content, but also because it is a rich source of polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants. Scientists are just beginning to understand the mighty impact of these nutrients, and studies have confirmed that antioxidants are excellent (actually, essential) for bone health and neurological integrity.
8. Helps To Relieve Allergy Symptoms
It’s spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and that’s a time when some people suffer from seasonal allergies. While it is well-known that honey does help to relieve cough, this sweet treat is a bit controversial as an allergy reliever. Studies are inconclusive on this, but many people have found that local honey helps them get through the allergy season without resorting to drugs. The beneficial effects may be in the pollen present in the honey – exposure to small amounts of an allergen have been shown to produce an immunity to that allergen. This is the same principle that allergy shots are based on.
9. Aids Sleep
Unfortunately, insomnia is an ever-growing plague that is often treated with bone-damaging drugs. Instead, try one teaspoon of honey before bedtime.
Here is why honey can help you fall asleep. When you taste its sweetness, your insulin levels respond by increasing. Higher insulin signals the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in your body’s ability to fall asleep. In fact, your body converts serotonin into melatonin, a well-known, sleep-inducing hormone.7
Additionally, because the glucose to fructose ratio in honey is an average of 1:1, the fructose derivatives in the liver induce the release of glucokinase, which is necessary for the conversion of glucose into glycogen. So instead of storing glucose as fat, the liver stores glycogen that can be utilized during sleep.
Honey also contains amino acids that contribute to the manufacture of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps control mood, anxiety, and sleep cycles. Mixing a teaspoon of honey with relaxing herbal tea, such as chamomile or lemongrass, would be particularly effective. Or include a small sprinkle of honey with other sleep-promoting foods, like almonds and bananas.
Avoidance of prescription sleep aids is not the only reason to seek out natural, bone-smart methods for getting a good night’s sleep. Scientists at the Medical College of Wisconsin found that lack of sleep can actually lead to osteoporosis.8 Your body needs “down time” in order to build bone, because a great deal of bone repair and remodeling happens while you sleep.
The Uncommon Treatment
It may surprise you to learn that lifestyle factors such as getting adequate sleep, eating specific foods, and fostering a positive attitude can have a big impact on your bone health. Your doctor is not likely to mention any of them, because these “uncommon treatments” are simply unknown (or blatantly ignored) by the Medical Establishment.
The Save Our Bones Program reveals and explores the science behind the little-known factors that contribute to osteoporosis and osteopenia, and shows you step by step how to reverse these conditions without drugs that, ultimately, damage your bones even further.
The Save Our Bones Program is exhaustively researched and full of “ah-ha” moments that will leave you incredulous but very optimistic. There’s a better way to rebuild and restore your bones, and your whole body will benefit!
Stop Worrying About Your Bone Loss
Join thousands of Savers from around the world who have reversed or prevented their bone loss naturally and scientifically with the Save Our Bones Program.
1Abdulrhman, M., et al. “Honey and a mixture of honey, beeswax, and olive oil-propolis extract in treatment of chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis: a randomized controlled pilot study.” Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 29. 3. (2012): 285-92. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22475306
2Math, Mahantayya, V., Khadkikar, Rita M., and Kattimani, Yashoda R. “Honey – A nutrient with medicinal property in reflux oesophagitis.” Indian J Med Res. 138. 6. (2013): 1020-1021. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3978955/
3English, H.K., Pack, A.R., and Molan, P.C. “The effects of manuka honey on plaque and gingivitis: a pilot study.” J Int Acad Periodontol. 6. 2. (2004): 63-7. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15125017
4McLoone, Pauline, Warnock, Mary, and Fyfe, Lorna. “Honey: A realistic antimicrobial for disorders of the skin.” Journal of Microbiology, Immunology and Infection. 49. 2. (2016): 161-167. Web. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S168411821500033X
5Al-Waili, N.S. “Therapeutic and prophylactic effects of crude honey on chronic seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff.” Eur J Med Res. 6. 7. (2001): 306-8. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11485891
6Othman, Z., et al. “Improvement in immediate memory after 16 weeks of tualang honey (Agro Mas) supplement in healthy postmenopausal women.” Menopause. 18. 11. (2011): 1219-24. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21926932
7Wedad Mahmood L. Al-Obaide. Tikrit Journal of Pure Science. Volume 21, No 2 (2016). Web: http://main.tu-jo.com/ojs/index.php/TJPS/article/view/39
8C. A. Everson, A. E. Folley, J. M. Toth. “Chronically inadequate sleep results in abnormal bone formation and abnormal bone marrow in rats.” Experimental Biology and Medicine. 237. 9. (2012): 1101.