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I love raw honey! It is one of my preferred sweeteners, especially since I opt for natural ways to sweeten the foods and beverages I drink. Most people are familiar with what honey is. The wonderful, rich, golden, sticky nectar made by hardworking bees has been used for thousands of years as food.
But it is far more than just a food sweetener. Ancient cultures knew of the healing power of honey and used it as medicine. And it has some pretty great health benefits!
Like many other empaths, I struggle with a lot of chemical sensitivities. Because of that, I experience a whole lot more side effects from medications than the majority of people. Even over-the-counter medications can make me feel pretty yucky. So I always look for natural ways to support my health when necessary. And honey is one tool that I always keep in the cupboard.
Skip conventional store bought varieties!
Now there is a caveat about the type of honey you buy. Skip the highly processed, store-bought varieties! These versions have typically been pasteurized with high heat, which can destroy many of the very things in the honey that offer such great health benefits. Also, make sure that the honey doesn’t contain any chemical additives. You want your honey as pure as possible!
When purchasing honey, choose a brand that is local and raw. To get the best benefits, you want a honey that has been harvested within 50 miles of where you live. You also want honey that has not been pasteurized or filtered. You can often find local honey at local farmer’s markets and health food stores, but don’t forget to check your local supermarket too. Many grocery store chains carry some local foods and may have local honey available. I purchased my most recent bottle of local honey from a large supermarket chain. Of course, if you have a beekeeper close, you can probably get some from them as well!
So how does raw honey benefit your health?
That is the million-dollar question! Before we get into the details, let’s talk about some of the basic properties of honey. One tablespoon of honey has 64 calories. But unlike refined sugar, honey isn’t high glycemic, so it won’t spike your blood sugar. Raw honey is rich in nutrients. It contains amino acids, minerals, and enzymes. It also contains bee pollen and propolis which benefit health unless there is an allergy present.
Antioxidants help to prevent cell damage by attacking the free radicals that go after cells and create the oxidative stress that causes damage. A diet rich in antioxidants reduces oxidative stress and can help to prevent chronic illnesses and slow down aging. It’s even more important for empaths to get plenty of antioxidants in their diet. Stress contributes to the creation of free radicals which in turn damage the body. And we deal with a WHOLE lot of stress as a result of our sensitivity! So including honey in your diet can definitely help to prevent any damage to our sensitive systems.
Promotes weight loss
Studies have shown that people who replace refined white sugar with honey may actually lose weight and lower blood sugar levels. Of course, honey is lower on the glycemic index than white sugar. And it won’t boost your blood sugar levels. But a study out of the University of Washington showed that honey helps to suppress appetite-related hormones that can lead to overeating. Weight gain is an issue for many empaths! Helping to encourage weight loss naturally is a big plus in my book!
May help prevent heart disease
Remembers those antioxidants? One of the things they can do is to help heart health. Most importantly, eating a diet that is rich in antioxidants can help to prevent heart disease.
Helps with pollen allergies
Seasonal pollen-related allergies are no fun! I have struggled with seasonal allergies for decades. But over-the-counter meds are too much for my sensitive body and dry me out to the point that I can barely talk because my throat is so dry. And that is with only a half dose! And let’s not even talk about how sleepy those meds can make me! The good news is that honey has been shown to reduce the symptoms of allergic rhinitis…also known as hay fever. I use it along with saline nasal rinses to keep symptoms away!
Helps calm a cough
It’s annoying when you have a tickle in your throat that leads to an all-out coughing fit. But that’s often what happens when viruses take hold. Instead of reaching for cough syrup, reach for the raw honey instead. Studies have shown that honey is more effective than two of the most common cough suppressants used in over-the-counter cough medicines. I can personally vouch for its effectiveness. As I wrote this post, I was dealing with a mild upper respiratory infection that came with an annoying cough. In fact, it was that infection that inspired this post! Taking local, raw honey allowed me to sleep through the night with very minimal coughing. Getting a good night’s sleep gives the body more opportunity to heal. When facing a cough, I now keep my little bear honey bottle on the table near me and squirt a little in my mouth occasionally throughout the day and it truly has been a lifesaver!
Good for gut health
Gut health is important for your overall health. And anything you can do to help boost the health of your good gut bacteria is great! Honey has been shown to reduce toxicity caused by mycotoxins. These toxins are caused by a type of mold that is commonly found on foods such as nuts, cereal grains, spices, coffee, apples. Mycotoxins can damage your good gut bacteria. Left unchecked, these toxins can lower your immune system function or even contribute to cancer. But this study has shown that honey actually prevents the harmful effects of these toxins and promotes healthy gut bacteria!
Helps with wound healing
Honey has natural anti-bacterial properties and can be used to help heal wounds and burns. Honey naturally produces hydrogen peroxide when combined with the fluids of the skin. This creates an environment that discourages the growth of bacteria that cause infections. Putting some raw honey on a bandage before dressing the wound can help it heal more effectively.
Honey is an amazing functional food. It is far more than just a sweetener. Including it in your diet regularly can help you stay healthy!