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Appreciating Nature: The Health Benefits of Honey

My mom sent me bottles of pure honey yesterday together with packs of cashew nuts from our province. That’s typical of mothers I guess – always sending something to their children to show affection. It’s really heartwarming whenever I got packages from my mom via door-to-door delivery. I remember during my college days, when I’m striving to finish college and living in a boarding house all by myself, my mom used to send almost anything from our town in Occidental Mindoro– onions, sampaloc, pastillas, dried fish, cashew fruits, vegetables etc. It was always carefully and meticulously wrapped, and you will always find a handwritten note, always reminding me to take care of myself especially my health.

By the way, I am writing this post about the health benefits of honey. Although my mom, during our growing up years used to give us a few spoonfuls of honey with calamansi before bedtime, many of my town folks are ignorant of honey’s health and beauty benefits. It’s one of the luxuries of our town but often unappreciated and overlooked. I say luxury because when I’m checking out bottles of commercial honey in a grocery store, I can’t believe it cost that much. In our town, our Mangyan brothers are harvesting honey in the wild forest of Mindoro, then cheaply sell it in town or most of the time in exchange for used clothes or rice.

Our town is blessed by nature with this wonderful product, so I want to share this especially to all Mindoreños. Lets appreciate what nature is giving us and take extra measures to protect our forests.

The health benefits of honey:

1. Energy booster–Honey gives you that extra rush of energy when needed, the same way energy drinks affect the body. The glucose in it is quickly absorbed by the body for an instant spike in energy level while the fructose takes it time to be absorbed in order for the energy to be sustained for prolonged periods of time.

2. Detoxifying agent–Honey is actually a cleansing tonic that improves the health of the digestive system, making it easier for the body to fight diseases. Its antioxidant and antibacterial components help boost the immune system while clearing the passages of harmful toxins and microbes.

3. Antioxidant–Honey contains powerful compounds that fight free radicals and aid in slowing down and reversing the effects of aging. Generally, antioxidants neutralize free radicals and heal tissues on the cellular level, therefore, protecting the body from aging from the inside out. A study published by the University of California concluded that honey contains antioxidants comparable to spinach, apples, oranges and strawberries.

4. Skin protectant–Honey has been historically linked to protecting the skin against irritants. It has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that disinfects and promotes the healing of wounds and burns. The University of Sydney stated in a study that honey should be used as a “first choice” in dressing wounds instead of it being the “last resort” because of its superior antimicrobial properties.

5. Natural skincare product–Honey also helps in achieving smooth, soft, nourished skin due to its rich mineral, vitamin and amino acid content. Further, a University of Amsterdam study found it to be “a promising topical antimicrobial agent for prevention or treatment of infections, including those caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria.” This means that honey may actually be used to treat acne and pimples.

6. Weight loss aid–Honey has high calorie and sugar contents, but curiously, it doesn’t seem to affect the body in a negative way. According to the USDA Agriculture Research Service, the body tolerates honey better than table sugar and doesn’t gain weight from it. The University of California published a study reporting that consuming buckwheat honey on a daily basis for a month does not cause weight gain. This proves that honey can be a table sugar-substitute for individuals aiming to lose weight.

7. Hangover remedy–Honey contains the natural sugar, fructose, which helps the liver in speedily oxidizing alcohol. The Web site recommends drinking 15ml honey with 80ml orange juice and 70ml natural yogurt to minimize the effects of a hangover.

8. Cough remedy–Honey has soothing qualities that relieves minor sore throats and coughs. The Pennsylvania State College of Medicine found honey to be more effective in curing nighttime coughs in children than over-the-counter cough medicines.

9. Sleeping aid–Honey is suggested to promote better sleeping patterns with regular consumption. Although no study has directly linked it to curing insomnia or improved bedtime habits, the classic combination of warm milk and honey has been traditionally used to relieve sleep problems. This can be attributed to the presence of tryptophan, a natural relaxant that reduces anxiety and aids in regulating cholesterol levels.

10. Dietary supplement–Honey can be used as a regular dietary supplement, with or without the need for any specific function like those mentioned above. Fruits and vegetables lose large amounts of their vitamins as early as 24 hours after being harvested. Honey, on the other hand, retains all its benefits without an expiration date. The vitamin and mineral content of honey varies depending on the flower used to cultivate it. But most variants contain high levels of vitamins C and B-complex, essential minerals and at least half a dozen of amino acids.

Additional info: Honey may aid conception - Known as the Nectar of the Gods, honey has long been held in esteem for its medicinal and antiviral properties but, according to at least one beekeeper and several researchers around the world, it is also of great benefit for people struggling to conceive. Ayurveda has been advising honey as a medication for men with problems of impotence and women with problems related to infertility



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