Updated: Jun 3, 2021
HONEY - AN ANCIENT FORM OF HEALTHY EATING
Honey is a rather miraculous food that has been in use since the earliest days of human history. It was referenced in an ancient cuneiform text from Babylonia, used to create mead (the nectar of the gods), and according to legend, was used by Cupid as well (to dip his arrows into before shooting them at unsuspecting lovers). Throughout history, honey has been prescribed for nearly every ailment imaginable, having served as a pain reliever, laxative, sleeping aid, and even a cure for snake bites.
HONEY IS HEALTHY SCIENCE
While many of these supposed healing properties have long since been discredited, there are many benefits that modern science has confirmed. For example, honey's value as an anti-fungal or anti-bacterial treatment holds sway, given that bees add an enzyme to the mixture that creates hydrogen peroxide. Likewise, honey's helpfulness in treating sore throats and coughs has been repeatedly validated, with some studies showing it to be more effective than mainstream cough medicine. If you are suffering from throat irritation, try making a hot herbal tea (caffeinated tea can have adverse effects here) and stirring in a teaspoon of honey.
BEYOND MEDICINE, HONEY IS JUST GOOD, HEALTHY FOOD
Honey is a healthy food even aside from its medicinal utility. Honey contains antioxidants (flavonoids) which have been linked to a reduced risk of strokes, heart attacks, and some cancers. It has also demonstrated effectiveness in lowering blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels. And since honey can remain fresh indefinitely when sealed and stored in a dry spot, it's an excellent sweetener for people who are allergic to food additives and other preservatives.
PASS ON THAT ARTIFICIAL SWEETENER
When used as a replacement for artificial sweeteners or white sugar, honey can also help the body to better regulate its blood sugar levels. The composition of pure sugar is so simple that it is almost immediately broken down, causing a spike in blood glucose levels which then gets converted into fat if not burned off. Honey, while also composed of the simple sugars glucose and fructose, contains other sugars that are more complex, as well as dextrin, a type of fiber. This unique composition means that honey requires more energy to break it down, thus providing less of a jolt to the body's blood glucose levels.
QUALITY MATTERS - AND DON VICTOR KNOWS THIS WELL
As with practically any other food, the quality matters. Many commercial honey products are actually diluted with syrup or harvested from pesticide-ridden flowers, thus greatly lessening their beneficial impact. To get the maximum benefit from your honey, look for local, farmer's market varieties or organic honey that was produced from flowers free of pesticides and herbicides. Choosing the right honey to replace your normal sweeteners is an excellent way to enhance the quality of your food and improve your health.
EVERYTHING IN MODERATION, EVEN HONEY!
While honey is certainly a better sweetener than sugar, it is still a sweetener and should, therefore, be consumed in moderation. However, using honey to replace the normal use of white sugar or artificial sweeteners is an excellent step toward a healthier lifestyle.
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