The health benefits of honey are known for centuries, but there is still much to learn about its medicinal properties. Honey contains a number of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and other antioxidants that can help fight off diseases and improve general health. One type of antioxidant called pinocembrin is found exclusively in honey. Research showed that pinocembrin can protect brain cells against damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease.
Honey is considered a superfood and is certainly worth adding to your diet if you’re looking for an all-natural way to get healthy and stay healthy. However, not all types of honey are the same. Some types of honey have higher amounts of certain properties that make them more beneficial in terms of health benefits.
Is every Honey healthy?
Most economically priced honeys in the supermarket are blends from different sources and filtered. Because these honeys contain no pollen, it is not possible to trace their origin. As a survey conducted in 2011 by Food Safety News showed, 76% from 60 types of honey sold in US supermarkets did not contain any traces of pollen. In 2020, China was the biggest producer of honey with 458 thousand metric tons. Mass-produced honey is often nothing more than pure sugar solution. This is because bees are fed sugar solution or high fructose corn syrup to produce a larger yield.
Honey contains living nutrients, beneficial bacteria and enzymes. The synergy of these living nutrients give honey a variety of significant health benefits. Honey bees keep their hive at a constant temperature. If the temperature exceeds 37C-40C/99F-104F, it kills the living nutrients, and puts the survival of the hive in serious peril. Mass-produced honey is pasteurized at 75C/160F to prevent crystallization. At these temperatures, all beneficial living nutrients are killed. This leaves the consumer with no benefits apart from a potential sugar rush.
Most supermarkets nowadays have a health food section that sells honey from local beekeepers, or speciality honeys, like raw honey, Manuka honey, or single sourced honey. Mono-floral or single sourced honey is made from only one type of flower. As a result, the honey has the unique flavor and characteristics of a particular blossom, like lavender honey for example. In a 2017 study, scientists tested 6 types of mono-floral honey. These included Acacia honey from Hungary, Orange honey from Mexico, Lavender honey from Spain, blueberry honey from Canada, and lychee honey from China. They found that the protein content, as well as Vitamins B1, B2, and C were notably different from general honey. In addition, they were rich in a various flavonoids, had stronger anti-oxidant activities, as well as having anti-hypertensive (the ability to lower high blood pressure) and anti-allergic activities.
Health Benefits of Acacia Honey
Acacia honey is a mono-floral honey made from the nectar of the Robinia pseudoacacia flower (also known as black locust or false acacia tree). It has a sweet, delicate flavor with a flowery aroma. Compared with traditional honey, acacia honey stays liquid longer and crystallizes much slower due to its higher fructose content.
According to a 2016 study, high purity acacia honey contains some bioactive compounds that include vitamins, phenolics, flavonoids and fatty acids. It is highly nutritional and has strong antioxidant and immuno-modulatory potentials. According to the study it could be a potential candidate for cancer prevention as well as cancer treatment. In addition, it was found to be viable for neurological illnesses, such as management of Alzheimer’s disease.
Orange Honey Health Benefits
As the name suggests, orange honey is made from orange flowers that bloom in March. The light golden, almost white colored honey has a delicate citrus taste and beautiful fragrance that is relaxing, refreshing and stimulating. It is high in vitamin C and has many trace minerals like boron, calcium, copper, manganese, magnesium, selenium, potassium, zinc and sodium. All of these are essential for our body functions.
High in a variety of natural antioxidants, it is also anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-cancer, anti-septic, and supports the immune system. It has a stronger anti-microbal effect than regular honey and is often used to treat acne and scars. Orange honey has a calming effect and can help with infections of the respiratory tract, which makes it effective for colds and the flu.
It is also used to soothe and suppress muscle spasms, soothe stomach aches, and help in wound healing. When used for bacterial infections, it becomes even more potent when mixed with propolis and ginger.
Lavender honey is a true powerhouse of health benefits. Like all honeys, lavender honey contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals. The medium-sweet, white to yellow colored, mono-floral honey has a higher content of Tyrosine amino acid compared to other honey varieties. Tyrosine is an essential component for the production of neurotransmitters, including epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine, thus acting as a mood enhancer. Lavender honey is thought to be effective for calcium deficiency issues, as well as osteoporosis.
Lavender honey has a very high amount of antioxidants that help combat free radicals. These are generated as byproducts when food is converted into energy and our cells are constantly exposed to these damaging free radicals. According to the National Institute of Health free radicals can cause a variety of diseases. These include diseases like cancer, atherosclerosis, inflammatory joint disease, asthma, diabetes, and senile dementia as well as others. They also play a significant role in biological aging.
Luteolin is another antioxidant found in lavender honey, which neutralizes some free radicals and helps limit their damaging effects. This antioxidant can help boost the immune system, promote healthy blood glucose levels, and protect from UV radiation.
Blueberry Honey Benefits
Mono-floral blueberry Honey is another speciality honey loaded with health benefits. It is also high in antioxidants, vitamins C and K, fiber, iron, calcium, potassium and the trace mineral manganese. Manganese helps fight free radicals and is necessary for the brain and nerves to function normal. It plays a vital role to form bones and connective tissue, blood clotting factors, sex hormones, and also in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation.
Research found that blueberry honey can reduce colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. Leading author of the University of California study, Dr. Robert Hecht, suggested that blueberry honey is potentially beneficial to prevent or treat inflammatory diseases, like arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. Blueberry honey´s antibacterial properties have a soothing and calming effect for sore throats and upset stomachs. In addition, it boosts immune function, stabilizes blood pressure and balances blood sugar levels. Topically applied, blueberry honey is also known to be beneficial for healing skin conditions and wounds.
Lychee Honey Benefits
Lychee has been used in Chinese traditional medicine for centuries. It is said to be slightly sweeter than other honey varieties. The fruity flavored liquid, dark golden to amber colored honey crystallizes quickly. It is rich in bioactive compounds, such as polysaccharides, polyphenols, and proanthocyanidins (flavenoids). These give Lychee honey its anti-diabetic effect. It curbs α-glucosidase activities, which are enzymes in the digestive tract that hydrolyze carbohydrates into glucose. These are are widely used in the treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes. It is also suggested that the antioxidants and flavonoids present in lychee have anticancer effects.
Lychee honey is high in potassium and vitamin C. It also contains iron, vitamin B6 and magnesium. It boosts the immune system, it is anti-viral and is effective in treating colds and fly symptoms. Like the other mono-floral honeys, it is soothing and calming for the digestive tract and may help with hypertension.
Manuka Honey Health Benefits
Over the last decade, manuka honey has gained massive popularity due to its health benefits. Manuka only grows in New Zealand and parts of Australia. The Maori used manuka honey to heal different ailments for centuries. For an in-depth check our blog ´All about Manuka Honey´.
Health Benefits of Raw Honey
Raw honey is considered the most beneficial type of honey. Unlike other types of honey, raw honey is unpasteurized and unprocessed. Raw honey is strained before bottling to remove impurities like dead bees, parts of bees, and bits of wax but otherwise. It contains pollen and propolis, with all valuable nutrients and bacteria still active. It can help reduce inflammation associated with heart disease, allergies, and other medical conditions.
Raw honey is an incredible natural antibacterial with many medicinal benefits, including wound healing and protection. Studies have shown that honey has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It prevents bacteria contamination in wounds as well as reduce inflammation with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents. Additionally, honey can act like a film on the surface of wounds to prevent infection, accelerate new tissue growth and even scar prevention—all of which are key elements in wound healing. Its antibacterial properties make honey an important tool for aiding wound healing and protection.
Sore throats can be a common, bothersome discomfort and while they may resolve on their own, there are a few remedies that can help soothe soreness and reduce inflammation. Gargling with warm salt water is an age-old remedy used to flush out bacteria from the throat and reduce inflammation from soreness or bronchitis. Adding honey to the mix not only provides sweetness to the salty solution but also provides antibacterial effects for further soothing. For added sore throat comfort, sip on hot herbal teas throughout the day and enjoy natural flavors of honey, lemon, ginger and cinnamon.
Raw Honey can improve your digestion
Honey is a naturally occurring sweetener with digestive benefits! Don’t just take our word for it, research has found that honey can actually help digestive problems. From stomach upsets to digestive disorders, like heliobacter pyloris and constipation, there are several ways that honey can improve digestive health. Not only does honey contain probiotic characteristics, but its anti-inflammatory properties can create a soothing atmosphere in the gut. Mix a spoonful of honey each day into your smoothie or warm cup of tea and start noticing the digestive benefits. You may even see an improvement in your overall eating habits due to the digestive health improvements that honey provides. Give it a try today and experience the digestive boosting power of natural honey!
Honey is generally safe for people to consume, although it should not be given to infants under the age of 12 months. Honey can contain traces of a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum, which can cause botulism, a rare form of food poisoning. The digestive system of infants is not yet sufficiently developed to fight off these bacteria.
Although rare, people with a severe allergy to bees or bee products should always consult a doctor or allergist before consuming or using raw honey. Despite of the health benefits of honey it is strongly advised never to self-diagnose and always consult a medical professional. Honey is not a substitute for medication subscribed by a doctor!