If you are looking for an alternative to sugar, look no further than honey, one of the oldest sweeteners in the world. While both honey and sugar are high caloric foods, honey offers many benefits that sugar simply does not.
Honey has been at the top of the superfood list for many years due to its ability to treat countless health conditions, as well as boost overall health.
Flower nectar that has been transformed by bees through regurgitation, honey has an unusual chemical composition that keeps it from ever spoiling.
In fact, perfectly preserved jars of honey have been found in ancient Egyptian remains, proving that honey is indeed incapable of spoiling.
Health Benefits of Honey
Perhaps one of the most surprising benefits of honey is its ability to suppress coughs and ease colds. Raw honey, high in nutrients and enzymes, helps to relieve colds by killing bacteria and viruses.
The soothing syrup also relieves sore throats and stops coughing by helping to reduce the tickle in the back of the throat that stimulates coughing.
In fact, in a 2007 study conducted by Penn State College of Medicine, honey outperformed the cough suppressant dextromethorphan in calming nighttime coughs in children.
Children 12 months and younger should not be given honey however, since honey can contain the bacteria that triggers infant botulism.
Honey contains a small amount of a wide variety of vitamins and minerals including niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
Some varieties of honey also contain a considerable amount of good bacteria, which makes it an excellent source of gut-friendly probiotics.
Using honey provides more nutrients for your calories instead of sugar, making it flavor the healthier choice.
Honey has been utilized as an all natural alternative allergy treatment for many years due to its anti-allergenic properties.
Many allergy sufferers swear by honey’s ability to fight allergies with its anti-inflammatory effects and ability to soothe an itchy throat and cough.
It is recommended to use local honey, which will contain pollens pores from the bees in your area, in order to combat the allergen.
Introducing the allergen into your system will prompt your immune system and over time, your system will build an immunity to it.
In this case, it is vital to use raw, local honey, that way you are fighting the allergens in your area and not from somewhere else in the world.
Treats Wounds and Kills Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria
Due to its antibacterial, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties, honey has been used to treat and fight infections for centuries.
These anti-bacterial properties are due to the enzyme that bees add to honey that creates hydrogen peroxide. One particular afterward that honey has shown a positive reactions towards is MRSA, a drug-resistant bacteria that is common in hospitals.
In fact, an excellent has shown that it could be even more effective than antibiotics in many cases due to the way honey can prevent and fight off serious skin infections.
With injuries such as cuts and scrapes, bacteria can penetrate the wound and cause infections, but honey has been found to destroy certain types of bacteria, preventing any possible infection.
Honey can also remove pus, scabs, and dead tissues from wounds fairly painless while also stimulating new tissues growth.
This has led to honey being used in the successful treatment of burns, helping to ward off any infections while simultaneously helping to heal the burned skin.
Great Workout Fuel
Many athletes use sugar-laden sports drinks and gels for a carbohydrate boost to fuel their bodies before and after an event as well as for muscle recovery afterwards.
With 17 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon, honey is an excellent all-natural source of energy that is far better than any commercial product due to the added nutrients it provides.
Try eating a snack with honey before and after workouts to boost your performance or even a honey stick during the event to help maintain your glycogen levels.
Keeping your glycogen levels steady throughout an endurance event will keep your energy level up and prevent you from crashing mid-way through your routine.
Fights Scalp and Dandruff Issues
Honey has been found to relieve itching and scaling in the scalp when applied as a hair mask. The moisturizing properties of honey help to combat dry scalp by healing skin lesions and when regularly used can help prevent future dryness.
Is Honey Better Than Sugar?
It is fairly clear that while both white sugar and honey have relatively the same amount of calories per serving, the health benefits of honey far outweigh any provided by sugar.
Honey may pack a punch when it comes to nutrients however it is still caloric, with one tablespoon yielding roughly 64 calories, so consume it sparingly just as you would white sugar.
As long as you are eating honey in moderation you should be able to reap all of the benefits listed above without expanding your waistline.
There are over 300 types of honey in the US, each of them having different flavonoid profiles, resulting in different tastes, as well as unique properties.
Lighter colored honey, such as honey made from orange blossoms, tends to have a lighter, milder flavor than the darker honeys.
Darker honey has a higher level of antioxidants while a monofloral honey (honey that comes from a single plant species) typically has the lowest glycemic index.
Regardless of which honey you choose, make sure it is pure and raw. Raw honey contains all the vitamins, minerals and enzymes that are not found in refined honey.
The average “Grade A” honey that found in grocery stores is likely to be highly processed. Shop at your local farmer’s market or health food store for the best options.