Honey is a common natural healing agent that has been used for centuries as a topical antibiotic on wounds and acne. It can also be used for sore throats, colds and other common ailments due to its properties. Honey has high levels of monosaccharides, fructose and glucose containing about 70 to 80 percent sugar which gives it its sweet taste. Mineral and water make up the rest of its composition.
Honey is a sweet liquid made by bees using nectar from flowers. Bees first convert the nectar into honey by a process of regurgitation and evaporation then store it as a primary food source in wax honeycombs inside the beehive. Honey can then be harvested from the hives for human consumption. Honey is graded by color, with the clear, golden amber honey often at a higher retail price than darker varieties. Honey flavor will vary based on the types of flower from which the nectar was harvested.
Honey also possesses antiseptic and antibacterial properties. In modern science, useful applications of honey is in chronic wound management. However, it should be noted that many of the honey health claim still require further rigorous scientific studies to confirm them.
NUTRITIONAL CONTENT OF HONEY
Below is a typical honey profile, according to Bee Source
Fructose – 38.2%
Glucose – 31.3%
Maltose – 7.1%
Sucrose – 1.3%
Water – 17.2%
Higher Sugar – 1.5%
Ash – 0.2%
Other / Undetermined – 3.2%
The slightly acidic pH Level of honey (between 3.2 and 4.5) is what helps prevent the growth of bacteria, while antioxidant constituents cleans up free radicals. The physical properties of honey vary depending on the specific flora that was used to produce it as well as its water content.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF HONEY
Studies have shown that a daily dose of raw honey raises levels of health promoting antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants helps block free radical in the body that can causes disease. Honey contains polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants that have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Treatment of Dandruff
Honey can bring temporary relief to the scalp by targeting dandruff. A 2001 study published in the European Journal of Medical Research found that applying honey diluted with 10% warm water to problem areas and leaving it on for three hours before rinsing, led to itch relief. The antibacterial and anti-fungal properties of honey can also treat dandruff which are often caused by overgrowth of fungus.
Healing of Wounds and Burns
Honey have been used in treating wounds and burns. A diabetic with recurring cellulitis and staph infections who have tried taking antibiotics for months can add homey to the wound for a quicker healing of the wound.
Help in Fighting Infection
Honey is effective in treating chronic wound infection and may even prevent them from developing in the first place. Report shows that manuka honey kill bacteria by destroying key bacterial proteins. Manuka honey may even be effective for the treatment of MRSA infections.
Relief From Colds
The world health organization(WHO) and American academy of pediatrics recommend honey as a natural for nightime coughing and improved sleep quality in children with upper respiratory infection.
POTENTIAL HEALTH RISKS OF CONSUMING HONEY
Honey is still a from of sugar and intake should be moderate. The American Heart Association recommends that women should take no more than 100 calories a day from added sugars, men no more than 150 calories a day. This is a little over two tablespoons for women and three tablespoons for men.
Honey may contain botulinum endospores that cause infant botulism, a rare but serious type of food poisoning that can result in paralysis. Even pasteurized honey has a chance of containing these spores and for this reason, it is recommended that infants under 1 year should not consume honey.
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Categories: Nutrition & Diet