3 Unknown Science-Backed Benefits of Honey

Blog Nutrition & Recipes 3 Unknown Science-Backed Benefits of Honey

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11.19.2019 0 comments

Honey is one of those sweeteners that we all know and love, and it’s one of the best for our health if consumed in moderation! We can all remember those times our mothers made us hot ginger tea and honey for sore throats, or when she dabbed a bit of honey onto a cut or burn to speed up healing.

Honey is a truly amazing substance. Not only is it resistant to bacteria, but it’s one of the few foods that will never spoil or rot. Real, organic honey (with no added sugar or flavoring) is a food you definitely want to have at home to help you manage weight, increase your antioxidant consumption, and even reduce your risk of allergies.

There are a lot of well-known benefits of honey, but here are three you might not have known about:

Cure a Hangover

We’ve all heard some crazy hangover remedies—from “hair of the dog” to Tabasco-laden tomato juice to a greasy fried breakfast. But why not try a bit of honey instead?

According to the Royal Society of Chemistry, the fructose in honey can help to break down the alcohol in your body into harmless byproducts that are easily eliminated without causing the strong symptoms we know as a hangover.

You see, when you drink, your body breaks down the alcohol into acetaldehyde, a toxic substance that is responsible for your hangover symptoms. However, when you introduce honey, the fructose turns it into acetic acid, which is broken down by your body’s normal metabolic practices. In fact, thanks to the fructose, the potentially toxic acetaldehyde is turned into carbon dioxide, which your body can literally expel when you exhale.

Honey, when paired with toast, also provides both sodium and potassium, the two electrolytes your body needs to maintain a healthy fluid balance.

One 2014 study also found that honey helped to increase the autonomic activity of alcoholized mice, and introducing honey into the mice’s bodies decreased blood ethanol (alcohol) concentration. Once again, fructose proved the anti-intoxicant that helped to prevent hangovers and negative symptoms of excessive alcohol consumption.

Reduce Insomnia

Honey contains so much more than just delicious sugary sweetness! It’s loaded with all sorts of amazing nutrients, from vitamins to minerals to antioxidants to enzymes.

One of these nutrients is tryptophan, a chemical that is converted into serotonin to help you relax. Basically, having honey at night (especially when paired with milk) will help to reduce insomnia by encouraging your body to relax and get sleepy on its own.

When you take honey before bed, the glucose in the honey passes into your bloodstream, leading to higher blood glucose levels. This triggers a release of insulin from your pancreas, which in turn helps to send more of the tryptophan from the honey into your brain. The tryptophan is converted by your brain into serotonin, the hormone that encourages relaxation.

When you have high serotonin levels and your body senses that it is dark (ergo, night time and time to rest), the pineal gland turns the serotonin into melatonin. Melatonin reduces your body temperature and activates the “sleep mechanisms”, which helps you to start falling asleep.

A simple glass of warm milk and honey before bed can have a huge effect on your sleep quality, and can do wonders to combat insomnia and late night wakefulness.

Boost Athletic Performance

Honey has been found by a number of trials to be a highly potent athletic performance booster:

  • It is one of the best pre-workout energy sources, as it will provide more energy (via the sugar) without inducing hypoglycemia.

  • It can help to sustain blood sugar levels for longer periods following your workouts.

  • It can increase both power and speed during cardiovascular exercise, like cycling, running, or rowing.

Not only does honey provide a nice shot of energy in the form of easily digested sugar calories, but it can also help to boost immunity during training. Athletes worried about getting sick (the result of the temporary immune-dampening effects of exercise) will find that a shot of honey before working out can help to power up the bacteria and virus-fighting internal systems.

As you can see, honey is truly an amazing substance! Every study into the effects of honey uncovers some new benefit for your body. You’ll find that it’s an excellent source of energy, great for boosting your athletic performance, a sleep aid, and even a great way to deal with too much alcohol. Definitely all good reasons to add more natural, organic honey to your diet!

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