Benefits and properties of honey

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The benefits and properties of honey bee Apis mellifera are known throughout the world. Since the human being tried it for the first time, I take advantage of its great nutritional and medicinal value.

The benefits of honey and properties it has on human health have been known since ancient times, both in topical use and consumption of natural food, and human beings have always enjoyed it.

Honey from Apis mellifera bees with great nutritional benefits

Natural honey

First of all, honey is one that has not been heated above 43º or subjected to any process, unlike industrial honey, which is pasteurized.

Therefore, pasteurization prevents it from crystallizing , consequently also drastically reducing quality, since most of the enzymes, antioxidants and other beneficial properties such as its antibiotic action are destroyed in the process.

Close and pure honey, the benefit of knowing the beekeeper

Another guarantee of quality is its purity and origin. The small beekeeper works in an area of blooms that keep a balance of composition in the nectars of the plants.

The industry has been manipulated by large packaging companies mixing honey from hidden origins, very often from China.

Likewise, associations of beekeepers demand a law that requires determining the origin, while currently the large packers indicate “mixture of honey from the EU and non-EU countries”.

That is, from anywhere in the world, without the controls that we demand for food in our country. Therefore, it is an excellent raw material for your health.

Beekeeper harvesting his honey from honey bees
Visit your nearby beekeeper, buy their honey and meet the bees.

Benefits and properties of natural honey

The most frequent minerals are calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, phosphorus and potassium. About half of the existing amino acids, organic acids (acetic acid, citric acid, among others) and vitamins of the B complex, vitamin C, D and E are also present.

It also has a considerable variety of antioxidants (flavonoids and phenolics). Other discoveries about its properties .

Honey and nectar from Apis melliferas bees
Nectar and honey from Apis mellifera bees
Honey for cough
Benefits and properties of natural honey from bees

The color varies between the different types. Color is primarily determined by the chemistry of the honey and is determined by the floral source.

However, it has not been possible to identify exactly which agents are responsible for imparting the color to the nectar and subsequently to the honey.

However, it is known that in addition to the minerals obtained from the soil, pigments of plant origin can contribute to its color.

Physiological benefits

As a food, it can be used in many other ways to benefit health.

Dr. Ron Fessenden, a retired physician and chairman of the Committee for Honey and Health in America (a non-profit organization), is an expert on the physiological benefits of honey.

In one of his many lectures, he reported on properties such as regulating blood sugar, reducing metabolic stress, and promoting sleep recovery.

Remember: It has many benefits for your health, not so other types of adulterated, mixed or that have been subjected to high temperatures.


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1. Regulates blood sugar

It seems counterintuitive that it regulates blood sugar. But the secret to its ability to do so lies in the balance of fructose and glucose.

Likewise, if consumed, the fructose portion allows glucose to be taken up by the liver to form glycogen, which becomes available to the brain, heart, kidneys, and red blood cells.

This improves the function of essential organs and tissues, removing glucose from the circulation and thus lowering blood sugar.

Studies have shown that it barely raises blood sugar or insulin levels, producing more glycogen per gram than any other food.

2. The consumption of natural honey reduces metabolic stress

Properties and benefits of honey from Apis mellifera bees for allergies
honey consumption helps with pollen allergies

All stress, be it emotional, psychological or physiological, is translated in the body as metabolic stress. One function of the adrenal gland is to produce adrenaline and cortisol, which stimulate the breakdown of muscle protein into amino acids to make new sugars.

This occurs when the brain thinks it is in danger of running out of fuel, for example during physical exercise or during nighttime sleep.

Natural honey and liver

Natural honey produces glycogen in the liver, which is the energy reserve that the brain needs for its normal functioning. We will have sufficient glycogen stores if we consume at breakfast, before bed and at regular intervals throughout the day (especially before and after exercise), these liver glycogen stores will prevent the release of stress hormones.

Bee Apis mellifera sucking nectar from a blue flower

3. Natural honey promotes sleep recovery

If we consume it before going to bed, we store glycogen in the liver, which will supply it to the blood when the brain needs it, preventing it from triggering the crisis when it detects low levels of glycogen.

In addition, its consumption stimulates nocturnal relaxation and sleep. The natural sugar it contains produces a slight secretion of insulin, which allows tryptophan to enter the brain more easily and thus allows the secretion of melatonin , a vital hormone for the daily regulation of sleep-wake.

Before going to sleep a teaspoon fights insomnia

For this reason, it is highly recommended to consume a tablespoon of honey with a glass of warm milk (which contains tryptophan) before going to bed, to have a restful sleep.

Melatonin also regulates heart rhythms, helps improve immunity, and facilitates tissue rebuilding at night.

Dr. Fessenden recommends 3 to 5 tablespoons a day, with no side effects, risks, or negative health consequences.

How about? Leave your comment below, but keep on, keep reading

Well, it still has many more therapeutic effects… also for coughs.

Infographic of benefits and properties of honey, a natural sweetener

4. Honey as a treatment for constipation

It has a high content of fructooligosaccharides (FOS), which although they have a mainly energetic function, when they reach the colon they behave in a similar way to vegetable fiber: they capture water, increasing the volume of feces and originating gases that increase peristalsis or bowel mobility. Therefore, they exert a mild laxative effect .

In addition, they are the preferred food of the beneficial bacteria that inhabit the colon (our intestinal flora) responsible for the fermentation and putrefaction of food residues that will give rise to feces.

5. Benefit of natural honey improves brain function

Having a brain that works properly and is healthy is one of the goals of a human being. How it is a more complicated problem. You have to supply it with the energy it needs for its cells to perform their functions correctly.

The function of calcium in the brain is very important, since neurons use calcium to originate the electrical signal, which is conducted from one neuron to another to communicate messages.

If there is not enough calcium, the brain will not work properly. There is scientific information that has shown that it helps absorb and fix calcium in the body, favoring proper brain function.

Besides for the brain, being an excellent recalcifier, it also helps prevent osteoporosis and bone problems.

6. Acne and other skin problems

Most of the people suffer from acne at least once in their life. The most important causes are hormonal imbalance and bacterial colonization of the skin.

Some natural remedies provide comparable antibacterial coverage to commercial products, with the advantage that they are better tolerated than conventional chemical agents. Therefore, it is one of the best options for the treatment of acne caused by bacteria.

How does honey treat acne?

As an antimicrobial agent, it acts through various mechanisms:

  • Deprives microbes of the moisture they need to survive
  • It acts as a chelating agent, altering the cellular processes of bacteria that require iron.
  • Bees also add an enzyme called glucose oxidase. When applied to the wound, this enzyme produces the local release of hydrogen peroxide. This peroxide behaves in a similar way to the popular acne medication benzoyl peroxide: it breaks down the cell walls of bacteria.
  • Reduces the pH of the skin surface on which it is applied. It has a pH between 3.2 and 4.5. This acidity is enough to kill most microbes.

7. Minimize allergies

Take from the area where it lives two months before the flowering of the area, it can reduce allergies. Bees carry pollen from flowers that make seasonal allergies worse, and some of this pollen gets incorporated.

Likewise, consuming natural from the area before the allergy season can help the body accept pollen without rejection and the allergy disappears.

8. Wounds, burns and ulcers

The antibacterial property allows to prevent the infection of burns or minor wounds. Therefore the density protects against bacteria and dirt entering a wound. Apply to the cut or wound and cover it with a bandage.

9. Benefits for dry skin

It is an excellent ingredient to use in the bath thanks to its healing and softening properties. Likewise, it can be applied directly on rough skin, or dissolved in water and added to the bath water.

10. Dry lips

Apply a little on dry or chapped lips, and leave for a few minutes to soften.

11. The menstrual cycle

Honey stimulates the production of omega 6 fatty acid, which regulates hormonal processes in our body.

12. Immune System Benefit

It has antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it ideal for boosting the immune system, not only when ingested, but also when applied topically to the skin.

These properties help keep wounds and cuts clean and free from infection, making it a good natural antiseptic.

Finally, as you can see, it is one of the purest, most natural foods with the greatest number of benefits for our health, and even today much more scientific research is being done in this regard because it is thought that there are still more important benefits that are not have been able to be confirmed.

Other properties that are being tested, but of which there is no scientific research is breathing the air of the hive , the bees never cease to amaze us.

infographic of benefits and properties of consuming
Benefits and properties of natural bee honey

Warnings :

Current regulations prohibit attributing properties that are not supported by sufficient accredited technical or scientific evidence, and expressly recognized by the State Health Administration.

DO NOT GIVE TO CHILDREN UNDER ONE YEAR OLD .

Especially, honey (like other sweeteners) can also be extremely dangerous for babies. This is because mixing with the child’s non-acidic digestive juices creates an ideal environment for the growth of Clostridium botulinum spores , which produce toxins.

Spores botulism

Furthermore, Botulism spores are among the few bacteria that survive, but they are also widely present in the environment.

Although these spores are harmless to adults, because of their stomach acidity, the digestive system of young children is not developed enough to destroy them, so the spores can potentially cause infant botulism . For this reason it is advised not to feed or any other sweetener to children under one year of age.

Finally, in the Ecocolmena blog you will find more articles on how to take care of bees.

Firma Articulo tecnico de Ecocolmena

Autor

Manzano, Jesús. (2022). Manual de Apicultura en Sistemas de Producción Ecológica (4a. ed.). España, Guadalajara: Ecocolmena.

Profesor de apicultura – Socio de Ecocolmena

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