We have to introduce honey in our diet as a sweetener and a substitute for sugar as it has significant advantages over it. In recent years, scientific research has brought to light many beneficial properties of honey, when rightly used, not only as a food but also as a medicine. Although by no means honey can't substitute drugs it can act supplementary helping the body to fight diseases.
A molecule is characterized as antoxidant when it has the ability to slow or prevent the oxidation of other molecules. Antioxidants reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Honey contains many substances with antioxidant activity, such as flavonoids and other phenolic constituents, peptides, enzymes, organic acids, minerals and trace elements.
Heart - Circulatory system
The honey sugars, particularly glucose, is necessary for the contractions of the heart muscle and a source of energy for the heart. Moreover, honey, with the help of the sugars and the acetylcholine dilates blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. Furthermore, it turns more and more to retard oxidation of bad cholesterol LDL-c, which is the primary culprit of atherosclerosis appearance.
Due to its content in copper and iron, the amount of hemoglobin increase, and because it is of organic origin, hence 100% absorbable by the body, honey does not cause constipation.
Stomach and intestinal diseases
Honey is an alkaline food, due to the metal salts it contains. This alkalinity reduces the acidity of the stomach, thereby proving valuable protective agent against gastric ulcers. Because of the large amount of choline it contains it has a positive effect on constipation. Finally, cinnamon powder mixed with two tablespoons of honey when taken before food makes digestion easier.
The glucose in honey complements the reserves of liver glycogen. The liver is our body's factory where useful substances are synthesized and other dangerous such as toxins are degraded. The presence of glycogen enhances this function and increases the body's resistance to infections.
Honey is recommended against obesity (due to defective metabolism), hyperinsulinism and water retention in the tissues.
Regarding the athletic performance, scientific studies show that honey provides carbohydrates also contained in carbohydrate drinks or gels commonly used in various sports. These carbohydrates have proven to improve stamina. Moreover, the consumption of honey in combination with a protein supplement after intense exercise, helps in the faster transfer of the protein in the muscles groups, resulting in better recovery. As established by surveys Exercise & Athlete Nutrition Division of Memphis University, honey is one of the most effective forms of carbohydrate, for the necessary "charging" of the athlete before the workout, not only because it is easily digested and released at a constant rate in the musculature, but also because it increases muscle strength and eliminates fatigue. The consumption honey diluted in hot water before training, leads to better assimilation of fat and its uniform distribution in the body. This leads to weight reduction.
Clinical studies show that the consumption of honey, can greatly optimize glucose control and insulin sensitivity, compared with other sweeteners. Moreover, it has been proven to be beneficial on patients with diabetes mellitus type 1. The daily low consumption of honey helps to maintain stable blood glucose values.
Antimicrobial / Antibacterial
Honey has significant antimicrobial activity. Its status has been documented in several scientific studies and reflects the high osmolality, low pH and the content of hydrogen peroxide and other compounds. An important contribution also to the antimicrobial activity of honey, is the presence of organic acids, mainly gluconic acid, flavonoids and other phenolic constituents. It is antiseptic, it promotes healing of wounds, it stops blood wounds and trauma and it provides sterility. It has strong antibacterial activity against the majority of known bacteria in dental plaque and results in a drastic decrease acid production, killing or inactivating bacteria believed to be responsible for caries appearance.
A recent study found that the pollen collected by bees has antiallergic results. But some honeys naturally rich in substances other than pollen may yield antiallergic results.
Furthermore, thyme honey contains high levels of rosmarinic acid, a polyphenol that is particularly abundant in some culinary herbs such as rosemary, thyme, basil, marjoram, sage. Studies have shown that rosmarinic acid contributes to the suppression of allergic reactions.
The healing power of honey against cold and sore throats is well known. The recovery period of common cold appears to be reduced (even by two days) for those who eat lots of honey.
Also, honey acts more effectively on cough over certain cough syrups.
It is widely used for a number of nervous system diseases and in cases of insomnia, where a spoonful of honey dissolved in a glass of lukewarm water can help.