Honey, often described as the Nectar of the Gods, is a thick, sticky, golden liquid produced by bees. It is a natural sweetener but it is not calorie-free. Every 100 grams of honey has about 300 calories as against sugar that has about 400 for the same quantity. This always has far-reaching implications on a person’s health and weight loss effort, and this is especially true for diabetes or heart patients.
Made by honey bees using the nectar of flowers, honey is a gorgeous amber-colored fluid that has been used as a natural sweetener for ages. It is superior to sugar in terms of its nutritional value but the latter is consumed almost 50 times across the world. Fitness professionals should rather switch to the heavenly nectar for reasons more than one and we are discussing them next.
Honey is natural and less refined than sugar. It is sweeter and so you would need less of it to sweeten things up. This nectar contains nutrients like Vitamin B, minerals, and several antioxidants that make it anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. It also speeds up the digestive process and helps in clearing toxins from the body faster, thus helping the skin glow.
Raw honey is the best variant of this heavenly nectar because its nutrients are usually not stored as fat. The situation is different in the case of artificial honey because this makes the liver spends quite a bit of energy to digest it and any unprocessed amount turns into fat. However, these issues offer minimum resistance if you do strenuous exercises or do some easy no-equipment at home.
Note: Here’s how you can switch to an active lifestyle and start loving aerobic exercises every day.
Raw honey is made of clover, sweet clover, and alfalfa is lighter in color. If it is prepared organically from citrus fruits and buckwheat, then it would be darker in color. The one prepared from neem (Azadirachta indica) is darker and is less sweet.
Natural or raw honey naturally contains the following vitamins and minerals:
Here are all the nutritional components and their respective values:
Sources include: USDA
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0 g - 0%
Saturated fat 0 g - 0%
Polyunsaturated fat 0 g
Monounsaturated fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg - 0%
Sodium 4 mg - 0%
Potassium 52 mg - 1%
Total Carbohydrate 82 g - 27%
Dietary fiber 0.2 g - 0%
Sugar 82 g
Protein 0.3 g - 0%
Vitamin A - 0%
Calcium - 0%
Vitamin D - 0%
Cobalamin - 0%
Vitamin C - 0%
Iron - 2%
Vitamin B-6 - 0%
Magnesium - 0%
*Per cent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The above data are taken from Wikipedia and is verified by USDA.
Since ancient times, honey is known for its medicinal uses. Warm water with lemon and honey is used to soothe sore throats and disinfect the mouth. The nectar is used as a laxative and also an antiseptic to dress wounds, burns, and ulcers. Honey absorbs moisture and is even used as a cure for nappy rash.
Here are some benefits of having honey every day:
Rich in antioxidants, resists signs of aging
Comparatively safer for diabetics
Helps lower blood pressure
Promotes good cholesterol or HDL
Helps reduce triglycerides
Boosts heart and liver
Strengthens digestive system
Has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties
Helps in treating cold and cough
Helps beat sugar cravings instantly
Honey has a lower glycemic index than sugar and is suitable for diabetics. It doesn’t contain additives and preservatives, and it has more flavor than sugar. Honey also has a higher value of fructose in terms of quality and quantity than sugar so it can be used less to taste just as sweet.
Sugar contains zero nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants, a fact that makes it a strict no-no in the case of diabetic and blood pressure patients. However, honey too has a limitation that it cannot be used in warm liquids like water and milk, and this reduces its scope of application.
One of the hottest weight-loss trends these days is drinking honey, cinnamon, and lemon in warm water. Cinnamon suppresses your appetite, lemon powers up digestion, and the natural sweetness of honey causes your brain to stop sending sugar-craving signals.
This makes the trio of honey, cinnamon, and lemon a potent weight loss alternative. It perhaps the single most important metabolism-boosting detoxifying drink you can sip every day to shed some extra flab without any side effects. It is sweet but won’t spike your blood sugar levels abruptly.
You should aim to replace all refined sugar with honey. We recommend you start your day with a tablespoon of honey and some lukewarm water for the best results.
Here’s how you can do it:
1. Add half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder to boiling water and allow it to cool. Now add lemon juice to it and stir with one teaspoon of honey.
2. This liquid mixture provides a major fraction of the amino acids and minerals that you require for metabolism and the digestive system. It shall also keep you energized throughout the day.
3. If you are craving unhealthy foods, you could drink a cup of the above-mentioned potion of honey, cinnamon, and lemon to effectively control your appetite.
4. Eating anything just before or immediately following exercise is usually not a good idea. However, this mixture is an exception because it provides instant energy for your workouts.
Our metabolism is at its lowest when we are sleeping because our bodies recognize this as a state of rest. British pharmacist Mike McInnes found that taking a spoonful of honey in warm water at bedtime fueled the liver, speeded up metabolism, reduced the level of stress hormones, and reduced fat storage.
Some of the better varieties of honey you can look for at your local health food store or supermarket are Sidr, Hymettus, Beech Honeydew, Heather, Tualang, Manuka, Ulmo, and Slovenian. Raw honey is considered superior to commercial honey but it is difficult to source.
Tip: Honey that is local to your region is more likely to boost immunity against seasonal allergies. Organic honey from New Zealand is known for its exceptional quality and purity.
Honey cannot make your weight disappear magically but it still makes for a great choice for those trying to get in shape. It has a distinct edge over the empty calories of refined sugar. This nectar can speed up a sluggish metabolism and satisfy sweet cravings. Through a proper combination with a healthy diet and proper exercises, it can help you attain and maintain a healthy weight.
Following a nutrient-dense, the whole diet is vital for increased energy levels, improved metabolism, and overall health and wellness. If you’re looking for a quick energy boost before starting work or a workout, honey may do a much better job than a sugar-laden drink.
Also read: Don’t Drink Your Calories
It is so because this syrupy liquid contains more calories, with one teaspoon of honey containing 22 calories versus 16 calories per teaspoon of sugar. This shouldn’t be worrying about weight-watchers because even though honey has more calories, you’ll consume less of it. After all, it’s sweeter and denser than table sugar.
Honey is beneficial because it releases fructose gradually into the bloodstream, thus providing sustained energy that lasts for hours.
Honey has a lower Glycemic Index (GI) than sugar so it is absorbed at a much slower rate than table sugar. Sugar’s high GI indicates that it increases blood sugar levels rapidly and thus causes sharp insulin spikes. This may contribute to weight gain, obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and heart diseases.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), honey is a demulcent or a substance that relieves irritation and soothes the throat and mouth by creating a protecting film. Research also shows that honey functions similar to dextromethorphan, which is commonly found in over the counter cough medicines to improve cough and related sleep problems in children.
Consuming locally produced honey introduces pollen spores carried by the bees from local plants into your system. The allergen in honey activates your immune system and helps the body build immunity against it naturally. Taking one tablespoon of honey per day before the pollen season can help your body be prepared for several types of allergies. However, it’s important to get locally produced raw honey for the best results.
Some researchers state that honey has potent antibacterial properties that may be handy in fighting different types of bacteria in the body. It may also be used to treat burns and wounds because it prevents infections and promotes healing.
The key is to remember that not all honey is going to be the same. While certain kinds of honey may have antibacterial properties and a nutritional value, others may just not be good enough due to their lack of nutritional importance. Consuming them could simply be useless.
If you are wondering about how much honey a day is good for you, we recommend one tablespoon in the morning and one in the evening would be good enough. You might find your heartbeats becoming more regular after a few days because honey is a rich source of phenols and antioxidants. This delivers better cardiac health and longevity.
To get the most out of your honey, stick to purchasing the least processed and raw types. These types include organic honey made of flowers, fruits, or special types of leaves too. They all differ in their respective nutritious content and even in taste but that won’t stop them from creating a positive difference to your health, right from the word go!