Honey is a food rich in natural molecules capable of bringing numerous benefits to our body. For this reason, it should never be missing in our homes and should be regularly taken in place of other sweeteners.
” If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.” (A. Einstein). Apart from the pollination of plants and the consequent prosperity of plant varieties (which allows the synthesis of about 25% of the drugs currently used), bees are able to produce a health elixir that man is not able to replicate: honey.
Honey is a tasty and sugary substance rich in nutritional elements (minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, enzymes), to which many beneficial effects for the human body are attributed. Honey shows the following properties:
- Glycemic Index (GI) lower than sugar: honey has a sweetening power superior to sugar but with a lower GI. This is especially true in honeys where fructose prevails over glucose and which therefore crystallize less (for example, acacia honey). In addition, it has shown that it can reduce blood fats (cholesterol and triglycerides).
- Antibacterial, antifungal, cicatrizing, and anti-inflammatory: honey is an excellent disinfectant. In fact, it has shown an inhibitory effect on about sixty species of bacteria including Helicobacter pylori (associated with gastritis), Escherichia coli (associated with some urinary infections), Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans. For centuries, honey has been used for wound healing, for the regeneration of injured skin and in gastric ulcer treatments. In fact, honey contains an enzyme (glucose oxidase), released by bees to disinfect nectar, which produces hydrogen peroxide. In addition, its high sugar content creates an osmotic pressure capable of killing bacteria and the intrinsic acidity of this food creates an unfavorable environment for bacterial growth.
- Antioxidant: honey, especially dark ones, has shown a strong antioxidant activity thanks to its richness in flavonoids, polyphenols, vitamin C and tocopherols (derived from vitamin E). Numerous clinical studies have in fact shown that the daily intake of 2-4 tablespoons of honey a day, replacing other sweeteners, increases the levels of antioxidant agents in the blood. This allows not only to protect cells from free radical damage but also to boost the immune system. Finally, its antioxidant properties are highly appreciated in the field of skin cosmetics thanks to its anti-aging effect.
- Effective against cough in children: according to many studies, honey intake is related to a calming effect on cough and sore throat. Especially in children under the age of 5, it is recommended to give a teaspoon of honey dissolved in water or warm milk before bedtime. This is due to the antibacterial molecules contained in it and the presence of vitamin C (antiviral) which disinfects the upper airways. In addition, antioxidants stimulate the immune system and the sugar component increases night salivation, which causes the secretion of mucus capable of lubricating and performing an emollient action on the respiratory tract. For these peculiar prerogatives, honey is mentioned by the WHO as a potential anti-cold treatment.
- Works as a probiotic in the intestine: from the studies carried out, honey also contains lactic acid bacteria (“good” bacteria) that colonize the intestine by performing an antimicrobial action and boosting the immune system.
In conclusion, honey is a super-food that, if taken regularly through everyday nutrition, is able to bring numerous benefits to our body.