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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Honey: what happens to your body when you eat this popular alternative to sugar

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If we had to choose the most efficient and versatile home remedy, we would think about honey. This food, a gift from bees, has been used to fight a cold or sore throat, and even to help with burns or wounds on the skin (especially if you combine it with cinnamon, another superfood). In fact, honey is one of the best cough cures in children, as well as being good for improving sleep.

Today we bring you the six healthiest benefits this superfood has on our health.

Nutrient shot

A tablespoon of honey (we are talking about 21 grams more or less) contains up to 64 calories and 17 grams of sugar, which gives us fructose, glucose, maltose, and sucrose. Legacy of bees that collect the sugar they find in flower nectar.

In addition, it also contains traces of some vitamins and minerals, and has a high content of bioactive plant compounds and antioxidants.

It contains “organic acids (citric, lactic, phosphoric …), vitamins (C, B1, B2, B3, B5), folic acid, minerals (phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, silicon, iron, manganese, iodine, zinc, gold, and silver), essential amino acids, sterols, phospholipids, flavonoids, polyphenols, and enzymes.

Rich in antioxidants

Among the most famous properties of honey is its antioxidant power. This was confirmed by a study from the University of Illinois, which indicated some as “organic acids and phenolic compounds such as flavonoids.” These molecules reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and some types of cancer.

On the other hand, two studies (one from the University of Illinois and one from the University of California) have shown that buckwheat honey increases the antioxidant value of the blood. Specifically, the work carried out by the University of California encouraged the population to substitute sugar for honey. 

“Given that the average intake of sweeteners by humans is estimated to exceed 70 kg per year, substituting honey for traditional sweeteners in some foods could result in an improved antioxidant defense system in healthy adults,” they pointed.

In addition, according to research published by the University of Ain Shams (Egypt), these antioxidants “can help the arteries in your heart to dilate, increasing blood flow to your heart,” and also “prevent the formation of blood clots blood, which can cause heart attacks and strokes.”

Better honey than refined sugar

It is obviously an alternative to sugar and its benefits are more numerous than those of any common sweetener. However, while honey may be somewhat better than refined sugar for people with diabetes, it should be consumed with caution. 

In fact, the Mayo Clinic argues that “in general, substituting sugar for honey in an eating plan for diabetes does not provide any advantage, since both honey and sugar will affect your level of the latter in the blood.”

And they insist:

“Honey is sweeter than granulated sugar, so you could use less honey (instead of sugar) in some recipes. However, a teaspoon has a little more carbohydrates and more calories than a teaspoon of granulated sugar, so the savings in calories and carbohydrates will be minimal.”

Ally against blood pressure

Due to its antioxidant content, it can be one of our best allies against heart disease, as it can reduce its symptoms, as scientists from Sains Malaysia University have shown

The authors state that honey is rich in a wide range of phenolic components such as quercetin, Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), acacetin, kaempferol, and galangin.

“It is suggested that flavonoids reduce the risk of coronary heart disease through three main actions: improving coronary vasodilation, reducing the ability of platelets in the blood to clot, and preventing the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL),” says the team from the Pharmacology Department of the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the aforementioned university.

It is good for improving cholesterol

Honey can reduce several risk factors for heart disease common in people with type 1 diabetes, as well as bad LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and inflammation while increasing good HDL cholesterol, according to the Ain Shams University study findings.

For heart health, high levels of LDL cholesterol can be a risk factor for heart disease. This type of cholesterol influences atherosclerosis, the accumulation of fat in the arteries that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Honey can improve cholesterol levels by reducing total and bad LDL, while greatly increasing good HDL, as indicated by research from the University of Tehran in Iran.

On the other hand, triglycerides are a type of fat that we find in the blood and that can be a risk factor for heart disease. Triglyceride levels tend to increase on a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates. In this regard, an analysis by the UAE Medical Research Laboratory has linked regular consumption of honey with lower levels of triglycerides (especially when used to replace sugar).

Promotes healing of burns and wounds

Honey has been used since ancient Egyptian times to heal wounds and burns on the skin. In fact, researchers from the Suez Canal University have succeeded in showing that there is a 43.3% success rate with honey as a wound treatment.

It can also be good for other skin tissue-related problems like diabetic foot ulcers, psoriasis, herpes lesions, etc.

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