The health virtues of honey

The health virtues of honey

Ah, honey, the very sweetness of life! It’s one of nature’s miracles, the product of a colony of hard workers all buzzing together for a common cause. Besides being a sweetener for all occasions, honey also is a medicine in its own right.

Raw honey contains a variety of vitamins, proteins, minerals and disease-fighting antioxidants. And it has natural antibacterial qualities. As honey is processed in the hive, antiseptic hydrogen peroxide is produced. This makes honey valuable as a topical medication, and it’s used in many parts of the world to promote healing and to prevent infection in burns, wounds, pressure sores and diabetic foot ulcers.

Researchers are studying honey’s antibacterial qualities as it has shown potential for use as a broad-spectrum antibiotic. It is also being studied as an ingredient in supplements and medications for a variety of health problems, such as asthma, gum disease, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, inflammation and certain kinds of cancer.

Honey also shows up in the ingredients of cosmetic skin and hair preparations not just because it’s an antioxidant but also because of its softening and conditioning effects. Honey helps lubricate your skin and, because it holds moisture, it’s good for lip balms, shampoo and facial scrubs.

But, mostly, honey just tastes good. You can substitute honey for sugar in most dishes and drinks. Compared with granulated sugar, it is sweeter and higher in calories and carbs, so if you add it to meals, go lightly. A drop of honey can go a long way.

If you want to add honey to your diet, be sure to check with your health care provider. Used in an appropriate amount, honey can make life sweeter — and healthier.

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