Having a sweet tooth is not the only reason to be eating honey; it is loaded with health benefits, and it is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an as a universal remedy.
“And your Lord inspired to the bee, ‘Take for yourself among the mountains, houses [hives], and among the trees and that which they construct. Then eat from all the fruits and follow the ways of your Lord laid down [for you]. There emerges from their bellies a drink, varying in colours, in which there is healing for people. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought.” (Holy Qur’an 16:68-69)
Have you ever wondered why honey comes in many different colours? Honey’s colour can vary from a very faint, clear colour to golden, to darker amber, and even black. Bees fly around collecting nectar from various flowers and bring it back to their hive where they make the honey. A single honeybee travels anywhere between 6 km and 20 km per day to collect nectar.
There are more than 300 unique types of honey in the United States, originating from diverse floral sources such as clover, lavender, buckwheat, alfalfa, blueberry, and orange blossoms. The many different flowers in nature result in varying colours and tastes of honey.
The colour and flavour of honey differ depending on the flower blossoms that the bee collected nectar from. Orange blossom honey is lightly coloured and sweet, while buckwheat honey is very dark. In general, lighter coloured honeys are mild in flavour; while darker honeys are usually more robust in flavour and richer in nutrients.
Honey is primarily composed of fructose, glucose and water. It also contains other sugars as well as trace enzymes, minerals, vitamins, including B vitamins and vitamin C, anti-oxidants, and amino acids. One tablespoon of honey contains about 64 calories and has no fat or cholesterol. Honey is produced in one of the world’s most efficient factories, the beehive.
Honey is naturally very sweet. Is it better for your health to sweeten your tea with honey rather than sugar?
Since honey is actually sweeter than sugar, you may be able to use a smaller amount of honey in your drink without sacrificing sweetness. The trace amounts of vitamins and minerals found in honey may also have added health benefits. And, honey goes through less chemical processing than sugar does. Sugar is higher on the glycaemic index (GI) than honey, meaning it raises blood sugar levels more quickly, which is undesirable. Of course, over consumption of honey will lead to weight gain because it is high in calories, and diabetics should use honey as a sweetener with caution. The key is moderation, and to use little amounts in your beverages instead of using sugar.
Honey is an ideal, natural remedy for sore throats and coughing. Take a spoonful of honey to soother and coat your throat. Or mix in a teaspoon of honey in warm chamomile or cinnamon tea.
Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine found that honey may offer parents an effective and safe alternative to medicines for their children. The study found that a small dose of buckwheat honey given before bedtime provided better relief of night time cough and sleep difficulty in children than the typical cough suppressants found in many over-the-counter medications. Honey did a better job reducing the severity, frequency and bothersome nature of night time cough from upper respiratory infection than cough medications. Honey also showed a positive effect on the sleep quality of both the coughing child and the child’s parents. Any medication is still considered a drug and can have potential adverse side-effects, while honey is safe and natural, free of any unwanted side-effects.
Because of honey’s anti-inflammatory properties, it is able to help reduce allergy symptoms. Since honey contains small amounts of pollen, when you eat honey your body will start to produce antibodies that will take care of that pollen, which means that your body will build up a defence against that allergy, over time. It gradually builds up your body’s immunity. It is important to take honey from your local region, to help you deal with the allergies you suffer from where you live. By taking a teaspoon of honey daily, your body will build up a natural immunity to the allergens that are causing the bothersome allergy symptoms.
Because of its natural antibiotic nature, honey can help soothe and treat wounds and burns. Simply apply honey on your cut, scrape, or burn and it will help disinfect the wound against harmful bacteria. Manuka honey is particularly effective in treating wounds and burns. There have been clinical studies done on this type of honey and it has been found that over 250 clinical strains of bacteria are treated by Manuka honey. It has a special ingredient that makes it more powerful than other honey types.
Do you suffer from acid reflux and heartburn? Research indicates that honey can help reduce symptoms associated with acid reflux and it can aid in healing the oesophagus. When you consume honey, it lines the oesophagus, which helps heal inflammation or damage; ultimately relieving the painful, burning sensation. Honey may also help keep digestion going smoothly because it contains certain enzymes that give the digestive system a boost. Try taking a teaspoon of honey before your main meals, and add a teaspoonful to a cup of warm herbal tea before bed.
As an overall preventive measure and a healthy habit for your whole family, give each family member a teaspoon of natural, unprocessed honey each morning. Regular consumption of honey can give your immune system a wonderful boost because it has anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties. It can also help cleanse and build up your digestive system, which is essential for optimal health. Be wary of the processed honey and try to find natural, raw honey.
Prophet Muhammad said, “Honey is a remedy for every illness and the Qur’an is a remedy for all illness of the mind, therefore I recommend to you both remedies, the Qur’an and honey.”