Honey is the famed superfood that tastes delicious and is actually incredibly good for you. Unlike other sweeteners, raw honey, produced from bees, is unprocessed and loaded with beneficial ingredients that improve your health rather than harm it. If you find yourself craving sugary indulgences throughout the day, there may be a healthy way to get your fix and slash your risk of heart disease at the same time. Read on to find out more.
Satisfy sweet tooth
Enjoying moderate amounts of honey each day will allow you to fulfill your cravings for something sweet and will also let you reap the benefits that go along with it. For instance, local, raw honey can help reduce allergy symptoms since it is a small exposure to local pollen, which is a great way to condition your immune system to respond well to regional allergies.
Enjoy honey in tea, salad dressings, cooking (it pairs really well with lemon!), drizzled over a greek yogurt parfait with fruit, or enjoyed with a hot cereal such as oatmeal.
Remember, some sweet cravings are totally normal and natural and restricting yourself by fighting against these urges can just lead to issues such as binge-eating unhealthy, sugary junk food like ice cream, cake, and cookies. Instead, satisfy those cravings by enjoying a little drizzle of honey, some fruit, or dark chocolate. This will help you feel less deprived and will set you on the path towards developing a healthy relationship with food and sugar. Whatever you do, stay away from processed white sugar and packaged, sugary foods and stick to natural, real ingredients.
Slash heart disease risk
Honey is an amazing tool for cutting back or eliminating processed sugar, entirely and it may also deliver other benefits. Aside from its well-known antibacterial properties, honey has been shown to be a massive factor in reducing heart disease risk, which is the leading cause of death for men and women throughout the world.
Trehalose and plaque buildup
Not only can simply substituting your sugar with honey help make you healthier and reduce your risk of heart disease, but natural sugar found in this liquid gold could actually actively reduce your heart disease risk and remove arterial plaque buildup. In one study, researchers looked at the natural sugar, trehalose, which they discovered activates a protein that causes immune cells to remove fatty plaque from arteries.
This animal study conducted at Washington University looked at mice at risk of atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arteries which causes arterial hardening and can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and heart attack). These mice were injected with trehalose, which researchers noted caused a decrease of about 30% in plaque. This response likely occurred because trehalose is thought to activate a protein known as TFEB that causes immune cells to start removing plaque from around the heart.
Full of antioxidants
Honey, like other foods such as blueberries and dark chocolate, is loaded with heart-healthy antioxidants that work to fight disease-causing free radicals in the body. Eating food high in antioxidants helps reduce your risk of oxidative cell damage and works to prevent diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Reduce blood pressure and cholesterol
Two major risk factors for heart disease include bad cholesterol and high blood pressure. While it’s important to see your doctor, if you have either of these, honey could act in addition to medication to help you get a handle on these conditions. One small study showed that honey could decrease levels of total and “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase “good” HDL cholesterol. Plus, other research has proven that honey could have an impact on systolic blood pressure.
Processed sugar, on the other hand, actually increases bad cholesterol and lowers good cholesterol, which can contribute to heart disease and increase weight gain and plaque buildup around the arteries.
Remember, honey is a source of natural sugar; therefore, it is important to treat it like sugar and not overindulge. Just because it is healthy, doesn’t mean you need to use three tablespoons a day. Enjoy this liquid gold in moderation, and be sure to stay active and eat a healthy diet to help honey have maximum benefit.
How do you enjoy honey? Let us know in the comments below!
-The Alternative Daily