There are many myths and legends about the healing properties of honey. Some people say that a spoonful of honey is actually beneficial for your health, despite being full of sugar. So how much of it is truth, and how much is hearsay? Can honey be beneficial, and can honey calm and help you sleep? Let’s find out!
What exactly is honey and how is honey made?
Honey is a very sweet, goopy and viscous food substance that is created by honey bees. Bees can produce honey by creating sugary secretions from flowers and plants.
Some people wonder whether honey is the poop or the vomit of the bees, but the truth is that it is actually neither. It is carried from the plants and regurgitated by the bees, which is why many think it is vomit, but actually it never reaches the bee’s digestive tract. It is carried and collected, and simply comes from the bee’s mouth.
Honey begins as nectar in flowers. This nectar attracts bees, and is collected by them, and broken down into small sugars that get stored in the bees’ honeycomb. Due to the shape of the honeycomb, and the fact that bees wings are constantly fanning at the honeycomb, these things combined cause evaporation, which forms the liquid honey. The flavor and color of the honey can vary depending on the nectar that is collected by the bees.
Many people enjoy honey on cereals, oatmeal, porridge and other foods such as fruits and sometimes even vegetables. Not only is this gooey, golden substance very sweet and flavorful, but it can also have a range of health benefits for us.
What are the benefits of honey?
Raw honey has been used for centuries for therapeutic and medicinal purposes as it has a variety of health benefits. This type of honey is often chock full of antioxidants which can protect your body from free radicals that can contribute to the development of diseases such as heart disease and cancer. It can also slow down the aging process, and prevent early ageing.
In addition to antioxidants, raw honey can also kill bacteria and fungi due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties. Raw honey has naturally occurring hydrogen peroxide, which makes it an antiseptic, and effective in remedying infections and harmful bacteria.
Other types of honey such as Manuka honey are known to soothe and treat wounds as it is an effective germ killer that can also aid in tissue regeneration. This is why it is often applied to the skin or affected areas of the body to speed up the healing process.
Honey can also be a strong prebiotic, which means that it can aid the digestive system by nourishing good bacteria in the body. But it is not just physical ailments that honey can help, some studies show that honey can actually soothe you and help you get a better night’s sleep.
Does honey help you sleep?
Not many people are aware of this, but yes, honey can actually help you sleep, and give you a better sleep. This is because honey can help your brain release a hormone called melatonin. This hormone is designed to help your body restore itself during sleep.
By having a little extra honey at night, you are feeding your body a little bit of sugar before bed. This can help your brain function much better, and give you a more restful and deep sleep.
The way this works is that the honey is full of sugar. This sugar then spikes the insulin levels in the body, which in turn releases tryptophan, which can turn into serotonin, which becomes melatonin.
Melatonin is the hormone in your brain that is responsible for controlling your sleep cycle. This hormone tells the receptors in your body to sleep, and actively encourages rest, which can help you relax and prepare for sleep. So, taking a little bit of honey before bed can help your body produce this hormone, and give yourself the boost you need to get a good night’s rest.
Can honey help you relax?
Yes, honey has been known to help calm stress, anxiety and nervousness. However, it does have to be raw honey. You can add this into your porridge or cereal in the morning, or have a spoonful before bed to calm your nerves and relax.
The nutrients and properties in honey can produce a calming effect and can increase the spread of serotonin and dopamine through the brain. Serotonin is a hormone that stabilizes and balances the mood, bringing you a feeling of wellbeing, goodness and happiness, whereas dopamine is also a feel-good chemical in the brain.
How much honey should you have before bed?
Experts recommend that you have a teaspoon or two of honey before bed as this can help restore the body ready for sleep. In addition, having a spoonful of honey before bed can also help your liver replenish itself with glycogen, which is used to ensure that the brain does not activate a stress hormone and response. This can often happen when glycogen is low in the body, so having a little bit of honey can de-stress, calm and help you get the best sleep and rest!
To summarize, honey, and especially raw honey is a superfood that you will want to have in your diet. Not only is it delicious, and can sweeten up any breakfast, it can also have a very positive impact on your health.
Honey is known for its antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant properties, but can also impact how the brain functions. With a healthy spoonful of honey a night, you can help rest your body and produce the hormones you need to relax and get a better sleep. This is one staple that you need in your pantry!