health

10 Surprising Ways Honey Can Help Your Skin, Brain, And Other Organs

by Laura Caseley
Laura is a writer, illustrator, and artist living in New York City.

Everyone likes something a little sweet sometimes. Even if you’re not the biggest fan of dessert foods, a little something sweet can really brighten your mood.

But of course, eating too much sugar, especially refined sugars and artificial sweeteners, can really take a toll on your health. But luckily, there’s an alternative that’s not only sweet, but actually helps your body in amazing, but totally unexpected ways: honey!

Honey, made by our pals the bees, has been enjoyed by humans for thousands of years as a tasty food additive for both sweet and savory dishes, but also as a medicine, and has even been fermented into mead, a sweet alcoholic beverage. There are even cave paintings of people gathering honey dating from 8,000 years ago! Its golden color and warm, earthy sweetness has made it a favorite all over the world.

Honey is sugary, so while it should be consumed in moderation, it’s way better for you than refined sugar. And while it’s sweetening your tea, your toast, or your barbecue sauce, it’s also doing some secret work in your body to keep you healthy and happy. It might even be the secret to soothing annoying seasonal allergies.

Check out some of the hidden benefits of honey below, and try a spoonful of it instead of regular sugar next time!

Please note, though, that honey should NOT be given to infants under 1 year of age, as it can cause serious reactions due to the pollen spores. It should also never be used in place of doctor-prescribed medication.

Honey Benefit #1: Soothes Allergies

Honey Benefit #1: Soothes Allergies
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Honey has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe allergy symptoms.

Eating local honey — that is, honey made from the pollen of flowers in your area — can also get your body used to that pollen and lessen your allergic reactions.

When allergy season starts up, consume a small amount of locally grown honey to get your body prepared, and help it stay calm during those polleny days.

Honey Benefit #2: Stops Coughs And Sore Throats

Honey Benefit #2: Stops Coughs And Sore Throats
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Honey, especially buckwheat honey, is great for soothing a scratchy, irritated throat.

If your throat is bothering you, especially at night, try taking two teaspoons of honey. Try it alone or mix it into some calming herbal tea for a good night’s sleep.

Honey’s thick consistency coats the throat, soothing the irritated areas that make you cough.

Honey Benefit #3: Boosts Memory

Honey Benefit #3: Boosts Memory
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Honey is full of antioxidants that reduce cell damage and protect your brain.

One study showed that honey eaten daily was helpful in preserving the memory of postmenopausal women.

How does honey help memory? Well, it aids in the body’s absorption of calcium, which is a crucial part of brain health and function.

Honey Benefit #4: Calms Dandruff

Honey Benefit #4: Calms Dandruff
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Honey makes a great temporary treatment for dandruff.

Dilute it with a little warm water and apply it to dry, flaky patches, then leave it in for about three hours before rinsing out.

Honey’s natural antibacterial and antifungal properties will soothe the scalp and heal any infected or wounded areas.

Honey Benefit #5: Sanitizes Wounds

Honey Benefit #5: Sanitizes Wounds
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Honey has antibacterial properties, and its simple sugars have a drying effect on skin that helps keeps minor cuts and burns closed and clean.

People have been using honey as a topical medicine for thousands of years.

That being said, if you’re going to use honey on a wound, stick to using it on smaller, more superficial wounds. Major wounds still need medical attention!

 

Honey Benefit #6: Helps With Sleep

Honey Benefit #6: Helps With Sleep
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There’s a reason we like sweet things: Sugar causes a rise in insulin and serotonin, which elevates the mood and makes us feel relaxed.

Serotonin is converted by the body to melatonin, which regulates deep, regular sleep.

Honey does the same thing, and it also contains tryptophan, an amino acid that causes a drowsy, content feeling (think how you feel after a Thanksgiving meal).

Before sleep, drink honey in some herbal tea and you’ll be nodding off in no time.

Honey Benefit #7: Gives A Healthy Midday Boost

Honey Benefit #7: Gives A Healthy Midday Boost
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Honey can help you sleep and wake you up? Crazy! But also true.

Honey has carbohydrates thanks to its unprocessed sugar, which give us short-term energy.

If you’re feeling the slump in the middle of the day, add a shot of honey to a cup of tea (some people even like it in coffee, but the jury’s out on that one!), or drizzle some on a piece of fruit.

Honey Benefit #8: Soothes The Gastrointestinal Tract

Honey Benefit #8: Soothes The Gastrointestinal Tract
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Just as it can soothe irritation on the outside of the body, honey can also soothe your insides, too.

Irritated GI tracts have also shown some improvement when honey is introduced into the diet.

While honey does have antibacterial properties, it’s also simultaneously a probiotic, just with the bacteria your body needs!

These friendly bacteria are great for aiding in digestive health.

Of course, always talk to your doctor before switching up your diet if you have digestive issues.

Honey Benefit #9: Great For Skin

Honey Benefit #9: Great For Skin
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Honey is great for your skin! Its antibacterial qualities gently cleanse and soothe the skin, and antioxidants protect cells from free radical damage, which can cause premature aging. Honey’s also great for reducing swelling and puffiness.

Mix some with olive or coconut oil and regular sugar into a thick paste to make a gentle facial scrub, or mix with sea salt for a body scrub.

Honey Benefit #10: Boosts Your Friendly Bacteria

Honey Benefit #10: Boosts Your Friendly Bacteria
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Honey is packed with friendly bacteria like lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, which aid not only in digestion, but in keeping your body a healthy, functioning ecosystem.

Sweeten some yogurt with honey and you’ll keep your internal flora thriving!

What’s your favorite honey recipe? Let us know in the comments, and SHARE these fascinating honey health facts with anyone who has a sweet tooth!