Sweet and with a delicious amber color, it can be enjoyed alone, spread on bread or added to herbal teas and yogurt. In short, honey is a real treat. But it's not just this. Honey is also a valuable source of beneficial substances for the health of the body and mind. Let's try to understand better based on the latest scientific research.
Honey and its antiviral action
Several scientific studies have highlighted the antiviral properties of honey, for example, against influenza and airway viruses that cause coughs and sore throats (Al Hatamleh et al, Molecules, 2020). Not only that, honey, thanks to its flavonoid content, is also anti-inflammatory and this action further increases the body's natural defenses. In fact, long-term chronic inflammation weakens the immune system (Al Hatamleh et al, Molecules, 2020).
Honey and antioxidant properties
Honey has a high antioxidant power thanks to its content in polyphenols and flavonoids. It has been observed that honey enriched with aronia berries, as can be found in some specialized shops, increases the antioxidant properties and intensifies the antiviral and antibacterial action of honey (Milek et al, Food Funct, 2021).
Honey against chronic inflammation
Inflammation is the body's natural response to external threats. Therefore, inflammation normally plays a protective role by increasing the blood flow to the area to be treated, thus favoring the action of white blood cells. However, the inflammation, once it has protected the body, must pass. Instead, with age, stress, an unbalanced diet and some harmful habits such as smoking, it is possible that inflammation does not pass but always remains present. Chronic inflammation, in the long term, can weaken the immune system and pave the way for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and cellular degeneration. Honey has shown an interesting anti-inflammatory action. Not only that, honey has also proved useful in cases of colitis, by soothing and attenuating inflammation (Ranneh et al, BMC Complement Med Ther., 2021).
Honey and memory
Thanks to its polyphenol and flavonoid content, which are antioxidant substances, honey has also been shown to protect the brain and neurons from free radical damage. Not only that, honey helps to counteract neuroinflammation, which is inflammation in the brain and which, as emerges from recent studies, would be the fuse to trigger the development of Alzheimer's disease. In addition to this, honey polyphenols appear to act on neuroplasticity by modulating neuronal circuits and helping to support and improve cognitive function and memory (Rahman et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2014).
Honey and wounds
Honey has a high healing power, capable of stimulating the healing of wounds. Studies have observed that rhododendron honey has the greatest healing action. However, the other honeys have important healing properties, with the exception of chestnut honey (Leoni et al, Sci Rep, 2021). This honey, in fact, turned out to be the honey with the least healing properties. However, chestnut honey stands out for its high antioxidant effect, the most powerful of all types of honey. For its soothing and healing action, honey is often added to cosmetics or even to DIY face masks. In some hospitals, a product obtained from honey is being used to treat wounds in patients with a weak immune system. Well, in these cases honey has shown itself even better than antibiotics (Simon et al, GMS Krankenhhyg Interdiszip., 2006).
As we have seen, honey is characterized by interesting beneficial properties for health. However, one must not overdo it. In fact, in people predisposed or diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, high amounts of honey can increase blood sugar, fat mass and body weight levels (Akhbari et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2021).