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Amazing Benefits of Honey (+5 Refreshing Recipes)

Amazing Benefits of Honey (+5 Refreshing Recipes)
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When a cup of tea or a piece of toast is in need of some sweetness, honey often does the trick. This deliciously sweet and sticky substance produced by bees can offer you more health benefits than you might expect, and it’s actually been used for centuries for its claimed healing properties.

Despite the fact that honey is just a natural form of simple sugar, it’s possible to use it strategically to support a healthy weight and improve your health overall. So if you thought that sugar was really all that bad for you, think again.

Skeptical, but curious to find out more? Here’re how this natural sweetener can help you become healthier.

1. It helps regulate your blood sugar.

Honey is a simple sugar, but research has shown that it’s more beneficial for the body than table sugar (for healthy adults at least–perhaps not for diabetics). During the honey-making process, the bees divide the honey molecules into glucose and fructose, which our bodies can directly absorb for a gentler impact on blood sugar levels. With table sugar (sucrose), however, our bodies have to work to separate the molecules before using it as energy, causing blood sugar levels to get a bigger jolt.

2. It can promote the growth of good bacteria in your gut.

Research has shown that swapping out table sugar for honey can help to prevent the harmful effects of bad bacteria in the intestine by providing probiotics that increase good bacteria. To get the full benefit of honey’s gut bacteria balancing power, however, you’ll need to select a type of raw honey with the least amount of processing. Heating, filtering and processing honey eliminates the enzymes and nutrients that make it such a functional food for health.

3. It may improve brain function.

Although there’s very little research to back it up at the moment, raw honey is known to contain naturally active compounds that can enhance memory and lower anxiety. In a study on postmenopausal women who were given tualang honey as a supplement, results showed improvements in immediate memory. Despite these findings, more scientifically rigorous research is still needed to determine with more precision how honey really impacts the brain and nervous system.

4. It can be used to soothe a sore throat or cough.

Honey has long been used as a popular home remedy for the common cold because of its natural anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. In a study conducted on children aged two and up with respiratory tract infections, two teaspoons of honey taken orally before bedtime was shown to have helped reduce nighttime coughing and promote better sleep. Although safe for most adults and children over one year old, honey should never be given to babies (due to concerns of botulism).

5. It can help you get a better night’s sleep.

If you find that you never quite feel rested when it’s time to get up in the morning, try drinking some milk or herbal tea with honey before bed. Consuming a bit of honey prior to hitting the hay will cause a steady rise in insulin along with a mood-boosting release of serotonin, which is then turned into melatonin–the hormone responsible for sleep regulation. Your brain also uses quite a lot of energy when you sleep, so a small amount of honey may help improve your of sleep quality.

6. It can give you an energy boost.

Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy, and at 17 grams per tablespoon, honey can give you a dense hit of simple carbs in the morning when you need to wake up, before an intense workout, or any time of the day when you feel a bit of a slump. You likely won’t need more than a tablespoon. Honey doesn’t have any protein, fat or fiber to it, so stick to a very small portion to avoid insulin spikes that could cause you to crash later on. It does, however, have as many as 80 valuable nutrients to offer–including vitamins A, C, D, E, K and all the B-complex plus essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and others.

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7. It can aid in the healing process of wounds and burns.

For non-severe burns and wounds of the skin, topical application of honey to the affected area may help it heal faster and more effectively. It turns out that honey’s acidity, hydrogen peroxide content, osmotic effect, nutritional and antioxidant contents, stimulation of immunity, and other compounds work together to promote new tissue growth and minimize scarring. As long as a burn or wound is mild enough not to require medical treatment from a professional, honey may be used as a safe, effective and all natural healing remedy.

8. It encourages you to cut down on table sugar so that you can lose or maintain weight.

Per tablespoon, honey is about 64 calories while standard sucrose (a.k.a. table sugar) is about 48 calories. Yikes, there’re more calories in honey than in regular sugar! But it’s not all bad news. In fact, honey is much sweeter than regular sugar, meaning that you need less of it than you would if you used sugar. If you were to go by sweetness rather than by the tablespoon, you’d most likely end up consuming less calories by choosing honey over sugar, which is great for anyone who’s looking to shed a few pounds or avoid gaining any.

How to Incorporate the Benefits of Honey Into Your Diet

Keep in mind that raw honey is best for its rich nutrition, and when shopping around for specific brands, make sure to go for the type that is extremely dark in color. The darker the honey, the less processing it’s been through and the higher its nutritional calue.

Honey is more of a condiment or an ingredient you add to foods to make them taste better. Check out the list below for a few creative and delicious ways to liven up your current meals and snacks with honey.

(Note: The first three recipes require heating the honey in order to cook with it, which may destroy some of its nutrients. If you want to leave all of its nutritional content intact, try the last two recipes, which don’t require heating the honey.)

1. Honey Roasted Butternut Squash

    Here’s a sweet way you can use honey to get yourself eating more vegetables (even though butternut squash actually belongs to the fruit family).

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb butternut squash, cut into cubes
    • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 2 teaspoons parsley, chopped
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Directions:

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    Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the cubed butternut squash and the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and toss gently to coat all the cubes. Spread the cubes out on a baking sheet with parchment paper and roast them in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes until they turn lightly brown and are soft when poked with a fork.

    2. Grilled Honey Garlic Salmon

      When it comes to cooking up a few salmon fillets, you can experiment with different toppings for a nice burst of flavor. Natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup make a perfect addition to this healthy, omega-3-rich fish!

      Ingredients:

      • 4 salmon fillets
      • 4 tablespoons butter
      • 4 tablespoons honey
      • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
      • 2 cloves garlic, minced
      • 2 teaspoons parsley, chopped
      • Sea salt to taste

      Directions:

      Preheat your oven to medium-high heat on its grill or broil setting. Cook the butter in a skillet on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes until the foam disappears and it changes to a light brown color. Add the honey, garlic and lemon juice, stirring it all in for about a minute. Remove the skillet from the stovetop and pour half of the mixture out into a glass bowl to save for later.

      Place the salmon fillets skin side down in the skillet with the remaining mixture and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until they turn a golden color. Remove the skillet and transfer it to the oven to grill or broil the salmon for about 6 minutes. The top layer of the salmon should flake away when it’s done. Transfer them to plates, drizzle with the remaining mixture from the bowl, and season with salt and parsley.

      3. Honey Roasted Almonds

        Nuts make a perfectly healthy and filling snack almost any time of the day. For those who love a little something that’s both sweet and salty, roasting your own nuts with honey will make them taste like candy.

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        Ingredients:

        • 3 cups raw almonds
        • 4 tablespoons honey
        • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
        • 1/2 teaspoon salt
        • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

        Directions:

        Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt the butter first in the microwave (if you’re using it instead of oil) and then mix in the honey. In a large bowl, mix the almonds with the honey and butter/oil mixture until they’re full coated. Spread them out on the baking sheet and bake them for 10 minutes.

        Remove the almonds from the oven to stir and flip as many over as you can before returning them to the oven for another 10 minutes until they turn a golden brown color. After the baking, throw the almonds in a bowl and give them a thorough stir with the salt and sugar.

        4. Frozen Banana & Honey Smoothie

          One of the easiest ways to get the full benefits of honey without using heat is by using it to sweeten up your smoothies. Even if your smoothie is already pretty sweet, a tablespoon or two honey will probably make it taste even better.

          Ingredients:

          • 3 ripe bananas, sliced and frozen
          • 1/4 cup almond butter
          • 1 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
          • 2 tablespoons honey
          • 2 dates (optional)
          • Cinnamon to taste (optional)

          Directions:

          Blend all ingredients together in a blender until they’re smooth and creamy. You can add extra ice, water, or more almond milk to get your desired consistency.

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          5. Greek Yogurt with Mango Fruit, Granola and Honey

          When the weather's nice, I love having fruit, greek yogurt, honey and some crunchy granola for breakfast.

            A small amount of honey makes a great morning energizer. By combining honey with some protein and fiber, you’ll have a complete breakfast that will help you get through those early hours leading up to lunch.

            Ingredients:

            • 1/2 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
            • 1/2 cup fresh mango fruit, chopped
            • 1/3 cup granola
            • 1 tablespoon honey

            Directions:

            Scoop out the yogurt into a bowl and top it with the mango and granola. Drizzle the honey over everything, serve and enjoy!

            Honey is really one of Mother Nature’s most spectacular foods. Here’s hoping that we can keep the bee population healthy as we head into the future–not just for the honey, but more importantly for being the number one species we rely on to cross-pollinate crops that make it possible for us to grow a wide variety of plant-based foods.

            Featured photo credits: Roasted butternut squash, grilled salmon, roasted almonds, banana smoothie, yogurt with fruit and granola.

            Featured photo credit: Oksana Shufrych via shutterstock.com

            More by this author

            Elise Moreau

            Elise helps desk workers lead healthier lifestyles. Visit her website on her profile to get a free list of health hacks.

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            Last Updated on July 12, 2021

            100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier

            100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier
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            Want to learn some quick and easy life hacks that are easy to do, low cost and saves you time?

            By tweaking little things in your daily life, it can make your life much more convenient!

            Here’re 100 of the most practical life hacks so you can just pick up any of them right away!

            83 tie a small piece of bright colored fabric

              84 write random letter

                85 use a rubberband

                  86 dorm smell bad

                    87 lean your phone on your sunglassess

                      89 how to waterproof your shoes

                        90 take a picture of the name card

                          91 iron inside out

                            92 old newspaper

                              93 tumble try shoes

                                keep a card like this

                                  SONY DSC

                                    94 soap bar

                                      95 make a hole

                                        96 drop the battery

                                          97 use a coozie

                                            98 when taking a picture

                                              use a clean dust pan

                                                try a pants hanger

                                                  use your cellphone light

                                                    use a spring from an old pen

                                                      quick and easy iphone speaker

                                                        user binder clips

                                                          wrap a wet paper towel around your beverage

                                                            put pancake mix in a ketchup bottle

                                                              clean out an old lotion bottle for your beach

                                                                use a muffin tin to serve condiments at a bbq

                                                                  doritos are great for kindling

                                                                    use nail polish to identify different keys

                                                                      use a hanging shoe rack to store cleaning supplies

                                                                        freeze grapes to chill white wine without

                                                                          use paper clips to organize your cables

                                                                            almost finished your jar of nutella

                                                                              sick of having a box full of tangled

                                                                                unroll the rim to increase the capacity

                                                                                  cut open toilet paper rolls and use as a cuff

                                                                                    remove the stem from strawberries

                                                                                      turn an old bottle into a simple little cord holder

                                                                                        for iced coffee and iced cappuccino, use frozen coffee cubes

                                                                                          how to fold a fitted bed sheet

                                                                                            tired of snoozing past your alarm

                                                                                              place a rubber band around an open paint can to wipe your brush on

                                                                                                ut a wooden spoon across a boiling pot

                                                                                                  use bread clips to save flip-flops

                                                                                                    take pictures of friends holding items

                                                                                                      how i always know which headphone is the left one

                                                                                                        put a stocking over the end of a vacuum

                                                                                                          How to make sure you drink enough water

                                                                                                            user a can opener to open blister

                                                                                                              good sandwich guide

                                                                                                                turn your muffin pans upside down

                                                                                                                  50 pounds of groceries and living on the 5th floor

                                                                                                                    the right way to make a blt

                                                                                                                      add one teaspoon of baking soda

                                                                                                                        38

                                                                                                                          hair straighteners equals to collar irons

                                                                                                                            stack your clothes vertically to see them all

                                                                                                                              the right way to make cookies in the summer

                                                                                                                                how to clean a blender

                                                                                                                                  the right way to eat a popsicle

                                                                                                                                    use bread clips to label and organize power cords

                                                                                                                                      to get the built up residue off of your shower head

                                                                                                                                        user a hair clip to orgainize long wires

                                                                                                                                          a frozen saturated sponge in a bag

                                                                                                                                            rub stuck zipper teeth with a graphite pencil

                                                                                                                                              use a soda pop tab

                                                                                                                                                50

                                                                                                                                                  51 How to multiply large numbers in your head.

                                                                                                                                                    52 How to open a bottle if you dont have a corkscrew.

                                                                                                                                                      rub a walnut on damaged wooden furniture

                                                                                                                                                        kids fall out of bed

                                                                                                                                                          use toothpaste to clear up hazy car

                                                                                                                                                            58

                                                                                                                                                              59 keep pizza out while driving home

                                                                                                                                                                60 put your straw through the tab to keep it from rising

                                                                                                                                                                  hold oreos with a fork so your fingers

                                                                                                                                                                    Never lose your remotes again

                                                                                                                                                                      hiding your emergency money

                                                                                                                                                                        use a bread tab to hold your spot on a roll

                                                                                                                                                                          if you are at a hotel and run out of chargers

                                                                                                                                                                            keep a square of cardboard in a ziplock bag

                                                                                                                                                                              If you need to pee or smoke at a bar

                                                                                                                                                                                drill holes in the bottom of your garbage

                                                                                                                                                                                  use an accented letter as your passcode

                                                                                                                                                                                    use a squeeze ketchup bottle top with your shopvac

                                                                                                                                                                                      do something unusual when locking the door

                                                                                                                                                                                        when heating leftovers space out a circle in the middle

                                                                                                                                                                                          dont burn yourself in those hard to reach candles

                                                                                                                                                                                            put a small amount of water in a glass when you microwave your pizza

                                                                                                                                                                                              75 use a piece of paper to organize

                                                                                                                                                                                                use half a pool noodle

                                                                                                                                                                                                  pencil case to store cables

                                                                                                                                                                                                    78 clothespin to hold nail

                                                                                                                                                                                                      79 make blts

                                                                                                                                                                                                        80 take a picture of your fridge

                                                                                                                                                                                                          81 fill plastic water bottles

                                                                                                                                                                                                            82 right ways to eat chips

                                                                                                                                                                                                              99 if your plug keeps failing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                100 put the banana on the wire

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  88 before you throw away a post it

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Source: Reddit LifeProTips

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There you go, 100 awesome life hacks that you can try right now to make your life a lot easier!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    30 Brilliant Camping Hacks I Wish I Knew Earlier

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    20 Popular Life Hacks From the Internet Debunked (or Verified)

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