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Amazing Benefits of Honey (+5 Refreshing Recipes)

Amazing Benefits of Honey (+5 Refreshing Recipes)

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 April 6, 2020

            How To Be Successful In Life: 13 Life-Changing Tips

            How To Be Successful In Life: 13 Life-Changing Tips

            What is success to you? How to be successful in life?

            To some, when they think of success, they imagine wealth; others want power; some just want to make a positive impact on the world.

            All of these are perfectly valid, indeed success is a concept that means different things to different people. Though no matter what success is to you, it almost certainly isn’t something will come easily.

            There are countless guides and books to being successful, however, as success is personal and unique to each individual. The advice contained in these books can often not be relevant. Therefore following the advice of a single individual can often be unhelpful.

            With this in mind, considering the advice of a great many people, people whose ideas of success were different both to each other, and quite possibly, to you can be a good alternative.

            What follows is a list of 13 of the best pieces of advice from some of the most successful people who have ever lived. If you want to learn how to be successful, these tips are essential:

            1. Think Big

              From Michelangelo Buonarroti, Great Renaissance Artist:

              “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

              There are few artists as influential as Michaelangelo. Today centuries after his death, his work still inspires and connects to people. His work is world famous, just think of his statue of David, or the Mural in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

              Imagine then, if he decided not to work as an artist.

              Being a successful artist has always been extremely difficult, imagine if he decided to give up this ambition in favour of something easier?

              Oftentimes, people often decided to put their dreams aside for something more “realistic”. To give up their dream for something easier. This quote teaches us the danger of such a point of view.
              Instead be ambitious.

              2. Find What You Love to Do and Do It

                From Oprah Winfrey, Media Mogul:

                “You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.”

                This is a good quote to remember and think about when you’re at work.

                Imagine being as successful as possible in your current job. Ultimately you’ll probably find yourself working extremely hard and this it will take up much of your time.

                If it’s a job you hate, then being successful at it might only mean filling your life with something you hate to do. What’s the sense in this?

                Instead, why not focus on doing something you love? When you’ve found what you’re passionate about, you get the motivation to keep you moving. Success at this means the fulfilment of your dreams.

                Not sure what your passion is yet? You should learn about this Motivation Engine first.

                Even if you’re not successful, you still filled your time with something you love to do. Many successful musicians spent years of their lives doing unpaid performances, the only reason they kept playing was because they loved to perform.

                3. Learn How to Balance Life

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                  From Phil Knight, CEO of Nike Inc.:

                  “There is an immutable conflict at work in life and in business, a constant battle between peace and chaos. Neither can be mastered, but both can be influenced. How you go about that is the key to success.”

                  All too often, people think that to be successful, they need to make the object of their success their life.

                  If a person thinks their job will lead them to success, then they may spend countless hours per day, and well into the evening working hard.

                  However this comes at the cost of rest, your health and having an enjoyable life. Ultimately they may burn out and cease to be successful at their job anyway.

                  If success comes from having a strong social life and a good group of friends, their job may suffer; meaning that they may lose their job, and then be unable to afford going out with friends.

                  In these ways, success, as Phil Knight says above, is helped by balance. Think of it as a balance between rest and work, or work and play.

                  To achieve that balance, this Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life can help you.

                  4. Do Not Be Afraid of Failure

                    From Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motors:

                    “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

                    There is a story, it’s unconfirmed whether it actually happened, yet the message within is none the less true:

                    Thomas Edison inventing the lightbulb was the result of several hundred failed attempts. In an interview, he was asked “How do you feel after all of your failed attempts?”

                    His response was great, “I didn’t fail, I learned hundreds of ways not to invent the lightbulb”

                    He saw each “failure” as a lesson. From that lesson he learned what won’t work, and also might work instead.

                    Each failed attempt, each rejection, were key steps on his path to success. It is easy to feel like you should give up after a failure. But perhaps in that failure is a lesson.

                    Pay attention to your failures, study them. Perhaps then you’ll learn how to succeed.

                    If you find it difficult to fight your fear of failure, here’s a guide for you: Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It Step-By-Step)

                    5. Have an Unwavering Resolution to Succeed

                      From Colonel Sanders, Founder of KFC:

                      “I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know.”

                      This, in many ways relates to the above quote about learning from your failures.

                      It’s the easiest thing in the world to give up from a failure. The only way to push on is if you have the true burning desire to succeed, to not be moved or dissuaded from your goals.

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                      If you are not truly dedicated towards success, then each failure will hurt more, each set back will slow you down.

                      Success is hard; without the unwavering desire to succeed, this difficulty may seem insurmountable. With the desire, it is merely an obstacle to go through.

                      6. Be a Person of Action

                        From Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance Genius:

                        “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

                        Though it was said hundreds of years ago, it works just as much today as it ever had. It applies to literally any successful person.

                        Think about it, picture someone like William Shakespeare:

                        When we think of the time he lived in, we think of the time in a way shaped by him. When we think of Renaissance era Italy, we think of Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. Or think about the present day, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Our current way of life would simply be incomparably different if they didn’t accomplish what they did.

                        You’re probably reading this article on a device by a company that they either founded or companies influenced by them.

                        All these figures were proactive, they saw ways to do things differently and did them. If they let the world shape them, then they’d simply fit into the background. Instead they shaped the world.

                        Applying this to you?

                        Don’t be afraid of going outside the norm. If you can think of a better way to do something, do it that way. If you fail, try again.

                        7. Cultivate Positive Relationships

                          From Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of America: “

                          The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”

                          The best leaders and some of the most influential people (and Theodore Roosevelt is one of the best leaders and one of the most influential people to have lived) were not those who caused commotions, who fought with people or disregarded people; but were people who were friendly to those around them.

                          People liked them. They wanted them to do well.

                          This is key to good leadership.

                          It’s logical. If someone likes you, they want to help you; if you give them a suggestion, they’ll gladly follow through with it.

                          But if someone doesn’t like you, they may either refuse to help or actively get in your way.

                          What’s more, it’s always a good idea to cultivate good relationships. You can never tell who will prove to become someone who’ll be able to help you in a big way, or even be a good and supportive friend.

                          As such, help people and they may help you; and be good to people, and they my be good to you.

                          8. Don’t Be Afraid of Introducing New Ideas

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                            From Mark Twain, Famed Author:

                            “A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”

                            It is an unfortunate truth that those with the boldest ideas are often disregarded.

                            Most of us are taught from an early age to think and do things similarly to everyone else. This can be great to fill an existing role. But to truly do things differently (and all successful people did things differently), you need to think differently.

                            If you have a new idea, don’t throw it away because it’s new and different; instead, celebrate it. Your strange new idea might one day be the one that leads you to success.

                            9. Believe in Your Capacity to Succeed

                              From Walter Disney, Founder of Walt Disney Company:

                              “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

                              Success has to be something you can imagine yourself achieving.

                              It is possible that you will come across those who doubt you and your ability to succeed. You must not become one of these people because the moment you cease believing and dreaming is the moment these dreams fall away.

                              Keep dreaming!

                              10. Always Maintain a Positive Mental Attitude

                                From Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of America:

                                “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

                                Like the above quote says, you need to trust in your ability to succeed. This is the only way to cultivate the right mindset.

                                Replace negative thoughts with the positive ones. You need to approach problems, not as obstacles stopping you, but merely tasks that need to be completed for you to keep going.

                                If you stay positive and think like this, setbacks won’t affect you so much, people’s doubts won’t impact you and even the biggest obstacles will seem like minor problems.

                                However with the wrong mindset of doubt, you’ll be much easier to stop.

                                11. Don’t Let Discouragement Stop You from Pressing On

                                  From Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of America:

                                  “Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed.”

                                  It is an unfortunate fact of human nature — all of us in some way, doubt ourselves. This can be made far worse if others doubt us too.

                                  When surrounded by doubts, giving up can actually seem like a good idea.

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                                  Don’t pay attention to the doubts. If you are discouraged, ignore it.

                                  If this discouragement moves into your mind and you begin to doubt yourself. It is important to ignore this too.

                                  This is How Self Doubt Keeps You Stuck and How to Overcome It

                                  12. Be Willing to Work Hard

                                    From JC Penny, Founder of JC Penney Inc.:

                                    “Unless you are willing to drench yourself in your work beyond the capacity of the average man, you are just not cut out for positions at the top.”

                                    You might have heard the quote that “success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration” or you may have heard about the 10,000 hours idea.

                                    Whichever way you frame it, they say one thing:

                                    True success comes from work.

                                    You’ll never become successful if you don’t work towards your goal in life and keep working towards it.

                                    Check out this article and you’ll understand Why Hard Work Beats Talent.

                                    13. Be Brave Enough to Follow Your Intuition

                                      From Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple Inc.:

                                      “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

                                      In ancient Greece, there was a group of Oracles who lived in Delphi. Everyone who needed advice or to know their future visited them, from the poorest of society to kings. Above the doorway of the temple were the words “know thyself”.

                                      If you strongly believe and desire something, chances are that you already have an idea how to get there. If not, you may naturally know what things will help you and what things will slow you down.

                                      It’s like how your body can detect danger even when things seem safe.

                                      Ultimately then, you need to trust your own instincts.

                                      Final Thoughts

                                      What you might have noticed is that many of the above lessons are similar — most are about developing the right state of mind. This clearly suggests that the key to achieving success, in whatever you wish, comes down to the way you approach it mentally.

                                      Moreover, no matter what stage of life you’re at now, you can still make a difference and pursue success. You can make resetting your life possible when you do this: How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                                      More Tips for Achieve Success

                                      Featured photo credit: Ryan Wong via unsplash.com

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