Back To Basics – Honey

By: Nick Thomas

Almost everyone has a sweet tooth, and it always seems to strike hardest when a healthier eating path has been chosen. There are ways to naturally combat this issue and not destroy the goals which have been set. Honey is a fantastic natural sweetener and actually has some great health benefits as well.

Honey is a wonderful source of simple carbohydrates. Bees add enzymes to the nectar itself which is made up of mainly sucrose and water. When the enzymes are added, chemical compounds invert the sucrose into fructose and glucose which ultimately evaporates the majority of the water. This is actually what helps honey not spoil. The high level of fructose also makes honey sweeter than table sugar.

Many minerals and vitamins can be found in honey as well. They work together helping metabolize the undesirable cholesterol and fatty acid on the organs and tissues into the system, which helps prevent obesity and promote better overall health. A great way to gain the full benefit of this property found in honey is to have a cup of lukewarm water with honey and lemon juice each morning. This will promote weight loss and help flush the toxins and waste from the body.

Honey has a great glycemic index, which means that the sugars it contains can be gradually absorbed into the bloodstream so better digestion is achieved. This is much better than choosing foods with an excessively high glycemic index which prompt an elevated insulin release in the body to metabolize the sudden surge of glucose in the blood as a result of the pancreas being stimulated.  For this reason, honey can be an excellent option for diabetics who struggle with keeping blood sugar regulated.  Honey makes a wonderful food sweetener without the danger of an intense sugar spike.

For athletes struggling with muscle fatigue, honey is a simple solution to help endurance levels. Due to the combination of glucose and fructose being slowly absorbed, it sustains energy over performance time. Honey can increase energy levels as well because it contains the natural sugars which give a calorie surge. When feeling that mid-afternoon drag and sweet tooth, grab a cup of hot tea and add some honey. This will solve both issues. This same cup of tea will also act as a natural cough suppressant. Honey not only will sooth the throat, it has potent antibacterial properties which help kill bacteria that can lead to infections such as strep throat.

Finally, honey can even prove to be an effective sleep aid. If falling asleep seems to be a struggle, it could be due to the body being a bit chemically unbalanced. Honey is a type of carbohydrate that is fat digestible which allows tryptophan to enter your brain causing the stimulation of insulin release. The tryptophan triggers the tired feeling which brings on sleep.

Incorporating honey in a daily routine clearly has several benefits. Choosing a local honey can even help the body become more immune to the allergens in the surrounding area diminishing allergy symptoms over time.

By: Nick Thomas – owner of Prime Performance Training, and Certified Sports Nutritionist