The Benefits of Raw Honey for Gut Healt
Honey is acclaimed for its wide variety of health benefits and medicinal purposes, with its use dating back to over 8,000 years. It has widely been used for its therapeutic effects, and notably, has a specific connection to gut health.
It can be difficult to stay on top of all aspects of your health and wellbeing, juggling different supplements and medicines. It would be much more enjoyable to get the majority of our nutrients from the delicious food available to us, rather than from multiple, bland supplements. With the rise of probiotic and prebiotic foods that can boost our health, this is where honey comes in.
Honey offers a range of health benefits, including its prebiotic properties. As an excellent prebiotic, honey contains compounds called oligosaccharides that are not digestible in the small intestines. This means they are able to reach the large intestine and be utilised by good bacteria to produce nutrients that the body can use. Ultimately, this is the main reason why honey can be an excellent addition to your diet to help maintain and boost your gut health.
The Importance of Gut Health
Why is the connection between honey and gut health so important? The makeup and functionality of your gut mean that its health has the ability to affect your whole body. If you have ever suffered from poor gut health, you know how frustrating and often debilitating it can be to find a solution for your discomfort.
You may have also stumbled across the term ‘GI’ in your gut health endeavours. Your Gastrointestinal (GI) microflora is now being recognised as one of the most prevailing factors that influence human health. It is a dynamic equilibrium that requires balance for optimal health and can be altered by your diet.
Signs of an unhealthy gut include symptoms like stomach discomfort, fatigue, food cravings, unintentional weight loss, skin irritation, allergies, autoimmune conditions, mood issues and migraines. These symptoms are so varied and can exacerbate one another, making it even more important to nurture your gut health.
One way to protect your gut health is by eating enough foods that contain “good bacteria”, often known as probiotics, that your gut needs to be healthy. Probiotics support the digestive system, in addition to helping with constipation, mental sharpness, diarrhea, anxiety and depression, as well as keeping our immune system strong.
Honey and Gut Health
As symptoms of poor gut health are extremely vague and can be attributed to many other issues, it can be difficult to pinpoint a solution. Fortunately, modern research is indicating honey as a therapeutic supplement beneficial for gut health.
Dating back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, Greek and Roman times, raw honey was consistently used to treat diseases of the intestines. It has long been observed that honey can be used to overcome liver, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal problems. As a natural product, honey is composed primarily of fructose and glucose with 4 to 5% fructooligosaccharides that serve as prebiotic agents. It ultimately has a very complex chemical composition, containing over 180 substances including amino acids, vitamins, minerals and enzymes suitable for health and wellness purposes.
Today, we know that it is the probiotic bacteria and prebiotic carbohydrates within honey that is responsible for the gut microbial balance. The oligosaccharides within honey promote the growth of lactobacilli, bifidobacteria, and antimicrobial components which can increase the probiotic effects. Honey also enhances the endogenous colonic probiotic bacteria and subsequently helps support the body’s natural detoxification and antigenotoxic processes.
Honey is essentially a potent prebiotic that helps balance gut pH levels, promote the growth and activity of probiotic bacteria, and help boost and maintain both gut and overall health.
Types of Honey for Gut Health
While there is no doubt that all types of honey taste delicious, they do not all possess the same health benefits.
Store-bought honey is generally highly pasteurised, contains fewer health benefits, and may even be diluted with additives like high fructose corn syrup. These additives reduce the raw quality of honey, and subsequently, strip it of many of its benefits.
Honey’s high in carbohydrate content, with a low glycaemic index and fructose and glucose properties can be a suitable energy source and higher in health benefits that are essential for promoting gut health.
Raw honey is that which is derived straight from the hive and eaten in its purest form. The rawer the honey, the more health benefits it can provide, making it much more beneficial than your typical store-bought honey.
Raw honey means the health benefits are optimised, without a loss in the delicious, sweet taste. It supports the gut so well because it has not been stripped of its prebiotic fibre components needed to feed the probiotics to provide healthy bacteria in the gut.
While more processed honey is acid-forming, raw honey is alkaline-forming and helps combat inflammation as an essential aspect of gut health. This also means that raw honey does not ferment in the stomach like most refined sugars, and will not aggravate the digestive tract.
The unique antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties within manuka honey make it nature’s perfect antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal solution.
Manuka honey also provides antioxidant support that works with its other properties extremely well to create a superior natural remedy. This combination of effects means it is capable of supporting digestion, immune function and skin health.
Consuming Honey for Gut Health
In a scientific investigation, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Nural Cokcetin, tested 25 different types of Australian honey and identified that the majority offered a significant boost to beneficial gut bacteria when consumed on a regular basis.
So how much, how often, and how exactly should honey be consumed to reap its gut health benefits?
How Much to Consume?
Research suggests that consuming just 20g of honey daily can offer favourable changes in health.
However, as honey is an intense form of carbohydrates and sugar, it is recommended that it is used as a substitute for sugar, especially when being added to other processed foods, instant formula, or children’s snacks. This will help prevent the growth of fungi or any formation of mycotoxins with any products manufactured from agriculture materials.
How to Consume?
Although honey is being used in this scenario for health purposes, this certainly doesn’t mean it needs to be consumed like medicine. In addition to honey’s health benefits, it is also a delicious, sweet, and enjoyable food that can bring joy and flavour to your existing meals.
Some ways to incorporate honey into your diet include:
- Adding honey to tea: Dissolving a tablespoon of honey into a warm cup of herbal tea can counteract indigestion, treat diarrhea and restore and neutralise gut health. It is important to allow the tea to cool slightly before adding honey, as boiling water can have damaging effects on the honey’s prebiotic properties.
- Add to your morning smoothie: Mixing a tablespoon of honey into your morning smoothie will boost the carbohydrate content and help keep you energised and fuelled for hours. Not to mention, it helps make any smoothie taste even more delicious! You can even find your new favourite smoothie recipe on our blog.
- Add to yoghurt: Stirring a tablespoon of honey into your yoghurt will mean the prebiotic and probiotic properties within each can complement one another.
While it is always best to seek advice from your doctor before stopping any medication, depending on your medical history, honey could be a great source of probiotics to implement into your diet and help you maintain a healthy gut microbiome.
For more information on how to use honey as a natural remedy, visit our blog for more in-depth inspections of the benefits of honey. For any other enquiries that you may have, contact us at Vallentine’s Honey, we look forward to hearing from you.
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