For thousands of years cultures all across the world have been utilising the health benefits of honey and using this sweet, sticky substance for a wide range of medicinal purposes. The ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians all documented the healing properties of honey and to this day it still remains a firm favourite for many.

Today, thanks to in-depth studies and years of research, the health benefits of honey are better understood – particularly when it comes to locally sourced honey.

Healthy Replacement for Sugar

It’s no secret that one of the first things we should all do when trying to get healthier and lose weight is cut down on sugar. As honey is a sweet, tasty food it can be used as a substitute for refined sugar – a food which is purely empty calories. One study, published by the School of Exercise and Nutritional Studies at San Diego State University, found that opting for honey in place of sugar can prevent weight gain and promote lower blood sugar. This report also stated that using honey as a replacement for sugar can lower the levels of serum triglycerides (a dangerous form of fat in blood cells) in the body.

Thanks to these practical health benefits of honey as a replacement for sugar, it is believed that honey could help to manage diabetes. Numerous reports have shown that those who use honey in place of refined sugar are less at risk of contracting type 2 diabetes. For example, a Dubai university reported that a diet of natural honey can lower the levels of glucose in diabetic patients’ blood, especially when compared to sugars like dextrose and sucrose.

Local Honey Helps With Allergies

As the bees in your local area fly between flowers, the pollen that they collect and distribute might cause you to suffer from allergies. However if you eat local honey, sourced from the same bees that are triggering your allergy symptoms, you are likely to become less sensitive to the histamines in your neighbourhood.

It’s important to note that the health benefits of locally sourced honey do not kick in immediately. Instead, many sufferers of seasonal allergies have found that introducing the substance into their diet helps to desensitise them to the symptoms over a period of time. Of course, every individual is different but one 2013 study concluded that those who consumed local honey on a daily basis began to see a relief from their allergy issues after eight weeks.

The symptoms that these high doses of honey helped to relieve include itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose and itchy throat. If you are one of the many people who suffer from seasonal allergies, you might want to consider adding some local honey into your regular diet to reduce your response to spring and summer pollen.

Energy Boost

As honey contains natural sugars, water, vitamins, pollens, protein and a whole host of minerals, it comes as no surprise that this sweet treat is well known for being an effective energy booster. When you eat honey, you give yourself a big dose of liver glycogen– which is absorbed by muscles and converted into energy. This makes honey an ideal addition to anyone’s breakfast and a perfect pre or post workout snack. In fact, scientists at the University of Memphis found honey to be one of the best foods to eat immediately before exercise. So try out some raw, natural honey as a fuel or for recovery the next time you work out and you’re sure to see a difference in your levels of energy.

Rich in Antioxidants

Another health benefit of honey is just how packed with antioxidants it is. Flavonoids are antioxidants which are believed to have the potential to prevent some forms of cancer and heart disease. This suggests that a diet rich in honey might just work as an effective boost for the immune system.

It’s not just potentially fatal diseases like cancer that scientists believe honey can protect you against. The antioxidants and antibacterial properties of the food can help your immune system in general; helping you to stay healthy and fight off illnesses more easily.

Cough Suppressant

Most of us have grown up hearing that honey is a handy remedy for a cough. Don’t dismiss this idea as an old wives’ tale though, as it has been proven to be a highly effective treatment. A 2007 study at Penn State College of Medicine found that a small dose of buckwheat honey worked better than over the counter cough medicines for children suffering from upper-respiratory infections.

The way honey works as a cough suppressant is by coating the throat, calming sore inflammation and soothing nerve endings in the process. The World Health Organisation has also stated that honey is a reliable demulcent which can be used to alleviate coughing symptoms.

Start Enjoying the Health Benefits of Honey Today

As we’re now in the height of summertime, this is a great time to start buying some locally harvested honey and make the most of its many health benefits. If you’re not sure where to go to buy the best honey in your local area, have a look at this list of food shops and producers in and around Richmond upon Thames. There are many ways that you can introduce more honey into your diet including in tea, on cereal, with fruit, yoghurt or as a sweet, tasty salad dressing. Here is a full list of healthy and delicious ways to eat honey if you need some more inspiration and recipes.