Why Is Honey So Good For You?
My year 9 Home Economics teacher would say that honey is basically the same as sugar. She understood the value of honey, purely for its sweetness when it came to baking and cooking. Gram for gram, honey may indeed have a similar caloric value to table sugar. However, from a nutritional perspective, I've come to understand that honey is in fact, quite a beautiful gift from nature that affords us many health benefits.
Firstly, honey has a raft of nutrients that simple sugar does not possess. Honey is high in iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin C, magnesium, selenium, and B vitamins. There's also a heap of polyphenolic compounds that contribute to honey's anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects as well. Dozens of published papers demonstrate honey's therapeutic and medicinal value in human health. Honey has been shown to protect against heart disease, reduce the risk of cognitive decline, prevent infections, lowers inflammation and promote wound healing.
Health Benefits of Honey
- Rich in Antioxidants: Honey is packed with compounds like flavonoids, tocopherols and phenolic acids that act as antioxidants. These powerful compounds fight off free radicals in our bodies, which helps to reduce the risk of premature aging, as well as fight against heart disease and cancer.
- Digestive Aid: It's not just a sweet fix, honey can also help with digestive issues. It is known to soothe acid reflux and gastritis, and its prebiotic properties can promote healthy gut bacteria.
- Boost Immunity & Prevents Sore Throats: A teaspoon of honey can calm an inflamed throat and suppress coughs. It's a natural expectorant remedy that has been used for centuries to relieve cold and flu symptoms. Combined with ginger, lemon or turmeric and honey truly shines as an immune-boosting superfood.
- Skin Health & Wound Healing: Honey's nourishing and antibacterial properties make it a natural choice for skin care, helping to support and hydrate the skin, and even treat acne. Honey has naturally occurring hydrogen peroxide, which is necessary for tissue healing in burns, cuts and stings.
- Allergy relief: Local honey can even help alleviate seasonal allergies. Consuming it can help your body build a tolerance to local pollen, reducing allergy symptoms.
Want to learn more about how honey supports immunity and whether it's safe or not for babies? Check out this in-depth article on the health benefits of raw and local honey.
Simple Ways To Enjoy Honey
If you’re looking for ways to enjoy your favourite natural sweet treat, here’s some inspiration to get you started. Of course, you can simply enjoy the earthy, fragrant sweetness just by just dropping a teaspoon straight into a jar of raw and unprocessed honey. When it comes to honey, my advice is ‘by the spoonful’ can be medicine for the body and the soul!
Otherwise, for a sweet swap out from banana bread, you could try a delicious golden apricot and walnut bread. This option is great as it’s customisable to your tastes (and whatever you have in your pantry). Adapt your own version with other nuts or seeds and you’ve got a fairly healthy breakfast alternative ready for the week. Adding a drizzle of honey to your favourite healthy smoothies with freshly toasted coconut and homemade nut milk are also great ways to reap the benefits this sweet elixir offers.
For some ready-made honey treats, try these on for size:
9 Honey Recipes To Try At Home
Sweet, savoury and even medicinal recipes. There are so many ways to harness the flavour and the benefits of natural honey.
Here are 9 recipes using honey that you can easily prepare at home:
Honey and Fig Chia Pudding
- In a bowl, mix together the chia seeds and almond milk. Let this mixture sit for about 15 minutes until the chia seeds have absorbed the milk and have a gel-like consistency.
- Stir in the honey until it's well incorporated.
- Once the pudding is ready, transfer it to a serving dish or bowl.
- Top with the chopped figs and drizzle a little more honey, if desired.
- You can serve this pudding immediately or refrigerate it for up to 3 days.
Honey and Ginger Immunity Tea
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger peeled and sliced
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- Juice of half a lemon
- In a small pot, bring the water and sliced ginger to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, allowing the ginger to infuse the water.
- Remove from heat and add the honey, stirring until it fully dissolves.
- Add the lemon juice to taste.
- Strain the tea into a mug and enjoy it hot.
Honey Nut Granola
- 2 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup of your favourite nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, or cashews), roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup of honey
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup of dried fruit (such as raisins or cranberries), optional
- Preheat the oven to 150°C.
- In a large bowl, combine the oats and nuts.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the honey, oil, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt.
- Pour the honey mixture over the oats and nuts, stirring to ensure everything is well coated.
- Spread the mixture evenly onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the granola is golden brown, stirring halfway through to ensure even cooking.
- If you're using dried fruit, stir it in once the granola has cooled.
Honey Nut Trail Mix Bars
- 2 cups of your favourite nuts (like almonds, walnuts, or pecans), roughly chopped
- 1 cup of mixed seeds (like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds)
- 1 cup of dried fruit (like sultanas, dried blueberries, cranberries, or apricots)
- 1/2 cup of honey
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 175°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, mix the chopped nuts, seeds, and dried fruit together.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the honey and vanilla extract until they combine into syrup.
- Pour the honey syrup over the nut and fruit mixture, stirring well until everything is evenly coated.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking tray, pressing it down firmly to create an even layer.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.
- Allow the bars to cool completely in the tray before cutting into individual bars.
Honey Oat Biscuits
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (can be GF)
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Preheat your oven to 175°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In another bowl, whisk together the melted butter and honey until combined. Then whisk in the egg until fully incorporated.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Form the biscuits into tablespoon-sized balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake in preheated oven for 12 - 15 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp.
- Allow to cool before serving.
Honey, Coconut and Dried Cherry Bliss Balls
- 1 cup of dried cherries
- 1 cup of desiccated coconut, plus extra for rolling
- 1/2 cup of honey
- 1 cup of almonds
- 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
- Zest of one lemon (optional)
- Place the dried cherries, desiccated coconut, honey, almonds, chia seeds, and lemon zest (if using) in a food processor.
- Process the ingredients until they form a sticky mixture.
- With clean hands, roll the mixture into small balls, about the size of a truffle.
- Roll each ball in the extra desiccated coconut to coat.
- Place the balls on a lined baking tray and refrigerate for at least an hour, or until they’re firm.
- Store the bliss balls in an airtight container in the fridge.