The sweetener in your pantry isn't just for culinary adventures. Here are four ways honey benefits your health.
It's antibacterial: Folk remedies and research both show that cuts and scrapes can benefit from a honey dressing. Researchers in one study found that bees impart an immune-boosting, bacteria-killing protein into honey during its production, while other studies have shown that honey made from the New Zealand manuka tree destroys certain skin bacteria. Honey also contains hydrogen peroxide, which also helps with wounds. Go for honey with a deep amber color: the darker the honey, the more antibacterial (and antioxidant) power.
It may help with allergies: Sick of suffering from seasonal sniffles? Grab a pot of local honey at your next farmers market trip. Since the honey contains pollen from local plants, many people swear by it as a natural immune booster that can also protect against allergic reactions to those same plants. Try taking two to three spoonfuls every day for several months leading up to pollen season.
It can help with cough: A spoonful of honey goes down easier than cough syrup, and it may just be more effective as well. Studies have shown that honey beats out the cough suppressant dextromethorphan for easing nighttime cough in children with colds.
It's packed with antioxidants: You know that eating more fruits and vegetables can help you live longer, and so can eating honey. Like dark chocolate and red wine, honey is packed with disease-fighting flavonoids, which have been shown to reduce heart disease and inflammation, slow cognitive decline, and boost immunity.