It's a remedy that many of us turn to when we're feeling under the weather - honey in hot water. Honey is pretty rare in that it's sweet and tasty, almost like a treat food, but it's also very healthy. To learn more about what honey is and the health benefits it offers, stay tuned.
But first, what is honey and where does it come from?
Honey is a naturally produced food. This golden liquid is harvested by bees, using nectar from flowering plants. Typically, bees eat honey when there's a food shortage - but once upon a time, someone found that it was pretty tasty for humans, too.
With its delicious, sweet taste, honey is a favorite amongst foodies all over the world. There are many culinary uses of honey - it can be added to stir fry sauces and salads, as well as to desserts, especially in traditional European recipes.
Honey can also be added to water or tea. This adds sweetness and offers a whole host of health benefits that sugar or another sweetener can't provide. With it being an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antiviral and antimicrobial food source, the benefits and healing properties of honey are widely known today.
Let's look in more detail at the benefits of honey in water.
Health Benefits of Drinking Water with Honey
1. Improves Digestive Function
Individually, warm water and honey are both known for their ability to improve digestion. So it makes sense that drinking a glass of warm water and honey together would be even more effective in supporting the role of the digestive system. Honey is particularly beneficial for treating digestive upset, and drinking warm water and honey before meals is said to make it easier to digest foods.
Irregular bowel movement is perhaps the biggest cause of stomach problems. Mix a teaspoon of honey into a glass of warm water, then drink first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. This should reduce bloating and constipation, helping to boost the overall health of your digestive system.
2. Provides Allergy Relief
When most of us suffer a mild allergic reaction, like hayfever, we immediately reach for the medication. But a more delicious alternative is to use honey instead. Thanks to its anti-allergy properties, honey has proven to be just as effective as some over-the-counter medicines in treating allergy symptoms like itchy eyes and a stuffy nose.
The advantage of honey water is that it can help your body to better respond to allergens like pollens - which most allergy medications aren't capable of doing. Consuming honey water regularly can make you less likely to be affected by environmental allergens, which should help you to breathe easier over hayfever season. Of course, don't think that honey will treat severe allergies. You'll need to seek medical help if you experience swelling of the throat or tongue, a rash, or difficulty breathing.
3. Supports Weight Loss
If only losing weight was as simple as adding one particular food to your diet! While honey water isn't a miracle tonic for weight loss, research suggests that a glass of warm water with a bit of honey and lemon juice can be helpful for those trying to lose weight when paired with changes to your diet and lifestyle.
Increasing your water intake can help kickstart your metabolism. It'll also fill up your stomach, making you feel fuller and reducing your cravings for empty calories. The sweetness of honey should also satisfy your sweet tooth. Just don't add too much honey, as it has around 22 calories per teaspoon.
Again, to benefit from water with honey for weight loss, drinking it first thing every morning works best. You could also get into the habit of drinking warm water with a teaspoon of honey throughout the day as a good-for-you alternative to high-calorie fizzy drinks.
4. Boosts Immunity
Honey has a whole host of beneficial properties, including anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiviral and antibacterial properties. Using organic raw honey in your water will have the biggest effect on your immunity, as it tends to be the most nutrient-dense and richest in minerals and vitamins that the immune system thrives off.
One study of manuka honey, one of the most popular kinds of honey amongst health enthusiasts, found that manuka is powerful enough to reverse antibiotic resistance. Because of its vitamin and mineral content, honey is a fantastic antioxidant and can prevent the damaging effects of harmful free radicals in the body. Free radicals can cause everything from skin aging to cancer, so the more foods we can eat to fight these unstable atoms, the better.
5. Effective Cough Treatment
We've all had to deal with an irritating cough from time to time. There's nothing worse than having inflamed airways, and the quicker you can get rid of the issue, the better. Honey water is an age-old remedy for cough and cold, and many people today still rely on warm water with honey instead of shop-bought cough syrups or other common cough medications.
Taking honey water at night is safe for older kids, and studies have shown that adding honey to hot drinks in the evening can even improve sleep quality. We all know that good sleep can accelerate the body's fight against viral infections, which is what you need if you're dealing with a chesty cough.
6. Reduces Gas
Bloating and gassiness are very common nowadays. The modern diet of beige, processed food is mostly to blame - our bodies are much more accustomed to eating raw, natural foods. If you suffer from painful gas in your stomach, try drinking warm water with honey. You should experience relief from bloating almost instantly.
Honey is also a fantastic ingredient for fighting acidity, which is another common issue in the stomach, thanks to its antiseptic properties. It's thought that warm water and honey can promote mucus production in your intestine, which banishes unwanted stomach acids that may contribute to acid reflux and heartburn.
Finally, honey can also keep the colon hydrated by encouraging water to absorb in the stool. if you're struggling to stay regular, hot water and honey first thing in the morning may be the answer.
7. Boosts Energy
In today's busy world, it's rare for any of us to get enough sleep. It can be tempting to fuel your energy with cups of coffee throughout the day, but hot water with honey and lemon is a much healthier alternative. Simply switching to warm water may help you to drink more, as the heat helps the water to go down more easily. Drinking more water throughout the day will keep you hydrated, preventing symptoms like drowsiness and lethargy.
You'll experience even greater energy-boosting benefits if you add honey to your water. Organic, raw honey contains a healthy amount of simple sugars and carbohydrates. Remember, carbs aren't the enemy - our bodies need them to survive. Getting our carbohydrates from the healthiest food sources is more important, and opting for a warm glass of honey water instead of your afternoon coffee or tea is a step in the right direction.
8. Improves Sleep Quality
There are so many distractions to keep us awake at night, from our phone screens to TV shows we want to watch and people we want to talk to. It's hardly surprising that so many of us suffer from sleep deprivation nowadays.
To improve your sleep quality, you may need to look at your current bedtime habits, and how these may impact your ability to rest and recover. Alongside that, try to drink a glass of honey and lemon water before bed. Honey can replenish the liver with glycogen, which helps us to sleep deeply throughout the night.
Honey's natural sugar content also plays a part in sleep quality. By slightly elevating your insulin levels, honey prompts tryptophan to enter the brain. This amino acid is converted into niacin, which is needed to produce serotonin. Serotonin helps produce the body's biggest sleep hormone, melatonin. If you want to avoid the daytime drowsiness of taking medication for sleep, honey lemon water is a fantastic remedy to consider.
9. Soothes Sore Throat
A sore throat is one of the most irritating and painful things to deal with. There are very few medications that can effectively soothe a sore throat, which often means having to simply stick with the pain until it naturally goes away on its own.
Most of us have turned to a hot beverage when we've had throat soreness. When you drink a warm glass of water with honey and lemon juice, honey's healing, antibacterial properties offer immediate pain-relieving benefits. Warm water should also feel soothing to your throat, especially if you drink slowly.
Honey also boosts the immune system, reducing your risk of getting ill again in the future.
10. Flushes Out Toxins
There are many detox foods out there, and honey is considered one of the best. Drinking lukewarm honey and lemon water first thing in the morning should help you to flush out unwanted toxins from your body.
There are a range of detox health benefits to enjoy from drinking warm honey lemon water, including a glowing complexion and improved digestion. Because flushing out toxins can positively affect the whole body, your overall health can be boosted by adding detox foods like honey to your diet. Detoxing is even said to help you lose weight.
Lemon juice is worth adding to this drink because it's a diuretic, which means it can increase urination. Urination is one of the most important detoxing actions in the body, so more frequent urination makes for more effective detoxification. Lemon juice also contains citric acid, which can boost enzyme function, stimulate the liver and support more efficient detoxification.
11. Lowers Cholesterol
Finally, one of the biggest influences on our overall health is our cholesterol. High cholesterol can increase the risk of a heart attack and stroke, amongst other serious conditions. By drinking honey water alongside a healthy daily routine, you should reduce your risk of high cholesterol and the problems that come with it.
One study found that people who drink honey in warm water have reduced LDL cholesterol (known as "bad" cholesterol) by 6 to 11 percent. Not only that, but honey also reduces triglyceride levels by up to 11 percent. Additionally, honey boosts HDL cholesterol, or good cholesterol by around 2 percent - so it's an ideal addition to a heart-healthy diet.
There are so many benefits of drinking honey and warm water, thanks to honey's endless healthy properties that positively interact with almost every part of the human body. Considering just how much of a wonder food honey is, it's unsurprising that this drink is such a popular morning or nighttime beverage amongst health enthusiasts.
One thing to keep in mind is that it's best to drink honey mixed with boiled water that has been allowed to cool beforehand. The high temperature of boiling water may change the composition of honey's enzymes, reducing its health benefits. Additionally, if you have diabetes or a similar health concern, you should make sure to only drink honey water in moderation. Speak to your doctor if you're unsure.