Fitness & Health

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She’s got the honey

Britta Schiemann | Fulcrum Contributor

HONEY, HONEY? YES, please, darling. Honey typically does not make it past our perfectly steeped tea or peanut butter sandwich, but this smooth sugar-substitute is worthy of a little more attention. Not only can it add extra flavour to baked goods, sweet treats, and our morning oatmeal, but it is also very beneficial to our body, especially during fall.

Cold and flu season is generally in full swing as soon as the leaves change colour, which means sore throats are just around the corner. Instead of running to the grocery store pharmacy for some cough syrup, head down the breakfast aisle. Honey is natural and tastes way better than Buckley’s. Not to mention you can get more for your money—an added bonus for university students.

Because honey is loaded with antifungal and antibacterial properties as well as antioxidants, it does an awesome job at soothing the symptoms of a nighttime coughs or even upper respiratory infections. Look at the label carefully, though—a common mistake people make is not choosing raw, unprocessed honey. Once the honey is pasteurized, which simply means being heated to get rid of any bacteria, all the enzymes and antioxidants within it are removed—and along with them, the health benefits. Another thing: Always take the clouded-looking honey over the clear—this is a good sign that all the enzymes, minerals, and vitamins are still inside.

In addition to working on your common cough, the healing agents in honey work hard to aid your digestive tract and many other parts of your body. Honey, surprisingly, has been known to treat ulcers, burns, and minor wounds.

“Honey contains an enzyme that produces small amounts of hydrogen peroxide for further antimicrobial properties,” explains naturopathic doctor Deah Baird, writing in Alive magazine.

The enzymes and antioxidants found in raw honey have antibacterial and antifungal properties that aid in the healing process by drawing out water in the wound, thereby drying it out and preventing bacteria from multiplying. In some cases, it has even been applied topically after surgeries. Now this might sound a little far-fetched, and of course honey is not a substitute for proper medical attention, but if you only have a sore throat to worry about, a spoonful of raw honey will do you good.

So if you start to feel a cold coming on, take a cue from Winnie the Pooh and reach for a jar of honey; both your sniffles and your sweet tooth will be pleasantly surprised.