Honey as we know it today has been passed down to us for many generations. That includes its source, curative properties, and its use in cooking. It is one of the most astonishing natural products introduced to humankind. Raw honey is not only used as a sweetener but used in treating a variety of ailments. Humans have been using honey in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, where it was thought to be effective in treating imbalances in the body which is the root cause of all the diseases.
Even in modern medicine raw honey has a potential therapeutic role in the treatment of many health disorders and considered as a natural agent for curing and healing purposes. The role of honey has been acknowledged in medical science and there is convincing evidence in support of it being a protective barrier to prevent. For this same reason, honey is helpful to seniors with many commonplace health issues.
Common health problems in the elderly
Older people are often quite frail and more susceptible to illnesses, which can lead to health-related complications. As we age, we start becoming more susceptible to chronic health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and osteoporosis. Aging is associated with a slow deterioration of cognitive functions especially memory and weakening the immune system.
Another challenge of aging is unnecessary calories which creates a nutritional dilemma. An aging body needs to get just as much, if not more, of some nutrients, all while eating fewer calories.
Furthermore, issues like indigestion, dehydration, ulcer, and constipation are a common health problem among the elderly. Aging is linked to changes that can make you prone to deficiencies, therefore, making a conscious effort to stay on top of your water and food intake, eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods is important.
Curative Properties of Honey
Eating healthy food with more nutrients becomes especially important as you age. That’s because aging is linked to a variety of changes, some of these changes can make you prone to nutrient deficiencies, while others can affect your senses and quality of life.
Honey in its raw form contains about 200 substances, including amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. The amino acid composition of honey is an indicator of the toxic radical discarding capacity. Moreover, honey has proven to be an effective antimicrobial activity against both pathogenic and nonpathogenic microorganisms such as bacteria, yeasts, and fungi.
The major biological properties that make it perfect as a therapeutic agent are anti-inflammatory potential, wound (sunburn healing) potential, antioxidant potential, radical scavenging activity, and antiviral activity. Thus infusing raw honey with various herbs makes it more potent and boosts its body healing properties.
Benefits of Honey
Honey has been recognized as one of the most nutritious foods in the market for centuries and claimed to have a lot of benefits for people aged 65 and above. Here are several reasons why seniors must include honey in their diet regularly:
- A good source of antioxidants
Honey is a therapeutic antioxidant that contains varying concentrations of flavonoids, phenolic acids, glucose oxidase, amino acids, and proteins. The antioxidants in honey help fight several chronic conditions and infections the seniors face as they age. These compounds known as polyphenols play a role in preventing heart disease.
The levels of enzymatic antioxidants tend to decrease with age, leaving the biological system vulnerable. Antioxidants have been linked to a reduced risk of heart attacks, strokes. Eating darker honey for maximum antioxidants can help remove free radicals from the body and protect against heart disease and even cancer.
- A good substitute for sugar
Sugar is a common ingredient in our daily foods. However, eating too much sugar can increase your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Whereas honey has a lower glycemic index than sugar, which means it won’t spike your blood sugar levels the way sugar will.
Honey is a naturally sweet substance. Its high levels of monosaccharides, fructose, and glucose contain about 70 to 80 percent sugar, which provides its sweetness. Fructose in honey is a good replacement to sugar, so you may use a smaller amount of honey in your food or drink without sacrificing sweetness. Rather than eliminating the sugar consumption completely, it will be helpful to replace it with honey.
It’s only natural to get used to the taste in our beverages and food and miss that jolt of sweet when we forgo them. Try using half a teaspoon of honey in tea and try the same trick with breakfast cereal and yogurt.
- Lowers Blood Pressure and Improves Cholesterol
With elderly people, blood pressure is an important risk factor for heart disease. The best way to lower or avoid high cholesterol in the first place is by eating as healthily as possible.
The antioxidant compounds found in honey had been linked to reducing a person’s blood pressure. Honey consumption is also mentioned to be the cause of significant improvements to a person’s high LDL cholesterol levels. Since most seniors are affected by blood pressure and cholesterol problems, eating honey on a daily basis will reduce their risks of acquiring more serious ailments in the long run.
Regular honey intake reduces blood sugar levels and also improves lipid metabolism by reducing total cholesterol which in the long run has the capacity to clear cardiovascular risk factors.
- Boosts Gastrointestinal Health & Aids in Digestion
Let’s just agree that the digestive system is a complex biological structure and it doesn’t get any better with the age. Raw honey is very good at ensuring the smooth functioning of the digestive system. Honey contains certain enzymes that act as a catalyst in the digestion process, especially, to disintegrate the carbohydrates and sugars.
The use of honey as a treatment regimen for peptic ulcers and gastritis comes from traditional folklore as well as from reports in modern times. It has proved beneficial to all seniors who are diagnosed with stomach ulcers or other gastrointestinal problems.
To help in preventing any stomach related diseases in the future consume hot water by adding a tinge of honey (one tablespoon) every morning.
- Immunity Booster
Aging is associated with the weakening of the immune system. Older people who have a low immune system are at risk of developing a number of health disorders. This explains why such individuals are at risk to develop multiple chronic infections implying the multiplicity in cancer genesis. Improvement in immune is the key to the prevention of infection formation and honey has such potential. Honey, apart from having a direct antibacterial action, gets rid of the infection by immune system stimulation.
A study revealed that intake of 80 g daily of raw honey for 21 days showed that in older patients, that consumption of honey daily really improves one’s immune system.
- Stimulates Memory
Aging is associated with memory impairment for a great number of people. Honey has a beneficial effect on the health of our brains as we age. The improvement in learning and memory following honey consumption is due to the significant progress in brain activity.
It improves the morphology of memory-related brain areas, reduces brain oxidative stress, and increases brain-derived neurotrophic factors. For effective memory have one or two tablespoons of honey every day.
Recognizing the right honey is an essential impacting factor. The more unadulterated and unprocessed the honey is the better results you get. Raw honey comes directly from the hive while regular honey undergoes processing and pasteurization before being bottled. Studies suggest that raw honey may offer more powerful and long-term health benefits, in terms of healing wounds and fighting infections, then regular honey.
Therefore, honey in its raw state has a strong potential to be utilized in the health management of the elderly as a preventive and adjunct therapeutic agent.