We all have a sweet tooth, and it always seems to strike hardest about the time we are trying to be on a healthier eating path. So, let’s talk about a way to solve the sweet tooth without destroying your hard work. Honey is a fantastic natural sweetener and actually has some great health benefits as well.
Honey is a wonderful source of simple carbohydrates. Bees add enzymes to the nectar itself which is made up mainly of sucrose and water. When the enzymes are added, chemical compounds convert the sucrose into fructose and glucose, which ultimately evaporates the majority of the water. This is actually what helps prevent from honey spoiling. The high level of fructose also makes honey sweeter than table sugar.
Many minerals and vitamins can be found in honey as well. They work together helping metabolize the undesirable cholesterol and fatty acid in the organs and tissues into the system, which helps prevent obesity and promote better overall health. A great way to gain the full benefit of this property found in honey is to have a cup of lukewarm water with honey and lemon juice each morning when you wake up. This will promote weight loss and help flush the toxins and waste from your body.
Honey has a great glycemic index which means the sugars it contains can be gradually absorbed into the bloodstream, so better digestion is achieved. This is much better than choosing foods with an excessively high glycemic index which prompt an elevated insulin release in your body due to the pancreas being stimulated to metabolize the sudden surge of glucose in the blood. For this reason, honey can be an excellent option for diabetics who struggle with keeping their blood sugar regulated. You can use honey as a food sweetener without the danger of an intense sugar spike.
The benefits of honey go far beyond what you might think. For athletes who struggle with muscle fatigue slowing them down, honey is a simple solution to help endurance levels. This results from the combination of glucose and fructose being absorbed slowly, which helps sustain energy throughout performance time. For those of you who want to increase your energy levels, honey can assist you as well. Honey contains the natural sugars which help boost energy and give you a surge through calories. When you are feeling that midafternoon drag and sweet tooth, grab a cup of hot tea and add some honey. This will solve both issues. This same cup of tea will also act a natural cough suppressant. Honey not only will sooth your throat, it has potent antibacterial properties which help kill bacteria that can lead to infection, such as strep throat.
Finally, honey can even prove to be an effective sleep aid. If you are struggling to fall asleep, it could be due to your body being a bit chemically unbalanced. Honey is a type of carbohydrate that is fat digestible, which allows tryptophan to enter your brain causing the stimulation of insulin release. The tryptophan makes you feel tired, helping you fall asleep.
As you can see, honey adds much more than sweetness to your life. You can pick up pure honey at most any local grocery store and start incorporating it into your daily routine.
For more information regarding a personalized general or sports nutrition plan, contact me at Prime Performance 423-805-0870.
By: Nick Thomas
Owner of Prime Performance Training, and Certified Sports Nutritionist