Raw and unfiltered honey is a wonderful and delicious gift from nature. But honey is much more than just a sweet treat. David Wolfe, the author of “Superfoods” explains that “Bee products are considered to be one of the most spiritual and magical foods on the planet, as well as one of the top superfoods and sources of concentrated nutrition.” Here are 8 reasons why raw honey is good for kids.
Note: Raw honey may contain botulism spores and should NEVER be fed to children under 12 months of age as they have not yet developed immune system defenses against infant botulism, which is a very serious illness.
1. Honey is a Healthy and Natural Sweetener.
Have you ever heard the phrase: “White sugar is empty calories”? That’s because white sugar contains sucrose and nothing else. But raw honey contains natural sugars (glucose and fructose) plus additional nutrients, such as amino acids, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. These vitamins and minerals include niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, and zinc. In addition, honey tastes sweeter than sugar and you can therefore use less of it to sweeten kids’ favorites like oatmeal, cream of wheat, or pancakes.
2. Gives a Steady Energy Boost.
An important health benefit of raw honey is that it provides a steady boost of energy. Honey provides 17 grams of carbs per tablespoon. Since carbohydrates are the primary fuel that the body uses for energy, honey provides an all-natural energy boost. An added benefit of honey is that it promotes steady blood sugar levels and does not lead to unhealthy spikes in blood sugar, which you can get from processed sugar and other sweeteners.
3. Helps to Calm Coughs.
Clinical studies support the use of honey for treating coughs. In one study, 105 children were given honey, cough syrup, or nothing before bedtime. Using honey for cough helps in reducing cough frequency and severity.
Based on such studies, two pediatricians have recommended honey as the best treatment for young children (ages 1 to 5) with upper respiratory infections. According to these doctors, honey produces superior results as compared to over-the-counter cough syrups. (“A Spoonful of Honey Helps a Coughing Child Sleep,” by Dr. Ashkin and Dr. Mounsey)
4. Wound Care.
Another medicinal use of raw honey is wound care. Before the advent of modern medicine, raw honey was often used for treating cuts and wounds. Raw honey contains small amounts of the enzyme glucose oxidase which, under the right conditions, can convert into hydrogen peroxide (a common disinfectant).
The two elements needed to complete this conversion are water and sodium, which are present in body fluids. So inside of a wound, raw honey continually converts into minute doses of hydrogen peroxide, which wards off infection as the wound heals.
5. Helps to Strengthen the Immune System.
According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, the nutrients in raw honey have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties that can help to boost your immune system and fight sickness. In addition, honey nutrients act as antioxidants, which promote stronger immune cells. With stronger immune cells, the body is better equipped to fight off pathogens such as bacteria and viruses.
6. Improve Digestion and Gut Health.
Probiotics are a class of beneficial bacteria and yeasts that help keep your stomach and gut healthy. In 1995, a French scientist identified a type of fiber compound that he named a prebiotic. Prebiotics feed and nourish the beneficial probiotics, and also help to inhibit the growth of bad bacteria that may be present in the digestive system. Raw honey is a good source of prebiotics and can therefore help with digestive health.
7. Raw Honey May Help with Seasonal Allergies.
Seasonal allergies are caused when your body reacts negatively to plant pollen. Unfiltered honey contains some of the same pollens that cause these allergic reactions. But the pollen found in raw honey is at relatively low levels. In addition, raw honey contains various beneficial enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. In this harmonious combination, over time and with repeated exposure, some children become less sensitive to the pollen and therefore experience less severe seasonal allergies.
8. Honey Promotes Better Sleep.
It may sound strange, but the brain needs a steady supply of fuel to sleep through the night. The primary brain fuel that is needed is glycogen — a compound of sugars. If the liver stops releasing a sufficient supply of glycogen during the night, then the brain becomes agitated and this can interrupt restorative sleep. By taking a spoonful of honey before bedtime, the liver is restocked with sufficient glycogen to ensure a full night’s sleep. Or better yet, try your grandma’s recommendation of a glass of warm milk and honey for your child.
Raw honey is indeed a delicious and nutritious food for children, with a number of health benefits. Always remember to use honey in moderation, and to buy your raw honey from a trusted source. By adding good quality, raw honey to your child’s diet, you will be following the advice of the Greek physician Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine.”
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