Is Honey a Health Food?
You might expect this blog to boil down to just a big “yes”, because honey is a nutrient-dense food that people have been eating – and treating maladies with – for millennia. But we’re not ones to settle for a “good enough” explanation. Because raw & unfiltered honey can be a healthy part of any diet – for adults and children older than 1 – but the way it benefits your body is too interesting just to leave at “Honey is good for you. End of story.”
It all starts with your brain.
Dr. Ron Fessenden’s book Feed Your Brain First makes the case that the way most people think about food is all wrong. While, yes, many of us have some vague goal to eat healthy, cut carbs, or count calories, we rarely think of the effect food has on our body – except possibly our weight, if even that.
But our food affects us in countless ways. Probably the most underappreciated is how it fuels our brain.
In Dr. Fessenden’ view, the foods we eat and when we eat them directly affect our brain through liver glycogen, the brain’s primary energy source. When we eat, our bodies create glycogen. When we skip meals, fast or eat foods with no nutritional value, our bodies run out of it. And if it’s ever starved for fuel, the brain will take action to ensure survival, triggering any number of hormones and signals which can cause metabolic stress on the body.
So, where does honey come in?
Raw & unfiltered honey is one of the best possible sources of energy for your brain. With its mixture of fructose and glucose, your body is able to quickly and easily process it into liver glycogen, getting your brain back into its normal, non-starved state ASAP. Taken a bit at a time, honey is perfect to add to recipes, drinks and snacks to keep you in good metabolic shape throughout the day.
As you probably (hopefully) know, you can’t just eat a salad and drop ten pounds the next day. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, after all. You only see the benefit you ultimately want from health foods – whether that’s weight loss, reducing inflammation, stabilizing blood sugar, etc. – after making sure your brain is fed, day after day, and preventing metabolic stress.
Think of “metabolic stress” as a catch-all term for a number of different body processes, not as a medical diagnosis. It contributes to all kinds of conditions, including many of the same ones that healthy eaters are trying to avoid:
– Weight gain
– Insulin resistance
– High blood pressure
– Chronic inflammatory diseases
All these chronic problems can be slow to develop and often strike after prevention is out of the question. This is exactly why raw honey is great for wellness: not because it’s a cure-all, but because it’s convenient, never spoils and great tasting – that sure doesn’t hurt.