Ditch the Agave Nectar, Use Raw Honey
Agave nectar, or agave syrup, is an artificial sweetener made from several species of agave. The leaves are cut off of an aged A.tequilana plant and then the juice is extracted from the core of the agave. The juice is then filtered and heated to break it down into simple sugars, mainly fructose. It's a lot sweeter than honey and not as viscous. It has been marketed as a health food but has come under scrunity lately due to its high fructose content, its potential to lead to insulin resistance, and increased triglyceride levels.
While it doesn't contain a lot of glucose, and at one time thought it was safe for diabetics, it still has a lot of fructose. It actually has more fructose than common sweeteners, including high fructose corn syrup. When you eat agave your body will not release as much insulin as it would with regular sugar. All of that affects how your body releases leptin, which helps to control your appetite. Fructose is also thought to be turned into fat more quickly than glucose. That can put you at risk for weight gain, especially abdominal fat.
Agave can also negatively affect your cardiovascular system and increase your risk of heart disease and metabolic syndrome. Fructose can only be broken down by the liver and as it gets metabolized, uric acid and free radicals form, which then trigger inflammation and will damage cells. The most damaging effects of fructose metabolism is triglycerides. Triglyceries contribute to the fatty arterial plaques that cause cardiovascular disease.
Raw honey comes from the nectar of flowers that hasn't been heated, pasteurized, or processed. This is important as it keeps all of the health benefits and preserves all the good that comes with it. It's anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and much better for your heart. It also comes with other health benefits in the form of minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. It also contains an array of vitamins like niacin, riboflavin, pantotheinic acid, folic acid, vitamin C, calcium, zinc, iron, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, chromium, selenium, and manganese.
Raw honey also contains traces of bee pollen and propolis. Bee pollen is a nutritious compound that contains all nutrients required by your body. It contains proteins, vitamins, minerals, good fatty acids, carotenoids, bioflavonoids. Carotenoids and bioflavonoids are antiviral, antibacterial, and good for cardiovascular health. It is believed that it's best to consume honey from your local area. You can consume any kind of raw honey you would like but eating locally sourced honey will help to combat any allergens in your area.
Propolis also contains antibacterial and antiviral qualities. It has antioxidants, is antifungal, and anti-inflammatory. It's widely used for its medicinal qualities such as fighting infections, boosting the immune system, and treating skin injuries. Propolis can also be used internally and externally to help with acne and improve your skin.
Medicinal Uses for Honey
Since honey has high antioxidant and antibacterial qualities it makes it a good solution for treating a variety of issues.
Burns, Sunburns- It keeps the wound moist and allows for quicker healing. Measure the area and spread the honey evenly over the wound or you can rub honey on your wound dressing. Typically honey works better for first degree burns.
Cough, Asthma- Honey is already added to many cold and cough remedies, it's been shown to soothe your throat and calm your cough that may be apart of allergies or asthma. Just add a tablespoon of honey into a cup of warm tea.
Diarrhea- It will rehydrate you and help to clear up diarrhea and even vomiting. Take one teaspoon of honey, with a pinch of pepper, by mouth and do not drink any water for at least 30 minutes.
Hay Fever- It helps to cure hay fever through desensitization. The pollen in honey is a heavy-grained type of pollen that does not trigger allergies which will desensitize the body to local pollen. Take 2 tablespoons of honey a day.
Stomach Ulcers- Glucose oxidase, an enzyme in honey, makes hydrogen peroxide which then kills the bacteria that contributes to stomach ulcers. Take 2 tablespoons a day and once symptoms have calmed down then take 1 tablespoon a day.
H. pylori- The high acidity, high osmotic effect, and hydrogen peroxide help kill the different bad bacteria in your gut. Use Manuka Honey for h.pylori and look for one with a UMF of at least 10. The UMF rating means that the honey contains the non-peroxide antibacterial activity from methylglyoxal needed to kill H. pylori.
Beauty Treatments Using Honey
Moisturize Face and Hair- Honey is a natural humectant, it draws in moisture from the air, which makes it a great treatment for dry skin and hair. For your face spread 1 teaspoon over a clean, dry face. Leave on for 15-20 minutes and then rinse with warm water. For your hair mix 1 tablespoon of honey with 2 tablespoons of an oil of your choice (jojoba, coconut, or olive). Apply to damp hair to the lower length of your hair and let it set for 20 minutes.
Acne- The anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties will calm acne. Apply honey to your acne and let it set for 5-10 minutes and then rinse with warm water.
Scar Fader- Just like with the acne, the honey will calm the redness and gradually lighten the scar. Mix 1 teaspoon of honey with 1 teaspoon of an oil of your choice and then massage for 2 minutes in a circular motion. Rinse with warm water and repeat everyday until your scar has faded to your liking.