Honey tea is one of the simple ways you can prepare a healthy tea. Honey is delicious, and when used adequately it can have health benefits.
Maybe what you know of It is a great natural sweetener and a healthy replacement for your regular sugar. When compared to sugar, it's sweeter and contains fewer calories. But that's not the only benefit of honey.
Here are 5 more reasons why you should replace sugar with honey.
Science-Backed Benefits of Honey Tea
1. Honey Tea is a Great Source of Antioxidants
Honey is not very rich in other nutrients like vitamins and minerals. They are there, but not significantly.
However, it is rich in antioxidants. There are a variety of phenolic compounds present in honey. These compounds help neutralize the free-radicals that are generated in our body through various bodily chemical reactions. These free-radicals cause inflammation in our system which over time leads to many serious illnesses, including cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, heart diseases, chronic joint issues, and even premature aging.
The antioxidant content of the honey depends on which flower nectar the bee used to produce that honey. Parsley and Rhododendron honey seem to have the highest amount of antioxidant activity, while citrus and acacia honey have the least antioxidant activity.
2. It Lowers Bad Cholesterol From the System
Studies suggest that honey might help those with abnormal lipid profiles as well. In a 22 week study, it was noted that regular consumption of honey led to a decrease in LDL and total cholesterol with an increase in HDL cholesterol.
LDL cholesterol is commonly called the "bad cholesterol" because these are the type of cholesterol that is responsible for the narrowing of the blood vessels, which ultimately leads to various heart diseases, heart attack, and even stroke. HDL, on the other hand, is known as the "good cholesterol", because it's action is exactly the opposite of LDL cholesterol, i.e. it prevents the formation of atherosclerosis.
The antioxidants present in honey also prevent heart diseases by causing dilatation of blood vessels and preventing excess blood clot formation; both of which ensure good blood flow the heart.
Apart from that replacing regular sugar with honey will be beneficial too. The glycemic index of honey is lower than sugar. This means that the blood sugar spike after honey consumption is less than that of sugar. Food with a lower glycemic index is associated with lower rates of heart diseases and diabetes.
Therefore, honey has cardio-protective action as well.
3. It Might Help Lower Blood Pressure
A 2014 study conducted in human subjects proved that honey has short-term anti-hypertensive action.
In this study, the participants were given 20 ml of honey. Their blood pressure was recorded every 15 minutes for 1 hour. It was found that within 15 minutes after the consumption of honey there was a significant reduction in the systolic blood pressure (from 117 to 110), and was at least maintained for an hour.
This suggests that honey is beneficial for those with high blood pressure. A few tablespoons of honey throughout the day will be enough. It will be easier to manage honey intake if you simply replace sugar with honey.
Also, as we have already established, honey has protective action over the blood vessels and heart. So honey might indirectly prevent certain complications of hypertension.
4. Honey Tea is the Perfect Tea For Cough
Who doesn't like to have a warm beverage when they have a throat infection? But what if your simple beverage help treats your cough too?
As it turns out, honey tea does exactly that.
Honey tea is a great source of antioxidants. These antioxidants help in reducing the inflammation in the respiratory tract.
Honey is also proven to reduce cough in the case of respiratory tract infections, and as a result, it also improves sleep disturbances that are associated with cough.
Some studies even say that when it comes to cough honey might be even superior to certain drugs, like diphenhydramine, commonly known as Benadryl.
So, honey tea could be a potent natural treatment for cough.
5. It's Good For Pregnant Women
There are several food items and herbs that may not be suitable for pregnant women. Thankfully, honey is not one of them.
Honey is safe for consumption in pregnancy. In fact, it seems to be protective as well.
One study has shown that honey reduces the oxidative stress that is associated with pregnancy. Honey was found to be effective in naturally reducing the stress-hormone levels, leading to better pregnancy outcomes.
Oxidative stress is quite common in pregnancy, especially during the late trimester, and is associated with spontaneous abortion, low birth weight, and premature labor.
Adding honey to your diet during pregnancy might be a good idea. You should, however, avoid too much caffeine during pregnancy. So far we have conflicting data regarding the safety of caffeine in pregnancy, and some of the claims regarding the harmful effects of caffeine in pregnancy have been proven wrong. But still, to be safe avoid too much consumption of caffeine.
You don't have to say a complete no to caffeinated beverages like tea or coffee during pregnancy, but you should keep it to a minimum. A couple of cups of tea or coffee won't hurt. You can also switch to decaffeinated tea.
Remember, Honey Tea Is Not a Replacement To Any Medications
We've seen some amazing health benefits of honey tea that are backed by science. Honey will help you have good health, protect your heart, and may even help you manage your blood pressure.
But in no way, honey tea is the solution to everything. If you have hypertension and hyperlipidemia, you should continue your prescribed medications. Honey is not a replacement for the medications. It will help you better manage your blood pressure and lipid profile, but you should combine it with a good diet, exercise, and regular follow-ups to the hospital.
It's not a replacement, it's a supplement.
Is Honey Safe For Diabetics?
Sugar is healthier than the refined sugar, but it's still a simple sugar.
Simple sugar is the kind of sugar that is very easily broken down in our system and leads to a sudden rise in blood sugar. Both honey and refined sugars are simple sugars.
Therefore, honey can increase your blood sugar levels (drastically even, when consumed in a very heavy amount). Although the rise in blood sugar levels with honey would be much less than refined sugar.
So, considering the health benefits and the comparative lesser rise in blood sugars associated with it, honey sure is a superior natural sweetener when compared to refined sugar.
For most diabetics who manage their blood sugar levels effectively, a few teaspoons of honey should be safe. High blood pressure and heart diseases are common co-existing conditions with diabetes, and honey might prevent or help manage them to some extent. It might help prevent hypoglycemia as well.
But still, diabetics should use honey with caution. Keeping an eye on your blood sugar levels regularly would help monitor and adjust the total dose of honey safe for your consumption.
How To Prepare Honey Tea
To prepare a healthy cup of honey tea, begin with boiling some water. Once the water comes to a boil, turn the stove off. Then go ahead and put your favorite tea in this boiled water, and let it steep for 10-15 minutes, depending on how strong you want your tea to be.
You can use the regular, old black tea or you can get fancy and prepare a herbal tea of your choice.
Once your tea is ready, add honey instead of sugar to sweeten your tea. There are no standard recommended doses for natural foods from the FDA, therefore trust your taste buds and decide for yourself. A couple of tablespoons of honey should be fine for most.
Make sure that you buy your honey from a trusted company.
Possible Side-Effects of Honey Tea
Honey is very safe to consume. However, you should be cautious in certain conditions.
- If you a diabetic, make sure that you are not consuming a lot of honey. Yes, honey is healthier than sugar, but it still is a simple sugar that will cause sudden spikes of high glucose levels in your system. Persistent high blood sugar levels will eventually lead to long-term complications associated with diabetes, like heart disease, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic nephropathy, etc. It's best to avoid all kinds of simple sugar if you have uncontrolled diabetes mellitus. If your sugar levels are controlled, you should be fine, but regular sugar monitoring is recommended.
- Avoid feeding honey to infants. In kids less than 1 year of age, honey can cause infant botulism. This happens when the honey is contaminated with the toxins of a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. Go for a product produced by a good honey brand.
- Too much tea is not good for your health either. Tea contains caffeine which can agitate your system and lead to restlessness, palpitations, anxiety, and insomnia. To avoid tea-related side-effects, limit your tea intake to 3-4 cups per day. You can also go for decaffeinated tea, as they contain a lesser amount of caffeine than regular tea.
- If you are using any herbal tea, take some time to research their individual side-effects before using them, especially if you are pregnant or if you use any long-term medications. Some herbs at high doses tend to interact with certain drugs, while some herbs may initiate contractions in the pregnant uterus. So, be cautious, and avoid if you have any known allergy to any specific herbs.
Honey tea is the most basic form of tea, that can be prepared at home with minimal efforts. It has some amazing health benefits that you might not want to miss out on.
Honey is quite safe to consume, although be cautious if you are diabetic, and avoid feeding honey to children less than 1 year of age.