7 Unexpected Uses for Honey


Honey is a lot more than just a sweet treat. It has uses ranging from medicinal to athletic, all of which are rather unexpected when you're used to just eating the stuff. Sure, we can keep it in our kitchens (and, seriously, who wouldn't want to do that?), but we can also put it in our medicine cabinets and our gym bags.

Intrigued? Here are some ways you can use honey for health and performance.

1. Boost Athletic Performance

Better performance in endurance athletics — no matter your sport — depends a lot on carbohydrate consumption. You can supplement with expensive glucose formulas, or you can consume honey. Because honey contains a mixture of various natural sugars, it provides your body with the energy it needs to go the distance.

2. Fight Germs

Honey helps sterilize wounds, which seems to indicate that it has bacteria-fighting properties. In non-sterile wounds treated with honey, the area becomes sterile after about a week. Honey is probably as good or better than more common wound treatments, and it is entirely natural. The only time you don't want to use honey is when the wound is deep or serious — in these cases, it can slow down your healing. But for normal, everyday injuries, it might be one of the best treatments available.

3. Heal Burns

Honey seems to help burns heal faster. Superficial burns are less inflamed and less likely to get infected when honey is part of the treatment. While you never want to try to treat a bad burn by yourself, you can use honey on the less serious ones as part of your treatment regimen. A sunburn might be a great place to try this out, if you happen to get one more before summer is over.

4. Soothe a Hangover

When you drink too much, then realize you'd like to avoid a hangover, most people will tell you to consume a lot of water. That's excellent advice, and I'll go a step farther: Add some honey to it. Because honey is high in fructose, it will help you metabolize alcohol faster. Yes, anything high in fructose will help, but honey is easy, sweet, and can mix well in the water you know you need to drink.

5. Ease Seasonal Allergies

Some people find that honey relieves seasonal allergy symptoms. This is somewhat controversial, but many people swear by it, and some studies seem to support its use. If you try this, make sure you are eating raw, local honey. This will still contain the pollen found in your area which, as the theory goes, will desensitize you to it, over time. The pollen is removed from non-raw honey, so it won't have much of an effect.

6. Get Things... Moving

Constipation sucks. Not only is it uncomfortable, but the medications that are supposed to relieve it can cause equal discomfort. Instead, try some honey. Mix two tablespoons with some water (or take it straight, if you prefer). Many folks find that it keeps them regular and/or helps relieve constipation when that strikes.

7. Improve Your Sleep

If you struggle with insomnia — whether you can't get to sleep, wake up for a while in the night, or wake up super early — honey can help you rest. A lot of insomnia is caused by low blood glucose, even if you aren't aware of feeling hungry, and honey can help your body get the glycogen it needs if your own stores get depleted. In addition, honey can help your brain produce tryptophan, which will also help you sleep.

Do you use honey in an unusual way? What's your honey secret?

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