Many traditional food items have been passed on to us as healthy foods for generations, including honey. Is honey good for senior citizens? Let’s find out if its as sweet as it sounds!
Older adults are more vulnerable to illness. So, health care providers suggest seniors to follow a blanched, nutritious diet and use healthy substitutes for regular foods.
For generations, people have been using honey as an ingredient in cooking. Honey is also a good source of some important nutrients that your body needs. People use raw honey as a sweetener to substitute for harmful table sugar and to treat various ailments.
Honey was also used in alternative medicine systems such as Ayurveda due to its medicinal properties. In this article, we will help older adults discover why honey is good for them.
What Is Honey?
Bees make a thick golden liquid with the nectar of flowering plants and store it as food for the winter in their hives. Bee farms extract that viscous liquid, honey, and cook it.
Honey is sweet and has many health benefits. Industries produce three different kinds of honey, including organic honey, raw honey, and regular honey.
What Kind of Honey Is Best for Seniors?
You can find three different kinds of honey at the supermarket.
People often use regular honey as it is the easiest to find. You can buy it at any supermarket or grocery store. Regular honey is not best for seniors as it is filtered many times by honey manufacturers and loses many of its core nutrients.
This comes from bee farms that simply extract honey from beehives. The bee farm doesn’t expose organic honey production to pesticides and other chemicals. Seniors can use organic honey, it is good for them.
Raw honey is the healthiest as it is the purest form of honey typically extracted from the honeycomb by the bee farm. Bee farms only remove necessary impurities like beeswax by filtering it using a thin cloth. You can get raw honey directly from a bee farm near your location.
Nutritional Profile of Honey
Honey is largely made of carbohydrates (sugar, which is why it is so sweet). It gives you about 304 kcal of energy for every 100g. It contains 82% carbohydrates and 17% water. It does not have many fats, proteins, or dietary fibers. However, honey has trace elements of many vitamins and minerals listed below (quantity in 100g of raw honey):
|Riboflavin (B2)||0.038 mg||3%|
|Niacin (B3)||0.121 mg||1%|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||0.068 mg||1%|
|Vitamin B6||0.024 mg||2%|
|Folate (B9)||2 μg||1%|
|Vitamin C||0.5 mg||1%|
What Are the Health Benefits of Honey for Seniors?
Older adults often develop chronic diseases which cause their condition to worsen as they age. Chronic diseases of the lungs can also cause seasonal allergies, which make older adults very uncomfortable. Seniors need to find effective ways to fight back their allergies.
Fortunately, honey helps reduce allergy symptoms. You should use raw honey as the pollen they contain is the prime factor behind lowering allergy symptoms in seniors.
You should start consuming honey daily a few months before the allergy season for the best defense against your allergy.
Contains Antioxidants and Nutraceuticals
Nutritionists recommend that older adults eat more antioxidants because antioxidants help fight free radicals in the body that produce toxins. Honey also contains many antioxidants responsible for a healthy life in seniors.
Honey contains nutraceuticals that keep your body free from harmful free radicals. Unwanted free radicals in your body can increase toxicity and develop severe illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.
Nutraceuticals from honey help protect against the risk of severe medical conditions. You should eat darker honey to get maximum antioxidants. Honey contains other concentrated nutrients, including phenolic acids, flavonoids, glucose oxidase, amino acids, and proteins.
Doctors often prescribe cough syrup containing honey because it is soothing cough medicine. Many people also consume raw honey alone to help with coughs, and you can also use honey or make honey tea to suppress your coughs.
You can dip one or two teaspoons of honey and lemon in warm water and drink it to alleviate coughs. If you have medical conditions like post-nasal drip or COPD, you can consume honey as it is an excellent help in suppressing coughs.
As people age, they lose energy quickly and require more energy to carry out their daily tasks. Seniors can boost their energy by consuming honey because it contains natural sugar. Athletes and sports competitors eat figs with honey to boost their energy.
Honey is less harmful than regular sugar because of the presence of various other nutrients, as well as because its GI is lower than actual sugar (between 35 to 80, depending on the quality of the honey)
Seniors should take a teaspoon of honey to get instant energy before going out for a walk. You can also start your day with honey tea along with a healthy breakfast for seniors.
Soothes Cuts and Burns
Older people have more thin and fragile skin, which increases the risk of getting a cut or burn. Cuts and burns also take more time to heal in seniors, and older adults should treat their cut and burn quickly to avoid serious health issues.
Seniors can consume honey to assuage wounds and accelerate their healing abilities, and honey releases hydrogen peroxide with excellent antiseptic properties. When you start aging, you should consume more honey to maintain your healing ability and soothe cuts or burns.
Many people suffer from anxiety due to various factors. Older people can experience frequent anxiety attacks associated with unhealthy diets.
Stress can also ruin the body and life. Seniors must reduce anxiety to maintain a good quality of life, and honey is one of the options for people to reduce their stress.
Seniors should consume honey as it helps keep anxiety at bay.
Lowers Blood Pressure & Improves Cholesterol
Older people suffer from several heart-related diseases such as low blood pressure. Health care providers advise seniors to follow a healthy diet as possible to avoid high cholesterol. Honey is also great for lowering high cholesterol as it contains antioxidants that reduce a person’s blood pressure. Honey also helps improve the LDL cholesterol level in seniors.
Seniors should intake honey regularly to improve lipid metabolism and reduce blood sugar levels. With regulated sugar levels, seniors can avoid the risk of other severe ailments.
Improves Gastrointestinal Health
Seniors suffer from digestive issues more frequently because the digestive system becomes weak as they age. However, honey is excellent for ensuring the smooth functioning of the digestive system, and it contains some enzymes that help accelerate or decelerate the digestion process.
Seniors with gastrointestinal problems like stomach ulcers should consume honey to help treat their condition. You can consume a tinge of a honey dip in hot water every morning to prevent stomach-related illness.
Boosts Memory & Energy Levels
With age, the brain’s cognitive and memory functions start to decline. Honey is beneficial for the brain and boosts functioning, especially that related to memory in a person. Honey also contains natural sugar that increases energy levels.
Honey helps reduce the oxidative stress of the brain and improve the morphology of memory-related brain areas. Seniors should consume one or two tablespoons of honey to enhance brain functioning.
A Good Substitute for Sugar
Sugar is not healthy for seniors, and it has many health risks as it drastically increases blood sugar levels. Older adults should use a substitute for sugar to make their diet healthy.
You can use honey as a naturally sweet substance to avoid sugar. It doesn’t increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and other heart diseases because it has a lower glycemic index than sugar.
Improve Sleep Quality
Seniors with sleeping problems should eat raw honey as it helps their brain release melatonin, a hormone essential for restoring their body during sleep.
Honey also provides quick fuel to your brain for the whole night. Seniors should intake one or two teaspoons of honey before going to bed to help fast asleep.
Tips To Spot Adulterated Honey or Fake Honey?
It is challenging to identify which honey brand is entirely pure. However, you can use some ways to test the purity of your honey, including:
- The drop of pure honey stays in intake on a surface, but adulterated honey spills or spreads. You can take a drop of honey on the surface like your thumb and determine its purity.
- Pure honey settles down at the bottom of the container filled with water, but adulterated honey dissolves in water. You can add some teaspoon of honey to a glass of water.
- Fake honey doesn’t caramelize when heating, but pure honey caramelizes. You can heat the honey to test its purity.
- Adulterated honey has moisture, and when you dip a matchstick in honey, it absorbs moisture and will not light up by striking it against the matchbox. However, matchstick dip in pure honey will burn. You can check the purity of your honey using this test.
How Can You Buy the Best Quality Honey?
When you are at the supermarket for the best quality honey, you should consider these things before you purchase honey, including:
- You should look at the labels to conclude whether the honey contains added sugar and preservatives.
- You can choose raw honey from the bee farm directly or from some groceries store,
- You should purchase darker-colored honey because it contains a more significant antioxidant number.
Some Drawbacks of Honey
High in Calories
Despite having a lower GI than natural sugar, honey still has a fairly high calorie count. It is important to use honey in moderation otherwise it will end up being no better than eating sugar itself.
Infants below 12 months old should never be given honey since it can cause infant botulism, which is a life-threatening disease.
Spikes Blood Sugar
Even though honey has a lower GI, it still affects your blood sugar to a large extent. People with very high blood sugar and insulin resistance should avoid all forms of sugar, including honey.
The Bottom Line
You should recognize the right honey for your senior life’s health. Seniors should avoid purchasing and using adulterated and processed honey. Unprocessed honey is the best kind of honey that provides many health benefits. Consume more raw honey as you age to enjoy its health benefits.