Can honey be healthy for your children? Yes! While deceptively sweet, this golden nectar is packed full of healthy and helpful properties for growing kids.
Honey is naturally sweet thanks to the hard work of pollinating bees. This sweetener was consumed by ancient civilizations in Egypt, Greece, Rome, India, and more for its healing powers. The ancient secret of honey’s medicinal properties is now well known, and your family can benefit from it, too.
While delicious, honey should never be given to children under 1 and it’s not recommended for children under 2 years old. Honey contains toxic bacteria that may cause infant botulism, a serious form of food poisoning that can end in death. There is also a risk of pollen allergies developed from honey. While this is scary, once your child is at least 2 there are plenty of health benefits that make honey a staple in any kitchen.
Whenever possible, opt for certified organic honey instead of local honey or commercial honey. Local honey comes with a greater risk of pollen allergy. Commercial honey usually contains pesticide and other chemicals. Look at the label to ensure the ingredients in your honey are good for your child.
Once you’ve picked up some organic honey, you can start using it as a sweetener in tea or add it to your favorite recipe for a sweet twist (in moderation, of course!).
So, what are the health benefits of honey for your kids?
1. It gives them long lasting energy
Honey is primarily made of three types of sugar: sucrose, glucose, and fructose. Each of these sugars is used by our bodies differently—sucrose and glucose are digested quickly and cause a spike in blood sugar. Fructose in honey, however, remains in the system longer and gives your kids steady energy. This way, they’re alert but not bouncing off the walls like they are with other sugary snacks.
2. It contains needed vitamins and minerals
There aren’t many ingredients in a bottle of honey, but it's packed full of needed vitamins and minerals that will benefit your growing children. Honey also contains amino acids that help your kids grow and develop.
3. It protects their liver from damage
Honey acts as a shield for the liver against certain diseases and damage. It is proven to decrease the side effects of paracetamol doses, which can induce liver damage. Paracetamol is found in common pain relievers such as Tylenol and Panadol. If your child is sick, a spoonful of honey will help the medicine go down and protect them from harm.
4. It helps wounds heal faster
As unusual as that sounds, applying honey to your kid's scrapes and cuts will help them heal faster. Recent findings have shown notable healing effects of honey in comparison to wounds not treated. Honey speeds up the healing process and can help soothe the irritated skin.
5. It calms down coughs
Did your mom ever add honey and lemon to your tea when you had a cough as a kid? It turns out there is scientific evidence to back up this remedy. Honey acts as a soothing agent on your child’s sore and irritated throat, silencing their cough. A spoonful of honey will also help if your child has difficulty swallowing because of a sore throat.
Despite its sweet nature, honey can really pack a healthy punch! Including a serving of honey into your child’s diet can make them not only healthier, but also feel better. With recipes that include honey, your family will never bee disappointed.