Confection or Powerful Medicine?

        Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS       October 26, 2015
evolution rHoney! It’s sticky, sweet, and yummy. Is it a confection, or is it a powerful medicine? It’s both.
Interestingly, the anecdotal health reports over the centuries are now supported by clinical trials. The peer-reviewed articles I researched were not sensational; they very well may have been understated. Read the facts; then you decide.
It all started a long time ago. Recorded history about honey’s medicinal and antimicrobial properties for wound healing goes back about 5000 years. However, the use of honey as a food and as a medicine probably goes back to the beginning of primal societies who discovered this luscious, nutrient-dense food of the bees.
Honey is a supersaturated nectar collected by honeybees from a wide variety of plants. The actual composition of honey depends on the composition of the nectar collected from specific flowers around the world. The highest percentages of components are fructose (about 38%) and glucose (about 31%).
It is surprising that such a sweet, sugar-laden food could offer so many medicinal properties. While these biological processes are still not well understood, honey’s benefits have been demonstrated in many recently published, peer-reviewed studies.
In addition to fructose and glucose, there are over 180 substances that have been identified in raw honey. No doubt, many have yet to be discovered. Some of the compounds contained in honey include sugars (other than fructose and glucose), phenolic acids, flavonoids, amino acids, proteins, vitamins and enzymes – all of which synergistically account for honey’s biological effects. The benefits include antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, antithrombotic, and vasodilatory actions.
Honey also stimulates wound healing even in wounds that have not responded to other treatments. Some of the unique qualities of honey that may be at work here are its acidic level (pH of 3.2 to 4.5), its activation of the immune system, and its promotion of cell growth.
Eating honey can improve cardiovascular risk. Consuming honey has been shown to increase HDL-cholesterol, reduce LDL-cholesterol, and reduce triglycerides. (Here, Here)
Even type 1 and type 2 diabetics have benefited from the inclusion of honey in their diets. (Here, Here)
With all the sugar, one would think that honey would cause gum disease and dental decay. But, the facts are just the opposite.
In this randomized, controlled study, patients were given three different sweeteners to eat – honey or sorbitol or sucrose. The results were surprising. Eating honey actually decreased the bacteria that caused gum disease and tooth decay, while consuming sorbitol or sucrose did not.
In this intervention, patients were studied who had their normal saliva flow compromised because of radiation treatment for head and neck cancers. Individuals with no or little natural saliva are at greater risk of tooth decay. The results of this clinical trial clearly demonstrated that participants who had compromised salivary function and who ate natural honey had a significantly lower amount of Strep Mutans (a bacterium that causes tooth decay) than the control group.
There is good honey and bad honey. Processed or heated honey has lost most of its medicinal benefits. Honey that had anything added to it would not be my choice. The best honey to consume is locally collected, unfiltered, raw honey.
So, how much honey should you consume?
Many studies on humans suggest that the ideal amount of honey to consume per day for a 150-pound person is approximately 3-4 tablespoons. (Here, Here) Some beneficial results have been recorded within an hour or two of ingestion.


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Healthier Mouth … Healthier Lifestyle … Healthier You
Part 2 of 5

evolution rMy eating style is based on human evolution – sometimes known as Paleo Lifestyle, or Ancestral Lifestyle, or Primal Lifestyle. They are all the same. Below are the foods that our ancestors never ate because these foods did not exist over the 2.5 million years of human evolution. Our bodies were never designed to ingest and digest these foods.
Foods to Avoid:
• Modern grains can initiate inflammation and a leaky gut, through which undigested foods and bad bacteria can leak into the bloodstream. Not good! This creates a cascade of events that can cause various chronic diseases and obesity. Grains also encourage the development of unhealthy bacteria in the gut, which never evolved to digest grains completely. Unhealthy bacteria in the gut mean unhealthy bacteria in the mouth. Grains need to be eliminated from our diets.
• Unnatural sugars contribute to unhealthy bacteria and chronic diseases as grains do. From a dental standpoint, sugars are fermentable carbohydrates that feed oral bacteria, which cause dental decay and gum disease. All added sugars like fructose, agave, and high fructose corn syrup should be avoided.
• Polyunsaturated vegetable oils (like canola oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil, and safflower oil) are unstable and break down easily as a result of commercial processing and normal cooking. Ingestion of these fats damages metabolic processes causing harm to individual cells. Also, chemically altered trans fats and partially hydrogenated fats are toxic to the body. All of these need to be avoided.
• Processed foods contain too many carbohydrates, unhealthy fats, and an excess of unhealthy salt. They also contain various chemicals, which attempt to add back nutrients and to help food maintain a longer shelf life. Many of these additives are toxic. Processed foods should be avoided.
• Legumes have anti-nutrients that irritate the intestinal lining and prevent proper absorption of many minerals. Legumes are not essential for health and only offer a low level of nutrients per gram. Legumes include most beans, peas, lentils, soy, and peanuts. Commercially available soy and peanuts should always be avoided because cooking cannot destroy peanuts’ anti-nutrients, and soy contains phytoestrogens and trypsin inhibitors. The phytoestrogens confuse the body into thinking it is real estrogen, and the trypsin inhibitors interfere with normal protein digestion. However, soaking other beans, peas, and lentils for 8-12 hours and cooking them long enough to reduce the harmful level of anti-nutrients are methods that may make these legumes less harmful.
Tomorrow I will suggest those foods that are critical for health.