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Can Raw Honey Help Cholesterol and Blood Pressure?

Before changing any medication or health routine, please consult your physician.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in the blood. If too much cholesterol builds up in the blood, it can clog up the arteries and potentially lead to heart attacks and strokes.

High cholesterol is caused by eating a diet high in fatty foods, being overweight or obese, smoking, and not exercising enough. It can also be caused by having a genetic predisposition, or a family history, of high cholesterol. So it isn't always a consequence of unhealthy living – active people of a healthy weight can still have high cholesterol, and we all must know how to keep our cholesterol levels healthy.

But not all cholesterol is bad. When doctors talk of "high cholesterol," they're talking about a form of cholesterol called LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, often also referred to as bad cholesterol.

Good cholesterol, on the other hand (known as HDL, or high-density lipoprotein), helps the body manage cholesterol levels by encouraging the liver to break down cholesterol and therefore reduce its overall level in the blood.

The aim for anyone is to have as low a total cholesterol level as possible and, within that, to have more HDL and less LDL.

How Can Honey Help?

Science is emerging that suggests that eating high quality, active healing honey helps to lower bad LDL cholesterol and therefore also lowers total cholesterol, but can also increase levels of good HDL cholesterol.

It's thought that the powerful antioxidants called flavonoids naturally present in active healing honey are responsible for these heart health benefits. Chemical processes are happening in the body all the time. One of these processes is the oxidation of LDL, meaning that chemical reactions cause LDL molecules to lose electrons and become unstable.

Oxidized LDL forms the plaques that clog the arteries more readily. Studies have shown that the flavonoids in honey act to prevent LDL oxidation. Therefore, eating honey may reduce the damaging effects of high LDL levels, leading you to live a healthier life.

The Natural, Alternative Sweetener Effect

It might seem obvious that making healthier diet and lifestyle choices helps lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Choosing a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, avoiding too much salt and saturated fat, and being regularly active are all steps recommended by doctors and healthcare professionals.

But some studies show that opting for honey over regular, refined sugar can help reduce LDL levels, particularly in women, with no adverse effect on weight gain.

Using honey in place of sugar in hot drinks is an excellent place to start if you usually have sugar in your tea. Switching to herbal teas is ideal – make your tea as usual and leave it to cool to drinking temperature before adding a teaspoon of our honey. (Adding honey to boiling water will destroy the naturally occurring enzymes and healing properties.)

Why not try adding active honey to your diet to enjoy the potential benefits to your heart health? (Never stop taking any medications, including high cholesterol medications, without talking to your doctor first.)

About 75 million American adults (29%) have high blood pressure—that's a staggering 1 of every 3 adults. Only about half (54%) of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control and nearly 1 of 3 American adults has prehypertension - blood pressure numbers that are higher than normal, but not yet in the high blood pressure range. High blood pressure costs the nation $46 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications to treat high blood pressure, and missed days of work.

Helping Maintain Blood Pressure

Clearly, high blood pressure is a massive burden on society. If you have high blood pressure, you have a higher risk of having a heart attack, a stroke, and developing kidney disease.

Natural, effective, affordable solutions are badly needed. Let's see what our friends from the hive might be able to do for us.

The Study

This study investigated the effect of honey on elevated blood pressure (systolic) in rats with high blood pressure. Interestingly, it also evaluated the effect of honey on the reduction of kidney stress as a possible mechanism of its antihypertensive effect.

The animals were randomly divided into two groups and administered distilled water or honey daily for 12 weeks.

What the researchers found was that honey supplementation significantly reduced blood pressure and kidney stress levels. They found an important antioxidant called glutathione S-transferase was down-regulated or 'inactivated' in the honey fed rats.

So it appears that one of the causes of kidney stress is high blood pressure and that honey supplementation just may help reduce this. Could it be that the natural antioxidants in raw honey are responsible for this health benefit? I suspect so, but only further research on raw honey will tell us definitively.

How to Use Raw Honey

If you consider using raw honey to help reduce your blood pressure, note that this study was done over 12 weeks. Commit to three full months of honey supplementation for best results.

Missing from the study was how much raw honey was administered to the rats, so it is difficult to say how much honey is needed for optimal results. Other studies on honey are finding that 0.5 ml of honey per kilogram of body weight is sufficient. It makes sense that this is a good starting point, as it indicates that honey is biologically active at this intake level.

Using this as a basic starting point, a 150 lb human (68 kgs) would ingest 34 ml per day. There are 29.57 MLS in an ounce, so one would need to consume just over one ounce daily. This is roughly two tablespoons of honey.

Blood pressure testing is very cheap and easy, with free monitors at almost all pharmacies. Consume your raw honey daily for three months and have your blood pressure checked. You might be in for a sweet surprise.

World Honey Market is one of the largest commercial beekeeping operations in Northeast Florida, offering the best honey-infused products.

With more than 4,000 hives, World Honey Market provides pollination services to agricultural giants like Blue Diamond almonds in California each spring, Ocean Spray Cranberries in the summer in Wisconsin, and locally to their neighboring farms like Trader Hill Farms.

World Honey Market produces not only raw, unfiltered local honey but also all-natural bee-related products such as lipstick, body butter, lotions, soaps, beeswax candles, and more.

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