Honey is a sweet, viscous substance which is made by the honey bees and other related insects. It is one of the nature’s gifts. Many parents have doubts on when and how to offer honey for their children? This article will help you to find out more about honey.
Honey has a wide range of benefits including both health and beauty. Studies suggest that honey is effective medicine in the treatment of cancer. Offering honey for the kids right from the childhood will make them grow healthier.
Scroll down to know more about the health benefits, and the ways that honey can be offered to the kids.
When Can You Give Honey To Children?
Though honey is nutritious, it should be offered to the children only after the 1 year of age in order to avoid infant botulism. This is an illness when the baby takes in the toxins that form a type of bacteria.
Honey contains the spore forming bacteria called Clostridium Botulinum which has the ability to multiply in the intestine. Little one’s gut is at the risk of being affected by these toxins as they have the underdeveloped digestive system that cannot fight off.
Here are a few common symptoms of botulism:
• Poor feeding
• Weak cry
• Trouble breathing
Honey is safe for the children above one year of age as they have the matured digestive system that is strong enough to expel the bacteria through the body. It is recommended to use honey as a replacement to the refined sugar, not in addition to it.
Variations in Local Honey:
There are about 320 different varieties of honey that vary in color, odor, and flavor. Bees can travel till the range of 4 miles and the honey produced by them is impacted by the nectar that they collect in that region. Nectar also influences the pollen particles in honey, its color flavor and the nutrients.
Here are some variations of the local honey:
• Orange Blossom- more floral, and rich in vitamin C. It is common in Florida
• Blueberry- more musky, darker in color, less sweet, and antioxidant benefits
• Buckwheat- dark like molasses, iron-rich, it is common in Newyork and Michigan.
• Clover-it may vary in color ranging from very light to extra light amber with a mild and delicate flavor.
Honey Benefits For Children:
here are a few health benefits of honey for babies over 12 months.
1) Give relief from cold and cough:
Children are very vulnerable to the illness that usually come with the seasonal change. Cough and cold are the most common seasonal infections in kids. Honey will help kids to get relief from the cough, and the other symptoms of cold including runny nose, mild fever, irritated or sore throat, sneezing etc. antiviral, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant properties of the honey help to combat the viral, bacterial, and fungal infections.
2) Keeps the digestive system healthy:
Using the honey for the digestion is the most commonly practiced one. Consumption of the honey prevents any blockages in the digestive tract thereby regularizes the bowel movements. It protects your child from the stomach infections including indigestion, constipation, bloating, and flatulence etc.
3) Helps to manage weight:
Studies suggest that honey based diet promotes lower weight gain. Consuming little amount of honey with the warm water early in the morning will benefit the health. Starting the day with honey increases the metabolism and helps in reducing the weight faster. It is also helpful in promoting the overall health of the body.
4) Strengthens the immune system:
Its countless medicinal properties help to naturally cure the sore throat. Being rich in antioxidants and bacterial fighting assets, it will help to fight the infections that are caused by the viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Buckwheat honey plays a prominent role in boosting the immunity system in the long run. It works as a cleansing toner thereby improving the immunity in children.
5) Anti- inflammatory properties:
It is well known for its antioxidant properties. It is the best natural medicine to treat the inflammatory conditions like sore throat, asthma, mucositis, gastroenteritis etc.
6) Helps to ease the symptoms gastric reflux:
Reflex may be caused when the free radicals damage the cells lining the digestive tract. Honey rectifies this condition by coating the esophagus and the stomach lining which further help in prevents the food and gastric juice to flow upwards. It stimulates the tissue growth on the sphincter and assists the further growth to prevent the scope of the acid reflex.
7) It protects the liver:
Even a tablespoon of honey each day keeps the liver of your kid protected. Its antioxidant properties limit the production of toxins, starting from the liver.
8) Honey is a healthy sweetener:
Overprocessed white sugar has very little nutritional values, it can also promote the growth of bacteria causing diseases. It also has the ability to trigger the swings in the mood and the energy levels. Honey on the other hand, is a natural product which is not refined. It is sweet by nature and contains carbohydrates, water, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. It will not make the sugar levels of the body to spike like the processed sugar.
9) Natural remedy for sinus:
Honeycomb or raw honey is used to alleviate sinus pressure. Honey kills the bacteria causing sinusitis . Its anti bacterial, anti viral, and anti-sceptic properties together help to clear the sinuses.
10) Honey offers long lasting energy:
Honey is primarily made up of three types of sugars namely- sucrose, glucose, and fructose. Our bodies use each of these sugars differently. Sucrose and glucose are digested easily resulting in the spike in the blood sugar. Fructose presents in the honey stays for the longer in the digestive system and supplies steady energy to your kid.
11) Honey is loaded with vitamins and minerals:
There are not so many ingredients packed in the bottle of honey. It is loaded with the required nutrients and minerals that benefit your growing kid in many ways. It is also a source of amino that reduces the mental fatigue and prevents the muscle damage.
12) Provides nourishment to skin and face:
Because of its nourishing and moisturizing properties, honey is beneficial for the skin. Honey benefits the dry skin and it is very easy to apply on your kid’s face. It removes the accumulated dust from the pores. It helps to alleviate the cracking of the lips. It is best natural remedy to correct the tone of the skin.
13) Used for healing wounds:
Honey has antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant properties and is the effective home remedy for treating the wounds. After any skin injury, the bacteria that is left over on the skin penetrates and infects the wound site. Honey is well known to destroy these bacteria.
14) Helps your kid to have good sleep:
If your kid has difficulty in falling sleep. Then offer your child a glass of milk with a tablespoon of honey an hour before the sleep. Honey keeps your liver full and makes sure that it produces the right amounts of the glycogen for the night. Honey spikes the insulin levels which releases the tryptophan into the brain tryptophan is converted into serotonin and then into the melatonin. Melatonin is known as the wellness hormone that helps in rebuilding the tissues when we are at the rest thereby enhances the immunity.
15) Prevents and helps control Eczema:
Eczema is a skin disease that causes the red, itchy, and flaky spots on the skin and makes your kid feel uncomfortable. Honey acts as the natural cleanser and keeps the skin clean by eliminating the dirt from the skin. Regular usage of honey prevents the coming back of the Eczema.
16) Honey alleviates the gum diseases:
It is the natural and effective remedy for treating and healing the wounds because of its antibacterial and infection healing properties. Teeth and gum disease including gingivitis, bleeding, and plaque can be treated effectivity with the regular use of honey. Honey releases the antiseptic hydrogen peroxide which acts as the microbial growth and prevents the growth of bacteria. Raw honey mixed with water can be used as mouth wash. You can apply rubbing honey on the affects to get instant relief from the pain and inflammation.
17) Helps to reduce the dandruff:
Honey is one of the best natural home remedies for dandruff. It gives nourishment to the smooth hair and gives hair smooth and soft touch. Honey and lavender with the green tea can be used to prevent hair fall. Honey mixed with equal proportions of the vegetable oil can be used as the hair mask.
18) Honey boosts memory:
What we provide our kids will greatly impact their physical and mental development. It is loaded with many eternal benefits and one of them is the memory booster. It reduces the metabolic stress and helps calm and soothe the brain. Antioxidant and therapeutic properties of the honey will help to enhance brain’s cholinergic system and circulation and recedes the cells that cause brain damage.
Ways to give honey for kids:
It is an amazing natural food with the numerous health benefits. You can use it instead of added sweeteners. Giving honey is the best way to welcome healthy living in your family.
Honey is loved by everyone. It is sweet and usually enjoyed by every child. If your child doesn’t like the honey, here are a few ways that you can introduce them honey:
1. Oatmeal with honey:
Oat meal is one of the healthy options for the toddlers. But most of them do not like it because of the texture and the taste. You can overcome the texture related issues by making it as a substitute for the general flour in pancakes, waffles, and more.
If the issue is with the taste, here you can add honey that gives good taste.
2. Yogurt with honey:
Yogurt is the healthy snack that can help their meal time more tasty while keeping them within the calorie limits and helps to strengthen their bones.
Honey with the yogurt is the nutritional snack that is packed with the protein and calcium.
3. Milk with honey:
Milk is most essential for the growing children that is rich in calcium and fosters sound sleep if offered before the bedtime.
Add a tablespoon of honey to the glass of milk which is the well known remedy to promote the length and quality of the sleep. Honey releases the serotonin, which the body converts into melatonin which is the powerful antioxidant.
4. Smoothie with honey:
Smoothies at any time are the perfect way to keep your kid energized all the time. Replace the sweeteners like sugar with the honey and make the smoothie much more perfect. Don’t be worried of the calories as the honey contains only about 16 calories per tablespoon.
5. Use honey on waffles and pancakes:
Whole wheat waffle are nutritious and they are the complete protein foods. Pancake is the another healthy breakfast that is prepared from the starch batter. Healthy honey topping makes your kid’s breakfast much more healthy and tasty.
6. Baking substitution:
You can replace honey for the sugar in your many favorite recipes. You can substitute 1 cup of sugar with ½ cup to 2/3 cups of honey. Here are some tips to follow while adding honey instead of sugar.
o If you are using 1 cup of honey in the recipes, reduce the other liquids by ¼ cup.
o To keep the acidity in control, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda for one cup of honey.
o Cooking honey above the 110 degree Fahrenheit makes it to loss the essential nutrients and the enzymes. Honey should not be heated above 95 degrees Fahrenheit to secure all its components and enjoy the positive health benefits.
7. Honey with Holy Basil (a remedy for cold):
Studies suggest that honey is the effective remedy to reduce the severity of cough, cold, or fever. Honey can be used in extensive ways to treat the symptoms
• Add honey, and a table spoon of holy basil juice to the water. This will help to soothe the sore throat and increase the metabolism of the child.
• Consumption of tablespoon of honey will help to aid the healing of the sore throat
Precautions to follow while giving honey to your child:
Here are a few precautions that you should follow while offering honey for your child:
1) Not for the infants:
Honey acts as the toxic food item for the babies below 1 year. Make sure not to offer honey for the babies below 1 year in any form. Clostridium bacteria surviving in the honey can cause infant botulism. It is a bacteria residing in the soil but may get into the food items like honey.
Also make sure to avoid the foods that contain honey for the babies below 1 year. Sometimes parents forget to check for the foods that contain honey and they accidentally feed it to their babies. Aware of the food items like cookies that may contain the honey in them.
2) Don’t keep it open:
Honey should be placed in a closed container and keep it in a cool place. It is at the risk of catching the dust and ants because of its sticky nature and sweetness respectively.
Check the manufacturing date and contents mentioned on the label to ensure that it remains pure and safe to use.
3) Aware of breathing problems:
Honey may cause the breathing problem in babies and even in the children because of the allergic reaction. Consult your doctor immediately in case of any such problem in your baby.
Skip to use the honey and call your pediatrician if your child has fever, worsening cough, wheezing and the symptoms of cold that last more than two weeks.
4) Muscle Weakness:
Any symptoms of muscle weakness could be the reaction of honey which is a sign of infant botulism. It is important to meet the doctor in those cases.
5) Don’t rush to offer honey:
It is good to introduce honey slowly like any other food for the toddler above 1 year. To use this method, give your child honey and wait for four days to look for reactions before adding it in another new food.
6. Use it in moderate quantity:
Do not offer too much honey for your child as it is high in calories and free sugars like fructose, it may put unnecessary weight, dental, and gastric issues. So, keep it’s use at the moderate level.
In conclusion, it is more important to learn when to introduce this natural sweetener into your child’s diet. Wait till your baby turns one year old and introduce honey slowly as a sugar replacement.