Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Protein Shakes Series: Beneficial Ingredient Raw Honey

Recently, I decided to look up the benefits of raw honey. As I was perusing a page, a few words caught my eye which instantly narrowed my search a little bit more. Those words were highlighted around athletes and raw honey. Now I do not claim to be a super athlete… In fact I am mediocre at best. But since I do run Cross Country and participate in Track and Field, as well as have a general interest in fitness and ways to improve it via exercise and healthy eating, I decided that it would be interesting to research the benefits of raw honey with athletics in mind. With this narrowed scope, I began looking for articles which targeted my subject of interest.

The result was that I was faced with an even more interesting idea. What if I could find a decent tasting protein shake that was truly good for someone’s health, and evaluate some of the benefiting ingredients? I hope to research and critique several ingredients, as well as try to make a delicious and healthy protein shake out of some of the ingredients which I pick to research and review.

Benefits of Raw Honey

One of the first ingredients I knew I wanted to include in a protein shake was raw honey. This was because after just a short search on the web, I was impressed by the many benefits of raw honey. To start with, I will give a brief run down on some of the benefits of raw honey:

*      Raw honey is beneficial to the immune system.
*      Raw honey is beneficial as a post-workout ingredient in a protein shake or after work out snack.
*      Raw honey is beneficial to fight oxidation as it has antioxidant properties in it.

These are just a few of the many benefits of raw honey. Now let’s discuss the way that some of these benefits work. According to several cites, raw honey helps support your immune system. Right after a workout, an athlete’s body becomes more vulnerable. It is important that it gets some aid in protecting itself, and raw honey, with its immune system boost, is a great way to aid one’s immune system after a strenuous workout. This goes hand and hand with raw honey’s high level of antioxidants. 

Oxidants can be, according to one cite, harmful. These can cause issues with body cells and are believed to even aid in helping degenerative diseases wreak havoc on a body. Foods with higher levels of antioxidants, such as raw honey, can help to control the amount of oxidants in an athlete’s body (Veg-It). 

Now, one of the final benefits which I will discuss is how raw honey can help to repair and build muscles after a hard workout. According to Healthy Living in the article “What Does Honey Do for You After You Work Out,” within the first half hour to 45 minutes after a workout it is very beneficial and important to refuel an athlete’s body with protein which can help to build and repair muscles after they have been worked. While an athlete’s body is in this stage of the post-workout, called the anabolic stage, a strategic combination of proteins AND carbohydrates can aid in providing the most complete recovery for a body (Healthy Living). Raw honey can be used as a useful carbohydrate and is especially beneficial when combined with protein.

Honey can also help to keep an athlete's blood sugar at a normal level. This especially seems to be true in sports which require a lot of endurance - such as cross country. However, there does still need to be moderation in the amount of honey intake. Those who are diabetic or have similar issues may want to be more careful with the levels of raw honey they consume. One should also make sure to review the source which they choose to buy from to ensure that the raw honey is completely safe, as there are some concerns about what flowers and nectar are used by bees to produce certain honeys. And of course, those who are allergic or have reactions to raw honey need to be careful as well.

After reviewing the benefits and disadvantages of raw honey, the conclusion which I reached is that for athletes who are not allergic, have no health complications, and wisely consume moderate measures of raw honey, can benefit in some degree from enjoying tasty treats which include raw honey as one of the ingredients.

I am not claiming to be professional in to any degree. The posts which I write are simply me enjoying researching topics which I find interesting. Always conduct your own research and consult more knowledgeable resources.


Information on raw honey and post-workout benefits for an athlete: 

Studies done which support raw honey and its power to help athletes:

Benefits of Raw Honey:

Some pros and cons of Raw Honey:

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