Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Local Honey Helps Allergies/Sweetens Lovelife

“Now, don’t kiss your honey while your nose is ‘runny’.  You might think it’s funny, but it’s snot.”
    –author unknown

Spring fever, by definition, refers to an increase in energy, vitality and particularly sexual appetite.  Unfortunately many of us are ravaged by the symptoms of allergies during spring which can give you that “not-so-sexy” feeling.  To minimize the irony  of these two conflicting feelings one may want to consider eating a teaspoon of local honey each day to ward off the symptoms of early springtime allergens.  This natural sweetener may be the key to sweetening up your lovelife during allergy seasons.
Pollen counts have already reached abnormally high springtime levels this mild winter, activating allergic reactions in many people.  Research literature available on this topic is quite scarce.  One study done ten years ago found that there were no benefits to eating local honey.  However, a new study published last year came to a very positive conclusion.
This brand new study assessed the effects of the pre-seasonal use of birch pollen honey or regular honey on symptoms and medication during birch pollen season.
A total of 44 patients with diagnosed birch pollen allergy consumed either the birch pollen honey or regular honey daily from November to March.  The control group consisted 17 patients who were just using their usual allergy medication to control symptoms.
The study found that, during birch pollen season, compared to the control group, the patients using birch pollen honey experienced:
1. 60% reduction in symptoms
2.  Twice as many asymptomatic days
3.  70% fewer days with severe symptoms
4.  50% decrease in usage of antihistamines
The theory behind honey’s natural healing is very sound.  Local bees pick up pollen from the plants in your local area.  The honey the bees make then acts as a vaccine by introducing these allergens to your body an activating your immune system response to these irritants, eventually leading to immunity from the allergens.
There are a few things to consider before adding local honey to your diet, however.  Be certain you are not allergic to honey it self.  You risk going int anaphylactic shock if you are.  Also, be careful, to monitor your daily intake of fructose, especially if you are diabetic, obese, have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.  A teaspoon of honey has 4 grams of fructose in it.  Ideally you want to keep your fructose intake below 25 grams per day.
In addition to this latest encouraging study there is an extremely high amount of anecdotal evidence hailing the benefits of honey by people who have tried it and had great results.  I, myself, had severe allergic reactions in the spring and fall upon my return to the Midwest five years ago from Southern California.  Since I have been using a teaspoon of local honey in my coffee every morning the last two years, I have seen a significant reduction in my symptoms.
Spring fever is looming so consider using local honey to keep those nagging allergies at bay, and remove the humor from kissing and your lovelife!
ref.-Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology February 2002;88(2):198-203
ref.-International Archives of Allergy and Immunology 2011;155(2): 160-166

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