Most people eat honey, but did you know you can eat honeycomb? Honeybees produce honeycomb in their hives. Like honey, honeycomb also has nutritional value and health benefits. Consuming it may improve your immune system, and promote a healthy heart and liver.
What is a Honeycomb?
Honeycomb is built by bees in their nest to contain their larvae, and as storage for honey and pollen. This mass of repeating hexagonal cells made up of beeswax fills the interior of the beehive. When beekeepers harvest honey, they may also remove the entire honeycomb from the beehive.
This natural bee product has plenty of carbohydrates and antioxidants. The honeycomb itself may also contain some royal jelly, bee propolis, and pollen. Rich in nutrients, you can eat the whole honeycomb, including the waxy cells which can be chewed like gum. It has small amounts of protein, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes with potential health benefits of its own.
Boosts the Immune System
Honeycomb boosts the immune system. Eating or chewing honeycomb will ease sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes caused by allergies. This because of the bee propolis in the honeycomb which has an anti-allergic effect. It is also used in treating coughs and acute bronchitis caused by upper respiratory tract infections. The bee propolis and wax esters from beeswax, help ease bronchial inflammation. But pregnant women and children under twelve months should not consume honeycomb due to the risk of botulism.
The antioxidants from the raw honey in the honeycomb are another surprising benefit. It may control dangerous free radicals which harm our body tissues. Beeswax extracts protect you against infections caused by fungi and disease-causing bacteria. It may also guard your stomach against some parasites.
Promotes Heart and Liver Function
Just as the long-chain fatty acids in fish provide heart health benefits, so do the very-long-chain fatty acids and alcohols found in beeswax. It appears to significantly decrease “bad” blood cholesterol (LDL) while at the same time raising “good” blood cholesterol (HDL) levels. This helps lower blood pressure and triglycerides. Plus, it increases blood flow by dilating the arteries leading to your heart. This is how honeycomb promotes your heart function – minimizing your chances of having blood clots, heart attack, and stroke.
Likewise, the alcohols found in honeycomb may contribute to a healthier liver. This antioxidant normalizes liver function and improves symptoms of fatty liver disease, such as nausea, bloating, and abdominal pain.
Improves Glucose Metabolism
Glucose is important to health, as our body depends on it for energy. It is heartening to know that the wax esters found in honeycomb may improve glucose metabolism. It can reduce insulin levels and markers for insulin resistance, as well. As a result, eating honeycomb may help manage type-2 diabetes.
Since honey is much sweeter than sugar, only a small amount is needed to reach the same level of sweetness. This way, honeycomb raises blood sugar levels less compared to refined sugar This is why raw honey in honeycombs is a potential alternative to sugar for diabetics. Please bear in mind that despite its potential benefits, honeycomb still elevates blood sugar levels, so it’s best to eat it in moderation.
Eating large amounts of honeycomb can also cause gastrointestinal blockage, which can be life-threatening. Although consuming honeycomb has numerous health benefits, some individuals may have adverse reactions. It is best to follow the honeycomb product’s intake guidelines, or consult with a healthcare professional before consuming it regularly.