How about taking a glass of sour milk and honey at the start of each day? Bifidobacteria is a group of good, friendly bacteria which are essential for life and good health and particularly important to the health and proper function of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. One way to increase the Bifidobacteria populations in the intestine is by consuming foods containing prebiotics -- nutrients that stimulate the growth of probiotic Acidophillus and Bifidus bacteria. Research conducted at Michigan State University has shown that honey, a natural sweetener comprising vitamins, enzymes, minerals, and antioxidants, contains a number of fermentable carbohydrates including a variety of oligosaccharides that can function as prebiotics enhance the growth, activity and viability of bifidobacteria in milk, and fermented dairy products such as yoghurts. Honey is known as a compound made up of fructose sugar molecules linked together in long chains -- fructooligosaccharide (FOS), which can also be in other plants such as Jerusalem artichoke tubers, onions, leeks, barley, rye, oats. FOS are also available as a nutritional supplement and the food industry is jumping on the band wagon by adding FOS such as honey to yoghurts, and combining milk and honey to form healthy food.
Benefits of FOS are numerous. They help carry moisture through the digestive system and therefore promoting healthy bowel movements. Growth of the beneficial bacteria encourages the production of short chain fatty acids, lowering pH, inhibiting unhealthy bacteria land detoxifying carcinogens in the diet.
FOS helps to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels by reducing absorption of carbohydrates and fats into the blood stream, nourishes the cells in the gut which is important for digestive well-being and the prevention of constipation. Improving digestion is key to establishing good health. When in good health, we get rid of wastes and toxins through regular bowel movements and eliminate the build up of unhealthy micro-organisms and internal toxins, providing a strong and intact intestinal barrier to prevent the leaking of undigested food fragments into the blood stream. As more research becomes available and we learn more about bacteria and how they affect our health, the more important both probiotic and prebiotic products will become and the more of these home remedies such as milk and honey you will see on the supermarket shelves.
Honey also has a major role to play as a carrier of foods containing relatively high levels of vitamins and minerals, and has been shown to help the body absorb minerals such as calcium. Elderly people have higher risk for fractures from osteoporosis or low bone mass. One of the ways to avoid this is to consume adequate calcium, and make sure that it is absorbed. And researchers at Purdue University has shown in its preliminary findings that honey added to milk could enhance calcium uptake.
Many facial cleansing and skin moisturising products have also included milk and honey as part of their ingredients to claim beauty benefits such skin hydration, smoothness, purification, anti-aging, and revitalization. A warm glass of milk with a teaspoon of honey is also known to be a good remedy for sleeplessness. Copyright (c) 2008 Ruth Tan.
Ruth Tan runs the popular website Benefits of Honey which is an immensely rich, quality resource on honey and its benefits, and a plethora of health-related issues. Discover the amazing health benefits and all the positive spin-offs super-food honey can bring to your life and the lives of your loved ones at http://www.benefits-of-honey.com