The One Ingredient You Need To Start Using In The Kitchen In 2019, According To Experts

by Julia Guerra

I’ve been keeping up with the many foods that health and wellness influencers swear by long before it was my job to write about them. And since 2019 is right around the corner, I’ve been scrolling through social media in search of the most buzzed-about treats to stock up on for the new year. But here's the thing: I’m predicting a major shift in pantry staples come January. Instead of protein bars and supplements, you might start seeing gurus promoting more whole foods and ingredients, and providing details on why they’re so amazing, like the health benefits of raw honey, for example. I don’t know about you, but I’m totally down for going back to basics, because as much as I love trying new products, the stuff that's considered "trendy" is usually pretty pricey, if you know what I mean.

Honey is a pretty hot commodity these days, but TBH, I never really thought much of the stuff growing up. Come to think of it, I can’t actually remember if honey was a staple in my mom's pantry or not. The first time I really thought to buy honey at all was when I'd made plans to have a friend sleep over in high school, and she'd mentioned she liked adding a spoonful of the stuff to her tea. Being the Irish tea-drinker that I was (and still am), this was a completely foreign concept to me. I just assumed everyone took milk in their cups of decaf black Lipton. So, I bought a container of honey shaped like a teddy bear, she used exactly a tablespoon, and that was that. The bear stayed in my cupboard, untouched, until the next time she came by.

These days, my pantry is stocked with honey. I literally have at least three jars of the stuff as I write this (my personal favorites are Wedderspoon's Manuka Honey Squeeze Bottles and Bee Harmony's American Raw Blueberry flavor). I regularly add spoonfuls of the stuff into my tea, I often swap refined sugar for servings of honey when I bake, but here's what you have to keep in mind: While honey is definitely better for you than something like refined sugar, sugar is still sugar at the end of the day, which is why Nealy Fischer, founder of The Flexible Chef and author of the upcoming book Food You Want For The Life You Crave, says you should still be a) consuming it in moderation, and b) making sure your jar is free of additives.

"Most honey bottles stocked on the shelves of your local grocery store aren’t real honey. They’ve been processed, pasteurized, and stripped of the benefiting nutrients and pollen," Fischer tells Elite Daily over email. So, to make sure you're reaping all the health benefits raw honey can offer, Fischer suggests buying your stash at a farmer's market, investing in raw Manuka if you can, and always reading the labels.

But what exactly are the benefits of raw honey you're going to want to reap in 2019? So glad you asked. Check out the list below for some of the most recognized health benefits. I guarantee you'll be buzzing for a jar by the end of it.

A Spoonful Of Honey Before Bed Could Help You Sleep More Soundly

Are you tossing and turning all night? According to Dr. Raj Gupta, wellness expert and founder of Soul Focus Wellness Center, raw honey aids in overall sleep quality by encouraging the body to "release melatonin and spike insulin levels." So if you're waking up in the morning still feeling groggy and restless, you might want to consider a spoonful of the stuff before bed, or adding a serving to your nighttime tea. I recommend doing the latter with Lipton's Bedtime Bliss Herbal Tea, made with chamomile, mint, and orange peel, making it the ultimate sleep cocktail.

Got Allergies? Honey Can Offer Some Relief

Seasonal allergies are literally my worst nightmare. If you, like me, start sniffling the second the weather changes, you might as well pop into your local food store on the way home from the pharmacy because, according to Gupta, honey can offer all-natural allergy relief.

"Eating local raw honey can counteract the effects of allergies due to the honey having direct contact with pollen in that area," Gupta explains. Of course, you should probably check with your doctor to see if adding honey to your diet can help your specific case, but it's worth a try, right?

It Can Give You An All-Natural Energy Boost

Dr. Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C., founder of Ancient Nutrition and DrAxe.com, tells Elite Daily that raw honey makes for the "perfect running fuel."

Made from natural sugars, water, vitamins, minerals, as well as pollen and protein, he explains that raw honey is "an easily absorbed supply of energy," making it the perfect addition to breakfasts to jumpstart your day. It can even be used as a pre- or post-workout energy source if you tend to shy away from heavily processed supplements.

Honey Is Loaded With Antioxidants

Germs are always floating around, but they're especially plentiful during the holiday season, when it feels like everyone and their mother is sick. During this time, your body can really benefit from antioxidants to help strengthen your immune system.

Medicine and supplements are great, but Dr. Axe tells Elite Daily that research has shown that "a daily dose of raw honey raises levels of health-promoting antioxidants in the body." In other words, in order to stay healthy over the next few months, get a good night's rest, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands before you eat, and invest in a jar of honey.

Raw Honey Can Help Ease A Nasty Cough

Sniffles are annoying and all, but coughs are the worst. At least if something's stuffing up your nose, you can usually find some relief with a box of tissues. A cough, on the other hand, tends to take a long time to get rid of, because it's literally just phlegm struggling to make its way out of your body. Again, meds are great, but apparently, honey can help, too.

"Raw honey has been shown to be as effective in treating coughs as over-the-counter commercial cough syrups," Dr. Axe tells Elite Daily. "For a cough, a half teaspoon to two teaspoons of honey at bedtime is a recommended dosage for anyone over the age of 1."

Honey Is A Natural Antiseptic For Rashes, Burns, And Cuts

Even if you don't necessarily enjoy the taste of honey, a jar of the stuff can definitely come in handy if you experience a burn or a cut. See, in addition to being naturally rich in antioxidants, honey is also swarming with antibacterial properties, making it an excellent topical treatment for burns, rashes, and cuts, says Fischer.

"Get this," she tells Elite Daily. "Researchers have found that when honey reacts with body fluids, it creates a natural hydrogen peroxide. It’s no wonder honey-infused bandages are a thing."