Since ancient times, honey has been used both as food and as medicine.
It is very rich in beneficial plant compounds and offers several health benefits. Honey is especially healthy when used in place of refined sugar, which is 100% empty calories.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of honey.
Honey is a sweet, thick liquid made by bees.
Bees harvest sugar—primarily the sugar-rich nectar of flowers—from their environment .
Once inside the hive, they repeatedly consume, digest and regurgitate the nectar.
The final product therefore becomes honey, a liquid that serves as food for the bees. The smell, color and taste depend on the types of flowers visited.
Nutritionally, 1 tablespoon of honey (21 grams) contains 64 calories and 17 grams of sugar, including the fructose , glucose, maltose and sucrose.
It contains virtually no fiber, fat or protein .
It also contains traces - less than 1% of the RDA - of several vitamins and minerals, but you'll need to eat plenty to meet your daily needs.
Where honey shines nutritionally is in its content of bioactive plant compounds and antioxidants. Darker types tend to be even higher in these compounds than lighter types .
High quality honey contains many antioxidants important. These include organic acids and phenolic compounds like flavonoids .
Scientists believe that the combination of these compounds gives honey its antioxidant power .
Interestingly, two studies have shown that buckwheat honey increases the antioxidant value of your blood .
Antioxidants have been linked to a reduced risk of heart attacks, strokes and certain types of cancer. They may also promote eye health .
Data on honey and diabetes are mixed.
For one, it may reduce several common heart disease risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes.
For example, it can reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and inflammation while increasing “good” HDL cholesterol .
However, some studies have shown that it can also raise blood sugar - but not as much as refined sugar.
Although honey may be slightly better than refined sugar for people with diabetes, it should still be consumed with caution.
In fact, people with diabetes can do better by minimizing all carbohydrate-rich foods .
Also keep in mind that some types of honey can be adulterated with plain syrup. Although honey adulteration is illegal in most countries, it remains a widespread problem .
Blood pressure is an important risk factor for heart disease, and honey can help lower it.
This is because it contains antioxidant compounds that have been linked to lower blood pressure .
Studies in rats and humans have shown modest reductions in blood pressure when consuming honey.
High LDL cholesterol levels are a strong risk factor for heart disease.
This type of cholesterol plays a major role in atherosclerosis, the fatty buildup in your arteries that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Interestingly, several studies show that honey can improve your cholesterol levels.
It lowers total and “bad” LDL cholesterol while significantly increasing “good” HDL cholesterol .
For example, a study in 55 patients compared honey to table sugar and found that honey caused a 5.8% reduction in LDL and a 3.3% increase in HDL cholesterol. This also resulted a loss of weight modest by 1.3% .
High blood triglycerides are another risk factor for heart disease.
They are also associated with insulin resistance, a major driver of type 2 diabetes.
Triglyceride levels tend to increase with a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates. refined carbohydrates .
Interestingly, several studies have linked regular consumption of honey to lower triglyceride levels, especially when used as a sugar replacement .
For example, a study comparing honey and sugar found lower triglyceride levels by 11 to 19% in the honey group .
Again, honey is a rich source of phenols and other antioxidant compounds. Many of these effects are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease .
They can help the arteries in your heart to widen, increasing blood flow to your heart. They can also help prevent blood clots from forming, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes .
Additionally, a study in rats showed that honey protected the heart from oxidative stress.
All told, there are no long-term human studies on honey and heart health . Take these results with a grain of salt.
Topical honey treatment has been used to heal wounds and burns since ancient Egypt and is still common today.
A review of 26 studies on honey and wound care found that honey was most effective in healing burns and partial-thickness wounds that became infected after surgery .
Honey is also an effective treatment for diabetic foot ulcers, which are serious complications that can lead to amputation .
One study reported a 43.3% success rate with honey as a wound treatment. In another study, topical honey healed a whopping 97% of patients' diabetic ulcers .
Researchers believe that the healing powers of honey come from its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects as well as its ability to nourish the surrounding tissues .
Additionally, it can help treat other skin conditions, including psoriasis and herpes sores .
Manuka honey is considered particularly effective for the treatment of burns .
Cough is a common problem for children with upper respiratory tract infections.
These infections can affect the sleep and quality of life of children and parents.
However, common cough medicines are not always effective and can have side effects. Interestingly, honey may be a better choice, and evidence indicates that it is very effective .
One study found that honey worked better than two common cough medicines .
Another study found that it reduced cough symptoms and improved more the sleep than cough medicine .
However, honey should never be given to children under one year old due to the risk of botulism.
Honey is a alternative delicious and healthier with sugar.
Be sure to choose a high quality brand, as some lower quality ones may be mixed with syrup.
Keep in mind that honey should only be consumed in moderation, as it is still high in calories and sugar.
The benefits of honey are most pronounced when it replaces another unhealthy sweetener.
In the end, honey is simply a " less bad » sweetener than sugar and high fructose corn syrup.