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Honey is a viscous liquid harvested from the hives of bees. Honey is a mildly saccharine, all-natural sweetener that contains loads of nutrients and antioxidants. Honey bees work to make honey which is used by bee colonies for nourishment. They work to collect the pollen and plant secretions to make and store honey. Honey bees are famously hard workers who produce more honey than they need to survive the long, cold winters. Beekeepers harvest the excess honey and bottle it for sale. Raw honey, as opposed to refined honey, is loaded with incredible health benefits. In fact, honey has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. Take a look at some of the reasons you might consider adding honey to your diet.
Important Note: Each of the claims noted herein is supported by the most current scientific research at the time of this publication.
Packed With Nutrients
Honey is beneficial to your health because it’s packed with a wide variety of nutrients. Although honey’s nutrition varies by specific honey type, you can count on finding some of the same vitamins and minerals across the board. Generally speaking, one tablespoon of honey contains high concentrations of vitamins C and D as well as fiber, live enzymes, and powerful antioxidants. Honey is also an excellent source of pollen which helps to stave local allergies. Some of the important minerals found in honey include thiamine, potassium, and iron. Furthermore, honey is rife with magnesium, manganese, riboflavin, zinc, and amino acids. Finally, at just 60 calories per serving with zero fat, honey is a nutrient-dense food that’s worth adding to your diet.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. There’s no denying the composition of honey; packed with tons of important nutrients, incorporating honey into your diet is highly recommended.
Loaded With Antioxidants
Without a doubt, one of honey’s greatest brags is its overwhelming antioxidant content. Raw honey is made up of plant compounds that function as antioxidants. Of note, antioxidants work to fight harmful free radicals that might otherwise lead to some chronic illnesses. The most abundant antioxidants found in honey are called polyphenols which combat both cardiovascular disease and some cancer types. Studies show that the polyphenols found in honey have a powerful effect on many conditions triggered by oxidative stress. Moreover, honey contains both bee pollen and propolis, both of which are linked to protective effects on the respiratory, gastrointestinal, nervous, and cardiovascular systems. Lastly, some studies suggest that bee pollen and propolis may have an impact on some cancer treatments.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Dozens of scientific studies tout the antioxidative, protective effects of the polyphenols contained in honey.
Helps to Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
An unexpected benefit of eating honey is that it can help to regulate blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. As anyone with diabetes knows, diet control is integral to sugar management. While it’s true that honey contains sugar which can raise blood sugar levels, it also contains high concentrations of antioxidants which can significantly lower blood sugar. In fact, scientific research indicates that honey has a positive effect adiponecton, a hormone essential to regulating blood sugar. Furthermore, there’s scientific evidence that suggests that honey can even improve fasting blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Research overwhelmingly concludes that honey’s high antioxidant content can be beneficial to diabetic blood sugars.
Enhances Heart Health
Another surprising benefit of adding honey to your diet is that it could help to keep your heart healthy. According to one study, honey consumption can help to lower blood pressure, regulate heart rhythm, and even reduce fat levels in your blood. Each of these individual benefits has powerful implications for heart health. One study conducted on more than 4,000 subjects revealed that moderate honey consumption reduced subjects’ blood pressure significantly. Moreover, one animal study showed that honey consumption in rats reduced oxidative stress to the heart. Finally, the propolis content of honey is thought to remediate cholesterol and triglyceride levels, another indicator of heart health.
General Consensus: 3/5 and here is why. Although a number of compelling studies show a connection between honey intake and heart health, there are not a ton of human studies to support this claim. More human research is warranted.
Helps to Heal Flesh Wounds and Burns
An age-old homeopathic use for honey is in the treatment of flesh wounds and burns. Honey can be topically used to treat burns, rashes, wounds, and beyond. More than 20 studies on this topic have concluded that using honey topically on burns and infected wounds is useful. A startling topical use for honey is in the treatment of diabetic foot wounds that, if left untreated, can lead to amputation. In fact, one study that researched the use of honey on diabetic foot ulcers found a 43% improvement of these ulcers when honey was used topically. Lastly, scientists believe that honey’s success in wound treatment is a result of its high antioxidant content.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. An overwhelming number of studies conclude that topical honey use is good for wound and burn care.
Works as a Natural Cough Suppressant
Another popular homeopathic use for honey is in the treatment of cold-related coughs. Coughing is a typical symptom of the common cold and respiratory infections in children. Because over-the-counter and prescription cough suppressants aren’t typically recommended for children, honey is a wise alternative. Notably, several studies declare honey to be more effective than diphenhydramine, the primary ingredient in prescription cough suppressants. Another study indicated that honey usage for cough treatment also improves the sleep quality of children suffering from a cold-related cough.
General Consensus: 4/5 and here is why. Honey as a cough suppressant is only recommended for children over the age of one; in this population, research has found honey to be an optimal treatment for a cough.
Unlikely Benefits: Further Research Needed
Produces Antidepressant Effects
General Consensus: 2.5/5 and here is why. While the few available studies indicate a positive correlation between honey consumption and the reduction of depression symptoms, all of the available studies include animal subjects; human research is needed.
May Prevent Memory Disorders
General Consensus: 2/5 and here is why. A few studies have shown that honey intake improves cognitive functionality and memory, but there are just too few to draw this conclusion with confidence.