Since ancient times, honey has been used as both a food and medicine.
It’s very high in beneficial plant compounds and offers several health benefits. Honey is particularly healthy when used instead of refined sugar, which is 100% empty calories.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of honey.
1. Honey contains is loaded with a lot of Nutrients.
Honey is a sweet, thick liquid made by honeybees.
The bees collect sugar — mainly the sugar-rich nectar of flowers — from their environment.
Once inside the beehive, they repeatedly consume, digest, and regurgitate the nectar.
The end product is honey, a liquid that serves as stored food for 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 fructose, glucose, maltose, and sucrose.
It contains virtually no fiber, fat, or protein.
It also contains trace amounts under 1% of the RDI of several vitamins and minerals, but you would have to eat many pounds to fulfill your daily requirements.
Where honey shines is in its content of bioactive plant compounds and antioxidants. Darker types tend to be even higher in these compounds than lighter types.
2. High-Quality Honey is Rich in Antioxidants
High-quality honey contains many important antioxidants. 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 reduced risk of heart attacks, strokes, and some types of cancer. They may also promote eye health.
3. Honey Promotes Burn and Wound Healing
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 honey most effective at healing partial-thickness burns and wounds that have become 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 honey’s healing powers come from its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects as well as its ability to nourish surrounding tissue.
What’s more, it can help treat other skin conditions, including psoriasis and herpes lesions.
Honey is considered especially effective for treating burn wounds.
4. Honey can help suppress Coughs in Children
Coughing is a common problem for children with upper respiratory infections.
These infections can affect sleep and quality of life for both children and parents.
However, mainstream medications for cough are not always effective and can have side effects. Interestingly, honey may be a better choice, and evidence indicates it is very effective.
One study found that honey worked better than two common cough medications.
Another study found that it reduced cough symptoms and improved sleep more than cough medication.
Nevertheless, honey should never be given to children under one year of age due to the risk of botulism.
5. Honey also helps improve Cholesterol
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 may improve your cholesterol levels.
It reduces total and “bad” LDL cholesterol while significantly raising “good” HDL cholesterol.
For example, one 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. It also led to a modest weight loss of 1.3%.
6. The Antioxidants in it are linked to other Beneficial Effects on Heart Health
Again, honey is a rich source of phenols and other antioxidant compounds. Many of these have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.
They may help the arteries in your heart dilate, increasing blood flow to your heart. They may also help prevent blood clot formation, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Furthermore, one study in rats showed that honey protected the heart from oxidative stress.
All told, there is no long-term human study available on honey and heart health. Take these results with a grain of salt.