Ten Health Benefits of Including Honey in Your Diet

Honey being poured into a bowl

No food beats better health than one that’s straight out of nature! Just like fruits and vegetables, eating these naturally developed substances sure beats processed and manufactured foods. And this includes honey. The naturally occurring sweet amber-colored honey is liquid gold. Honey bees use nectar from the flowers to make pure and raw honey. It’s not only used as food but throughout history, people have used it for the various health benefits it offers and for its medicinal purposes.

Here are ten health benefits of honey, which you can benefit from:

Rich in Nutrients

A bee collects sweet nectar from flowers and processes it in the beehive. The result is a sugar-rich thick golden liquid. The form of honey produced by the bees differs in taste, color, and smell, depending on the type of flowers from which the nectar was collected.

The nutritional liquid has no fat, protein, or fiber, but also contains low concentrations of vitamins and minerals. However, as the liquid is made from plant nectar, it is full of phytonutrients. These compounds occur in plants and help to protect the plant from harm. These phytonutrients are also quite beneficial for humans.

Good Replacement for Sugar

Instead of using refined sugar that is chock-full of calories, honey can prove to be a healthier alternative. Its benefits will only be evident if it replaces an unhealthy sweetener. But keep in mind that honey is only a ‘less bad’ sweetener, and should be consumed in moderate amounts as it is still rich in calories and sugar.

The idea that honey is beneficial for diabetic patients has varied proof. While it’s known to reduce the risk factors for heart disease in people with type-2 diabetes, it can also result in raised blood sugar levels; much less compared to refined sugar. So the intake of honey in the diet should be limited.

Natural Source of Energy

Honey can be a good source of all-natural energy. It contains a moderate quantity of carbohydrates, and the natural sugar it contains can help provide an instant energy boost. This can help you during your workouts as a short-term energy source.

However, if the workout is intended to increase muscle mass, you should avoid having this drink.

Contains Antioxidants

Antioxidant Illustration
Chemical diagram showing antioxidant dinates electron to free radical. Photo: Bigstock

High-quality unprocessed honey contains a range of plant chemicals that act as antioxidants. The antioxidant properties of honey are due to the combination of organic acids and phenolic compounds. This protects the body from free radicals that can cause cell damage.

The free radical compounds speed up the aging process and lead to different chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

Has Antifungal and Antibacterial Properties

Honey has been used as a natural remedy since ancient times for treating infections and other illnesses. Now, there is proof that supports its use as an antibacterial and antifungal medicine. Studies have found that honey contains hydrogen peroxide, which plays the role of an antiseptic.

A report published in the FASEB Journal in 2010 stated that honey can kill bacteria due to the presence of a protein called defensin-1. Another research published in The Scientific World Journal showed data that confirmed that honey could be used in place of a usual antiseptic solution for treating wounds.

Helps to Heal Wounds and Burns

People in ancient times not only used honey as a remedy for internal illnesses but also to treat wounds and burns. The typical application of honey effectively heals infected wounds and first-degree burns post-surgery, as it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

It can help cure diabetic foot ulcers that might result in amputations. It’s also effective in treating skin conditions like psoriasis and herpes lesions.

Manuka is medical-grade honey that boosts healing and reduces infection. It can kill germs, and assist in tissue regeneration.

Eases Cough and Cold Symptoms

A home remedy for a sore throat, honey is also effective as a cough suppressant. It’s commonly believed that it triggers nerve endings, which protect the throat from incessant coughing. The World Health Organization’s recommendation is enough proof of its effectiveness.

Research conducted revealed that honey can replace dextromethorphan, an ingredient in most over-the-counter cough medicines. It has also been recommended for children with upper respiratory infections to prevent coughing and to help them get a peaceful night’s sleep. However, it isn’t recommended for children younger than the age of one. 

Provides Relief for Digestive Problems

Honey can be used to treat diarrhea, reducing its duration and severity. It helps boost water and potassium intake in the body, and block pathogens that cause diarrhea. It can also prevent acid reflux, which reduces the risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

It can also assist in fighting the H. pylori bacteria, which can lead to stomach ulcers. Additionally, honey is a powerful prebiotic, which promotes the presence of good bacteria in the intestines which helps in digestion and in maintaining overall health.

Improves Cholesterol Levels

Research has shown that honey might help to maintain cholesterol levels in the body. It is known to decrease bad LDL cholesterol while increasing good HDL cholesterol. Many studies have also proved that honey consumption as a replacement for sugar regularly can lead to lower triglyceride levels.

Honey contains phenols and several antioxidants and can aid in reducing the risk of heart disease. It helps the arteries of the heart to dilate, resulting in increased blood flow. They can also prevent blood clotting, which is often the reason for heart attacks and strokes.

Enhances Memory

Honey is rich in antioxidants that can help to reduce cellular damage and loss in the brain. It is believed that honey can promote the absorption of calcium in the body as well. Calcium is essential for the brain as it helps in thought processing and making a decision.