How Honey Can Boost Your Health

4 reasons to include honey in your healthy diet.

Related To:
477461681

477461681

Various types of honey

Photo by: bozhdb

bozhdb

Natural sugars, like honey, have actually been shown to provide numerous health benefits. Before you swear off sugar forever, here are a few good reasons to keep it in your diet.

1. Honey can improve gut health

A subgroup of bacteria called bifidobacteria is thought to help maintain optimal gut health. These good bacteria can be increased when you eat the prebiotics. A prebiotic helps stimulate the growth of good bacteria while suppressing the growth of harmful bacteria. One of the most common prebiotics are called oligosaccharides, many of which are found in honey. Research conducted at Michigan State University has shown that adding honey to fermented dairy products (like Greek yogurt) can help with the grown, activity, and viability of bifidobacteria.

2. Honey provides antioxidants

Honey contains a wide variety of flavonoids and phenolic acids. These phytochemicals have been shown to act as antioxidants.

The antioxidants found in honey depend on the type of plants the bee was pollinating. As a general rule, the darker the honey, the more antioxidants it contains. Researchers at the University of Illinois Champaign/Urbana looked at the antioxidant capacity (called ORAC) of various types of honey. The results showed that buckwheat honey (which is darker in color) had over 5 1/2 times the ORAC compared to acacia honey (a very light colored honey derived from acacia flowers).

3. It's a source of energy

Nutrient-filled foods like oatmeal, bran, or plain yogurt aren’t very flavorful on their own. Adding sugar, just a small amount, can help make these healthy foods more palatable. Honey provides 64 calories per tablespoon compared to 46 calories found in the same amount of table sugar. Although, based on calories alone, you may think that table sugar is the better choice, honey is sweeter than table sugar so you can use a fraction of the amount.

4. Honey can help relieve irritation of a sore throat

Honey has been used for hundreds of years to help alleviate symptoms of the common cold. Although it won’t make the cold disappear or cure allergies, a study published in Pediatrics found that a spoonful of honey can help relieve the irritation of a sore throat.

To get the health benefits of honey, try these healthy recipes that use honey in small, moderate portions of the sweet stuff:

FNK_CINNAMON_OATMEAL_PANCAKES_COMPUTE_H_.jpg

FNK_CINNAMON_OATMEAL_PANCAKES_COMPUTE_H_.jpg

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo by: 1.00

1.00

Photo by: Tara Donne ©2009

Tara Donne, 2009

Keep Reading

Next Up

Food Labeling: Beware the “Health” Halo

Many folks read food labels to gain better insight on the foods they choose. However, with so many claims plastered on labels things can get really confusing. Even worse, food companies use these claims to push certain products and make you think they’re healthier than they really are. Curious about the top 10 food label boobie traps?

Nutrition News: Chipotle Unseats Subway, FDA Added-Sugar Label Rules and Soybean Oil Health Effects

Subway cedes top “healthy” chain spot to Chipotle; FDA to require added-sugar info on labels; and a study says soybean oil may be making us fat and diabetic.

Nutrition News: FDA Sets Sugar Cap, Pros Offer Pantry Tips, Junk Food Gets an Out

Junk food alone isn’t driving the obesity epidemic, one study indicates. The FDA recommends a sugar limit, and nutrition pros offer pantry tips.

How to Cut the Sugar from Summer Drinks

We consume over three times the daily recommended amount of added sugar each day, and sugary beverages are one of the main contributors to this sugar overload.

5 Bad Dieting Tips To Ignore

Don't eat fruit, avoid dairy . . . some dieting tips are just bad. Find out 5 of the most common misconceptions so you can tune them out.

8 Surprising Sources of Sugar

Move over salt, there's a new bad guy in town: sugar. You’ll be shocked to find out that these 8 common foods contain more sugar than you think.

5 Ways to Curb Sugar Cravings

Trying to reach for healthy snacks but the sugary treats are calling you? Use these strategies to help douse that sugar-fueled fire.

Farewell, My Sweets: The Sugar Shunning Trend

If fat was the star dietary villain for the past few decades, sugar is quickly stepping up to take its place.

5 Pieces of Diet Advice You're Better Off Skipping

When the New Year comes and weight loss promises made, diet advice soon follows – and lots of it. Wade through the sea of dieting advice by ignoring these 5 suggestions.

Nutrition News: Healthy Food Choices, Fructose and Trans Fat Under Fire, Top Produce Picks in June

Researchers urge focus on healthy food benefits, fructose study has startling results, the FDA may ban trans fats, and get the top produce pick for June.