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.

News Feed: Fish and Brains, Sugar in Fruit, Pomegranate Healthfulness

Eating fish may aid your brain, sugar in fruit beats sugar in soda — plus, parsing pomegranates and health.

Ask the Dietitian: What's the Difference Between Added and Natural Sugar?

What’s the deal with all they types of sugar out there? Are all sugars created equal? And are all sugars bad?

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: Mondays get even more meatless; the world learns what happens when a household bans sugar (hint: a book deal); and coupon-clipping takes a healthier turn.

Reading List: Trouble For Meat Lovers, Weight Loss Apps and Take Back Your Lunch Break

In this week’s nutrition news: Slashing sugar helps make you healthier, enjoying lunch away from your desk and does the “5 second” rule for germs really exist?

Is Sugar Toxic?

A recent episode of 60 Minutes titled “Is Sugar Toxic” had folks buzzing over Twitter and whispering at the water cooler. But is sugar really the enemy ?

Reading List: Alli Linked to Liver Failure, New Sugar Guidelines & Becoming a Locavore

In this week’s nutrition headlines: the danger in taking supplements, American’s drowning in sugar, and the popular weight loss pill Alli is linked to liver failure.

3 Ways to Tame Your Sweet Tooth

Here are a few tips you can use immediately to reduce the amount of sugar in your daily routine and return your taste buds to normal.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

This week's Nutrition News Feed covers sugar, working out and all those vitamin drinks.