Honey has long been used as a natural sweetener, but recent studies suggest that it may also help with weight loss, diabetes, cancer prevention, and even heart disease.
There are many reasons why honey is great for us, including its ability to fight bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. It’s also a natural source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, and polyphenols. Also, it tastes delicious!
In this article we will get into the science behind honey and its potential health benefits, and what happens when you eat too much honey.
What is Honey?
Honey is a sticky substance made by bees from nectar found in flowers. The composition of honey depends on the type of flower visited by the bee, which can vary depending on where the bee comes from. For example, some types of honey contain higher levels of certain nutrients than others.
The nutritional content of honey varies based on the region where it was produced:
- The pollen and nectar collected by honeybees around the world differ due to differences in climate, vegetation, and other factors. This results in different nutrient profiles in honey from different regions.
- Different varieties of honey have different flavor characteristics. Flavors can be affected by the variety of plant species from which the nectar is gathered, how the nectar is processed after collection and other factors.
Sugars In Honey
Honey contains fructose, glucose, sucrose, maltose, lactose, mannitol, xylitol, sorbitol, and others.
Fructose – Fructose is a sugar that is found in honey. It has been shown to have many health benefits including helping with weight loss. Some studies suggest it may help lower cholesterol levels. However, some people can’t tolerate the high amount of fructose in honey.
Glucose – Glucose is another type of sugar that is found in most types of honey. This type of sugar helps give honey its sweet taste.
Sucrose – Sucrose is a common form of sugar that is found naturally in honey.
Maltose – Maltose is a sugar that is often found in honey. It’s also known as malt sugar or malt syrup.
Lactose – Lactose is a sugar that occurs naturally in milk. It is also present in honey.
Xylitol – Xylitol is a sugar that is used to make candy and other sweets. It is also used in toothpaste and mouthwash.
Sorbitol – Sorbitol is a sugar that is commonly added to foods for sweetness. It is also found in honey.
Mannitol– Mannitol is a sugar that occurs in honey. It is sometimes used to replace sucrose in food products.
What is raw honey and how it is made?
Raw honey is a natural product made from bees collecting nectar from flowers. The process of making honey involves heating the collected nectar until enzymes break down its sugars into simple carbohydrates (glucose). Honey is then filtered out of the bee hive and left to ferment naturally.
Raw honey contains no preservatives, additives, or artificial sweeteners.
Types of Honey
There are six main types of honey. They are described below.
1. Raw Honey
Raw honey is unprocessed honey. This means that it hasn’t been heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Raw honey is considered to be the healthiest form of honey.
2. Manuka Honey
Manuka honey is made from the nectar of manuka trees. Manuka honey is known for its medicinal properties. It is often prescribed for wound healing and skin conditions.
3. Acacia Honey
Acacia honey is made from the flower nectar of acacia trees. Acacia honey is rich in antioxidants and minerals. It is commonly used to treat coughs and colds.
4. Clover Honey
Clover honey is made from the pollen of clover plants. Clovers are native to Europe and Asia. Clover honey is usually darker in color than other kinds of honey.
5. Orange Blossom Honey
Orange blossom honey is made from the blossoms of orange trees. Orange blossom honey is sweet and fragrant. It is popular among chefs and foodies.
6. Buckwheat Honey
Buckwheat honey is a favorite of beekeepers. It’s a type of honey that can grow anywhere because it doesn’t require a lot of land or water. The buckwheat plant produces lots of little seeds, which makes it easy for bees to gather pollen.
Health Benefits of Honey
Honey provides many health benefits. Some of them are given below.
1. May Improve Heart Health
A recent study found that people who eat honey regularly are less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease. This is because honey contains high levels of antioxidants.
Antioxidants are also found naturally in foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, grains, and dairy products. These substances neutralize harmful compounds called free radicals that cause cellular damage.
Free radicals are produced during normal metabolism. When you exercise, your body produces even more free radicals. Free radicals also come from environmental sources like pollution and cigarette smoke.
The researchers studied (1) data collected over six years from nearly 2,500 participants aged 40 to 70. They found that those who ate honey every day had lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels compared to those who didn’t consume honey. In addition, those who consumed honey daily had a lower risk of developing hypertension.
When choosing honey, look for raw local honey.
Raw honey does not contain added sweeteners, stabilizers, or preservatives. If possible, buy locally harvested honey.
Look for honey labeled “100% natural.” Avoid honey with artificial colors or flavors. Store honey in a cool place away from sunlight and heat. Use within one year.
2. Promotes Wound Healing
Honey promotes wound healing because it contains antibacterial properties. Honey is used in traditional medicine to treat burns, cuts, scrapes, and abrasions. In addition, honey helps prevent infection and speeds up the natural process of tissue repair.
The use of honey dates back thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians applied honey directly onto wounds. They believed that honey had magical powers and could cure many diseases.
In modern times, studies show that honey accelerates the healing process.
A study published in the journal Food & Function found that honey promoted faster wound closure(2) than silver sulfadiazine cream. Another study showed that honey accelerated wound healing and improved scar formation compared to standard treatment.
A 2013 study(3) published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology examined the effects of honey on burn patients. Researchers concluded that topical application of honey resulted in better wound healing than conventional treatments such as antibiotics.
A recent study found that honey promotes wound healing in diabetic patients(4).
In one small study, researchers applied honey to 31 diabetic foot ulcers and compared the effects to standard care. After 3 months, 97% of ulcers treated with honey healed versus just 40% of those given standard care.
Similarly, another study in 30 participants showed that adding honey to traditional wound dressings increased healing in about 43% after 3 months.
Honey is safe to apply to open wounds. However, you should avoid applying honey to broken skin. You should also avoid applying honey to areas where there are punctures or tears in the skin. This includes the eyes, ears, mouth, nose, genitals, and anus.
Also, use medical grade honey and if the wound is serious, consult your doctor.
3. May help suppress coughing in children
Honey is a cheap and easy treatment for coughs in kids. A study published in Pediatrics found that honey works just as well as over-the-counter medicines like dextromethorphan/guaifenesin combination products.
In fact, honey is even cheaper than those medications. And it doesn’t cause side effects such as drowsiness or constipation.
Caution – Don’t give honey to infants as honey contains bacteria that may cause infant botulism(5), a rare and serious illness that attacks the body’s nerves and weaken muscles responsible for controlling the eyes, face, mouth, and throat. babies younger than 1 year. As per WHO, botulism can be fatal in 5 to 10 percent of cases.
4. Treating diarrhea
Raw honey may have a soothing effect on the digestive system, according to research published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
In a study(6) of 150 children with gastroenteritis, researchers found that those who received one tablespoon of honey daily with an oral rehydrating solution had a better recovery than those who didn’t receive honey.
The children who received honey had less severe diarrhea and experienced fewer side effects than those who did not take it.
However, excessive amounts of sugar in honey can cause diarrhea to worsen. For treating mild diarrhea, try taking 1/2 teaspoon of honey mixed into a small amount of water.
If you are unsure how much honey to use, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
5. Protecting the brain
Honey contains antioxidants that are believed to help protect cells from oxidative stress. A recent animal study showed that honey could prevent the degeneration of neurons in the brains of rats exposed to lead.
Honey is also believed to reduce inflammation in the brain. This makes sense because inflammation can cause harm to the brain, especially during early childhood development.
A review published in 2018 stated that honey may have beneficial effects on the brain. One reason why honey might be good for the brain is that it contains antioxidants such as flavonoids and phenolic acids.
These compounds can help fight free radicals and inflammation in the body. Another reason is that honey helps promote neurogenesis, which involves the growth of new nerve cells that improve cognitive function.
In addition, honey can help regulate blood sugar levels. This is important because high blood sugar levels can cause problems in the brain. Finally, honey can provide energy to the brain, which is needed for proper functioning.
6. Reduce Allergies
Many people are familiar with honey as a sweetener, but did you know it could actually relieve allergies too?
Some anecdotal reports suggest that local honey may offer relief from seasonal allergies. But what about clinical studies? Well, one study(7) published in 2011, concluded that people with birch pollinosis, who took birch honey, experienced:
- 60 percent reduction in symptoms;
- 70 percent fewer days with severe allergic reactions;
- Twice as many days without symptoms.
The researchers also found that the participants’ immune systems were more effective at fighting off the allergens than those of the control group.
7. Topical use of Honey Treats Skin Problems
Honey has been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine. In recent decades, studies have indicated that honey exerts antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and wound-healing effects. These activities are due to its high sugar concentration, low pH, and hydrogen peroxide activity.
The active ingredient in honey is glucose oxidase, an enzyme found naturally in bee saliva. This enzyme breaks down glucose into gluconic acid and oxygen gas, creating hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide has strong antibacterial properties and can kill bacteria on contact. It also helps prevent infections associated with diabetes mellitus and promotes wound healing.
In addition to providing relief from skin conditions(8) such as acne and eczema, topical applications of honey can help treat fungal infections, including athlete’s foot and ringworm. Studies suggest that honey can reduce itching caused by insect bites, stings, and poison ivy.
8. Sleep Promoter
Raw honey contains high concentrations of fructose, glucose and minerals like magnesium and potassium, which are essential for healthy sleep.
Honey also contains amino acids such as tyrosine, phenylalanine, and leucine, which help produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of well-being being.
Serotonin is also responsible for regulating blood pressure, metabolism, and digestion.
9. Heals Wounds And Ulcers
Honey is one of nature’s most effective remedies for treating wounds.
A study published in the Journal of Natural Products showed that honey had positive effects on wound healing. Researchers at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, tested honey against several different types of bacteria(9). They found that honey killed off harmful bacteria while stimulating the growth of healthy cells.
The research team found that honey worked similarly to silver dressings, which kill off harmful bacteria while promoting the growth of healthy skin. However, honey proved to be even more powerful than silver because it did not cause irritation or allergic reactions like some silver products.
Researchers discovered that honey reacted with the body’s fluids to produce hydrogen peroxide, making it inhospitable to bacteria. When honey dries out, however, it loses much of its effectiveness. To prevent drying out, researchers recommend applying honey to the affected area once or twice daily.
For burns, the best way to apply honey is to rub it into the burn itself, followed by wrapping the area with gauze soaked in honey. This method reduces the risk of infection caused by contact with air. If you use a topical cream containing honey, keep it away from the eyes and mouth.
10. Regulate Blood Sugar
Honey contains antioxidants, enzymes, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, fatty acids, polyphenols, flavonoids, and proteins.
Honey has been studied as a possible treatment for diabetes since the early 1900s.
In recent years, clinical trials have shown that honey could improve blood sugar control(10) and prevent complications such as heart disease, kidney damage, blindness, nerve damage, and amputations.
The most common type of honey sold today is raw honey because it is considered healthier than processed honey. Raw honey has been found to contain fewer pesticides and antibiotics than pasteurized honey.
But some studies show that honey does not necessarily help people with Type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar better. However, raw honey has been found to increase insulin levels and decrease hyperglycemia.
This effect is thought to be due to the presence of certain compounds called phenolic acids. These compounds are believed to slow down digestion, thus allowing the body to absorb nutrients more efficiently.
11. Protection Against Cancer
Honey has been used since ancient times as a remedy for many diseases including diabetes, cough, fever, inflammation, wounds, infection, and even cancer. Honey is rich in antioxidants such as phenolic compounds, flavonoids, vitamins A, C, E, beta carotene, minerals, and enzymes.
These components present in honey provide it with a wide range of biological activities such as antimicrobial, antiviral, anticancer, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, immunostimulant, wound healing, blood coagulation, hypoglycemic, lipid-lowering, cholesterol reduction, and antioxidant effects.
The use of honey as a cancer treatment began in the early 1980s in Japan where it was found to be effective in treating patients suffering from oral leukoplakia(11), a potentially malignant lesion.
In 1990, a study conducted on mice showed that honey had an inhibitory effect on tumor growth. Further studies carried out on rats treated with different concentrations of honey demonstrated that it could reduce the number of colonic adenocarcinomas, while another study revealed that honey inhibited the growth of human breast cancer cells.
In addition, honey has also shown promising results when tested against other types of cancers. For example, honey was reported to have an inhibitory effect on prostate cancer cell lines and lung cancer cell lines. It was also found to inhibit the proliferation of leukemia cells.
Although there are several reports showing the potential benefits of honey in preventing or treating various forms of cancer, its mechanism of action remains unclear. However, one possible explanation may be related to the presence of hydrogen peroxide which is produced by honey during enzymatic reactions.
Hydrogen peroxide can induce apoptosis in cancer cells through the activation of caspases.
Another possibility is that honey contains high levels of glucose which can stimulate insulin secretion and increase insulin sensitivity. Insulin receptors are expressed in most cancer cells and they play an important role in regulating cellular metabolism and inhibiting cell proliferation.
Therefore, honey’s ability to activate these receptors might explain why honey inhibits the growth of cancer cells(12).
Furthermore, honey has been shown to contain certain bioactive substances such as polyphenols, flavonoids, and vitamin C which possess antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are known to prevent DNA damage and mutations that are associated with carcinogenesis.
12. Natural Immune Booster
The body produces antibodies when it encounters foreign substances such as bacteria, viruses, toxins, and allergens. Antibodies protect the body by neutralizing the substance and preventing it from entering into the bloodstream.
In addition, antibodies play important roles in the process of inflammation, infection, autoimmune disease, transplant rejection, allergies, asthma, and cancer.
Antibody production is stimulated by exposure to certain types of food, including honey.
A study(13) conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine found that honey stimulates antibody production in both healthy people and those suffering from HIV/AIDS.
In another study(14) published in the Journal of Immunology, researchers reported that oral consumption of honey increases TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, and IL-6 levels in patients with AIDS.
They concluded that honey could be used as a treatment for immunodeficiency diseases.
13. Provide Anti-Inflammatory Benefit
Inflammatory responses are generally considered to be beneficial because they help fight off infections. However, there are some situations where inflammation can become harmful.
For example, during periods of acute illness, such as colds and flu, our immune system goes into overdrive and produces large amounts of cytokines – chemical messengers that trigger inflammation. Cytokine production helps us fight off bacterial and viral invaders, but it can also cause damage to healthy tissue in the body.
Research(15) suggests that honey contains substances that inhibit the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, thereby helping to reduce symptoms associated with inflamed tissues. This makes honey a useful remedy for treating conditions like eczema, asthma, allergies, and even diarrhea.
14. Anti Microbial Properties
Honey has been used since ancient times as a natural remedy for wounds and infections.
In fact, it was one of the earliest documented remedies for wound care. Honey is a potent natural antibacterial agent, and research over the years has shown that honey has many health benefits beyond just being a sweet treat.
The bactericidal effect of honey is extensively researched.
A study published(16) in 2005 found that honey had strong antibacterial effects on both gram-positive and negative bacteria. Another study(17) in 2008 showed that honey could kill up to 90% of E. coli within 30 minutes. These studies show how powerful honey really is.
In addition to killing germs, honey has been proven to heal minor cuts and burns faster than traditional methods. This is because honey contains hydrogen peroxide, which is a powerful oxidizing agent that helps break down dead tissue cells.
15. Treats Gastrointestinal Disorders
Honey is one of the oldest natural remedies known to mankind. It is used to treat many different ailments including cough, cold, sore throat, fever, diarrhea, dysentery, ulcers, wounds, burns, skin infections, toothaches, and even cancer.
In addition to being a great remedy for digestive problems, it has been proven to boost immunity and prevent infection.
Prebiotics are food ingredients that feed beneficial bacteria in our intestines. They are found naturally in foods such as onions, garlic, bananas, oats, legumes, and whole grains. When we consume prebiotics, they become part of our diet and support the growth of friendly bacteria in our intestinal tract. These helpful bacteria play a role in digestion, immune function, and overall well-being.
Natural honey contains prebiotics(18). This makes it an excellent source of probiotics. Probiotics are live microorganisms that aid in maintaining healthy body functions. They are responsible for the proper functioning of the digestive system, immune system, and reproductive organs.
16. Help In Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or heartburn, is a common problem affecting millions of people worldwide.
GERD occurs when stomach contents are regurgitated into the esophagus. This happens because of improper functioning of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). As a result, food particles move back up the esophagus toward the mouth.
In addition to causing discomfort, GERD can lead to complications such as ulcers and Barrett’s esophagus.
Honey is an effective treatment for GERD (19).
A recent study showed that honey could effectively treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) patients. Researchers found that honey stimulated tissue growth and reduced the risk of acid reflux. Furthermore, honey improved the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease.
17. Treating Constipation and Diarrhea
Constipation and diarrhea are both very common gastrointestinal disorders. They often occur together and can cause discomfort and pain. Both conditions can be caused by diet, lifestyle, stress, medications, and medical problems.
In addition, some people have difficulty passing stools because of a change in bowel habits. Most cases of constipation and diarrhea resolve without treatment.
However, there are many treatments for constipation and diarrhea. These include dietary changes, exercise, medication, and surgery.
Honey has been shown to improve both constipation and diarrhea(20). A study published in the Journal of Food Science found that honey improved constipation in rats. Another study showed that honey helped treat diarrhea in mice.
There are several possible reasons why honey works to relieve constipation and diarrhea. One theory suggests that honey acts like fiber in the digestive tract. Another possibility is that it increases fluid absorption into the colon. Still another idea is that it stimulates peristalsis, the movement of food through the intestines.
18. Promotes Hair Growth
Honey contains natural anti-bacterial properties and it is known to promote growth. This makes honey one of the best treatments for dandruff and scalp problems. You can use honey directly on your scalp or mix it with other products like shampoo, conditioner, etc.
Side Effects of Honey
1. Can increase your blood sugar level
Honey contains fructose, glucose, sucrose and protein. Fructose is a type of sugar that is found naturally in fruits like apples, pears and peaches. Glucose is the main source of energy in our body while sucrose is a combination of glucose and fructose. Protein is one of the primary building blocks of the human body.
When we eat foods containing high amount of sugars, it increases the amount of insulin in our body. Insulin helps us store the excess calories into our fat cells. When there is a surplus of insulin in our system, it causes the release of glucose from our liver. This leads to an increased concentration of glucose in our bloodstream.
If you are diabetic, you know how important it is to keep your blood sugar under control. You must monitor your blood sugar regularly. Too much sugar in your bloodstream can lead to serious health problems(21) such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and blindness.
Eat honey moderately, and if you are on diabetic medication, eat honey after consulting with your doctor.
2. Honey can lower blood pressure
Honey has been used for centuries to treat coughs and colds, especially during flu season. But did you know honey can also help reduce high blood pressure?
A study(22) published in the journal Hypertension found that honey significantly drop systolic blood pressure. Researchers believe this could be because honey contains antioxidants and minerals such as potassium and magnesium. These nutrients work together to regulate fluid balance within cells, helping keep blood pressure stable.
However, consuming too much honey can cause low blood pressure(23) — something that can lead to dizziness, fainting, and even a heart attack. To avoid this, eat honey in moderation and if you take blood pressure medication, have a word with your doctor before taking honey.
3. May Cause Allergies
Honey allergies are rarely reported, but people with bee stings often experience hives. In some cases, individuals develop an allergy to honey itself.
A study published in JAMA Dermatology found that nearly 2% of patients had developed such a reaction. Another study published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy found that 0.7% of participants experienced an allergy to honey.
Individuals allergic to pollen could be at risk of developing a honey allergy(24). The Journal of Immunological Methods found that 9 out of 10 children with seasonal rhinitis tested positive for IgE antibodies against honey.
People with a history of food allergies are at greater risk of developing a honey intolerance(25).
A person with a known sensitivity to propolis might want to avoid consuming honey altogether. However, if you do eat it, you should try to consume less than half a teaspoon per day. If you notice any symptoms, stop eating honey immediately and consult your doctor.
4. May Cause Infant Botulism
Honey should not be given to infants less than a year old as it may cause infant botulism.
Infant botulism occurs due to the ingestion of spores of Clostridium botulinum(26), which produce a neurotoxin called botulinum toxin. Most cases of infant botulism occur within six weeks of birth. However, it is possible for older children and adults to develop infant botulism too. In fact, some research suggests that the incidence of infant botulism is increasing.
The symptoms of infant botulism include drooling, poor feeding, vomiting, constipation, and drowsiness. Some babies show signs of weakness and irritability. They may also experience difficulty breathing. In some cases, it can even lead to death.
5. May Cause Diarrhea
Honey contains fructose in excess of the amount of glucose it contains. Fructose is sweeter than glucose, so honey is often used as a sweetener. However, fructose can cause diarrhea because it doesn’t easily pass through the small intestine into the bloodstream(27). In fact, it causes diarrhea in people who don’t absorb it well.
The best way to prevent diarrhea caused by honey is to avoid eating too much of it. If you are concerned about sugar intake, try mixing honey with water to dilute its sweetness. You can also eat a piece of fruit along with it. Fruit juices contain large amounts of fructose, while whole fruits contain both fructose and glucose.
6. May Cause Food Poisoning
Honey naturally contains microbes. These include bacteria, yeasts, and molds, all of which come from dust, dirt, and pollen in the environment. Because honey has antimicrobial properties—it kills germs like E. coli, salmonella, and listeria—these microbes are usually not a problem.
However, some people do become ill when eating honey because of secondary contaminants(28). These are bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites that enter honey during production, packaging, transportation, storage, and handling.
Secondary contamination can occur in several ways. For example, bees collect pollen in their hives, and sometimes this pollen gets into the honey. When the bee dies, the dead body releases microorganisms into the hive.
If the hive is not cleaned properly, these microorganisms can contaminate the honey. In addition, contaminated equipment used in the process of making honey can lead to microbial growth.
In fact, honey has been known to cause food poisoning. Some cases have resulted from eating raw honey(29). Others have occurred after consuming honey that had been stored improperly.
Symptoms of illness due to honey consumption include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, fever, joint pain, muscle aches, and tiredness. Most people recover within 48 hours, but serious complications such as kidney failure, liver damage, and even death have been reported.
7. May Promote Tooth Decay
Honey contains sugar and is sticky. This may lead to tooth enamel erosion(30) and cavities over time. Children are especially vulnerable to this problem because they often use pacifiers dipped into honey. They may develop tooth decay if they don’t brush thoroughly after eating honey.
Honey may contain enzymes that break down proteins within plaque and prevent it from hardening. When the plaque does form, it becomes acidic and encourages the growth of harmful bacteria. These bacteria can cause tooth decay.
Research is limited regarding how much honey can affect teeth, but some studies suggest that natural sugars like those found in honey may have similar cavity-producing effects as refined sugar. More research is needed to determine whether honey poses a risk to dental health.
8. May Contribute to Weight Gain
Honey contains a lot of sugar and calories. One teaspoon of honey packs about 64 calories(31), which is equivalent to 21 grams of sugar. This amount is equal to roughly three teaspoons of granulated white sugar. Even though it doesn’t sound like much, eating just one serving per day can add up over time, causing you to pack on pounds.
While some people believe that honey is healthier than sugar because it’s “natural,” there’s actually no evidence that supports this claim. In fact, honey is typically processed in ways that preserve the sweetness while reducing its nutritional value. And the processing isn’t limited to just honey; most foods we eat contain additives that aren’t necessarily healthy.
Eating too much of anything causes us to feel hungry again soon after consuming it. When you’re feeling hungry, you tend to reach for food that satisfies those cravings.
Unfortunately, many foods high in sugar and calories don’t satisfy our appetite as well as less sugary options do. So, while honey might taste good, it probably won’t help you lose weight.
9. High in Sugar
Honey is one of nature’s most natural sweets. But while it’s often touted as a healthy alternative to refined sugars, there are some downsides to consuming too much of the sticky stuff.
In fact, research suggests that excessive consumption of honey may be linked to obesity and other health problems.
A study published earlier this year found that people who ate more than three teaspoons of honey per day had a greater chance of being overweight or obese compared to those who didn’t eat any honey.
Another study showed that eating just four tablespoons of honey daily could increase blood pressure levels by nearly 10 points.
The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to avoid honey altogether. Instead, try replacing sugary foods and drinks with healthier options like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, and legumes. You’ll still enjoy the sweetness of honey without worrying about how it affects your waistline.
10. Honey And Drug Interactions
As mentioned above, honey has been used medicinally since ancient times. It was even listed in the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) until 1906. However, honey shouldn’t be taken internally unless prescribed by a doctor.
Honey can interact with certain medications(32), potentially leading to serious side effects.
For example, if you take an antibiotic such as amoxicillin, you should not consume honey. Amoxicillin works by inhibiting bacterial growth, so taking honey along with the medication could cause bacteria to grow back faster than usual. If you’re already taking antibiotics, talk to your doctor before adding honey to your diet.
Another drug that interacts with honey is warfarin(33) (Coumadin). Warfarin is commonly prescribed to treat heart conditions such as atrial fibrillation and deep vein thrombosis. Because warfarin inhibits vitamin K production, taking honey could interfere with the body’s ability to properly clot. This could lead to excessive bleeding, which is dangerous when treating these types of medical issues.
If you’re currently on warfarin therapy, ask your doctor whether you can safely add honey to your diet. If he says yes, then go ahead and start enjoying the benefits of honey! Just make sure to keep track of what you’re eating and drink, especially if you’re planning on using honey as a treatment for a medical condition.
Questions And Answers
1. Why Raw Honey Turns To Sugar And How To Fix It
Raw honey can crystallize after a few weeks of storage. If you want to enjoy the sweet treat, don’t worry—it’s still just fine to consume. But if you’re looking to preserve some of that honey for later, you’ll need to know how to “fix” it.
Crystallization happens when the moisture level drops too low inside the jar. When the honey cools down, the moisture evaporates out of the air and into the honey, causing it to solidify. So what do you do about it? You need to raise the humidity levels inside the jar back up.
The easiest way to do this is to boil a pot of water and place the honey jar inside. Leave it there for about 10 minutes, and then remove the jar. Your honey should now be ready to go.
2. How Honey Is Used In Brewing
Honey is used in brewing because it contains enzymes that help break down starches into sugars. Some beers are naturally sweeter than others, but adding honey gives you control over how much sugar goes into the brew.
The earliest evidence of honey being used to ferment drinks dates back to about 9000 BCE, according to a study published in January 2018. Archaeologists discovered ancient potsherds containing traces of alcohol, yeast, barley, and honey dating back to the Neolithic period. Researchers believe the pots were used to store wine, and the honey added sweetness.
Today, brewers use honey to give a beer a different taste, like caramelized malt or citrus notes. Brewers also use honey to make mead, which lacks bitterness and doesn’t contain hops. Mead is typically served cold, while beer is usually served warm.
3. How Long Does Honey Last
Honey has an amazing shelf life, even though it contains bacteria. In fact, scientists discovered some ancient pots of honey in Egypt that were thousands of years ago and still safe to eat. But how does honey keep so well?
Its low moisture, strong acids, and antibacterial compounds make honey almost impossible to spoil as soon as you seal it up. So, how do you know when it’s time to throw away that half-eaten slice of toast covered in sticky honey?
The answer lies in the type of honey you buy. Raw honey is much different than pasteurized honey. Pasteurization kills off most of the good stuff. Raw honey is full of antioxidants and enzymes that help fight off harmful microorganisms.
In addition, raw honey doesn’t contain preservatives. This makes it almost impossible to spoil. And because it hasn’t been heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit, it won’t go rancid very quickly either.
If you’re buying honey in bulk, store it in airtight containers in the refrigerator. Otherwise, just stick it in your cupboard. A tightly closed jar in a cool, dark pantry will keep it for months.
4. How Does Honey Help Clear Up Pimples?
While many people use honey as a remedy for sore throats, coughs, and cold sores, it is also known for its ability to heal wounds. For example, honey is often applied directly to burn victims to prevent infection. When applied to open wounds, it helps promote blood flow and speed wound healing. Honey also works well against bacterial infections because it kills off harmful microbes.
In addition to helping heal wounds, honey is a potent anti-inflammatory agent that relieves pain and reduces swelling. Because of this, it can be used to relieve the discomfort associated with acne. To apply honey to acne, mix equal parts honey and water, and gently massage into affected areas twice daily. You can even try mixing honey with lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or aloe vera gel for added benefits.
You might notice that honey doesn’t seem to work immediately. However, it does take several weeks for honey to begin working effectively. If you want immediate relief, you’ll probably need to combine it with another treatment like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.
5. Is honey safe?
Honey is safe for most people. However, there are some types of honey that you shouldn’t eat because it could cause serious problems. For example, Rhododendron honey is poisonous and can even kill you.
The FDA says that honey is generally considered safe for adults. But, children under 12 months old and pregnant women should avoid eating honey. They say that honey contains high levels of fructose and glucose, which can lead to tooth decay, obesity, diabetes, and kidney stones.
6. Can honey be used during pregnancy?
Honey is generally considered safe for human consumption.
However, there are some types of honey that contain toxins that could pose serious risks to pregnant women and children. These include rhododendron honey(34), which has azadirachtin, a substance that can cause skin irritation, nausea, and vomiting.
The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate honey. Consumers should always read labels carefully and check with their doctor before consuming honey.
7. Can honey be used during breastfeeding?
Honey is generally considered safe for almost everyone, but there are some types of honey that pose a risk to pregnant women and newborn babies. These include honey made from rhododendrons, which contain high levels of azadirachtin, a chemical compound found in the plant’s leaves.
Azadirachtin interferes with the production of estrogen(35), which is essential for fetal development. This makes it unsafe for nursing mothers.
Some brands of honey are sold with no labeling or certification. Always look closely at the packaging to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into. If you want to use honey while breastfeeding, stick to store-bought varieties like Manuka, acacia, chestnut, clover, eucalyptus, lavender, orange blossom, tupelo, and wildflower. Avoid raw honey because it contains bacteria that could harm your baby.
8. Is there any allergy related to honey?
Honey contains some substances that could cause allergies, such as propolis, enzymes, and amino acids. Propolis is a sticky substance collected by bees from tree buds and resins. It protects the hive against bacteria and fungi, and it helps bees build up their immune system. Enzymes found in honey help break down carbohydrates into simple sugars. Amino acids are essential nutrients that provide energy to cells, and they are present in small amounts in honey.
People who are allergic to bee stings should avoid eating honey because it could increase the risk of anaphylaxis. However, people who are allergic to bee venom should not eat honey because it does not contain enough pollen to trigger a severe allergic reaction. For people who are allergic to peanuts or shellfish, honey is safe.
This article has been backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Although best efforts have been made to ensure the quality and correctness of the article, readers are advised to do their own research and make an informed decision. For any guidance, consult your doctor.
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Bharat Sharma is a Delhi-based writer who loves reading and writing research-based topics revolving around health, fitness, and nutrition. His love for writing started during his teenage and continues till date. After his graduation, he worked for GE Money, and IBM, but later found his true love i.e. blogging.