Geriatrician, Hospitalist, Patient Advocate, Healthcare Educator

Honey and Its Health Benefits

Photo by Benyamin Bohlouli

September marks National Honey Month bringing the spotlight to all the hard work bees put in to give us HONEY. There are many different types of honey depending on the variety of bees and the flower nectar used. Here is a video on how honey is made (in case you are interested).

There are two types of honey

  • Raw Honey
    • natural
    • honey is filtered to remove small bits of debris, pollen, beeswax, and parts of dead bees
    • not pasteurized and may contain spores of bacteria and should not be given to children who are less than 12 months of age due to risk of it containing clostridium botulinum and causing a food poisoning known as botulism
  • Processed Honey
    • heated and bottled
    • Pasteurization does reduce the number of nutrients and antioxidants though

Raw honey, has long been linked to health benefits

  • Antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory
  • Rich in antioxidants as it contains organic acids and flavonoids
  • Contains Vitamins C, E, B, riboflavin, thiamin, iron, calcium, and selenium
  • Natural sweetener, although it can increase blood sugar level, not as much as refined sugar so need to be careful if you are diabetic
  • Can improve cholesterol, studies show honey can decrease LDL and triglyceride levels and increase HDL
  • Improves memory
  • Manuka honey helps heal wounds
  • Helps in digestion
  • Acts as a natural cough suppressant
  • Soothes sore throat, add it to hot water or tea with lemon
  • Skin-face masks, skin moisturizer, pore cleaner, heals acne and scars, brightens skin complexion, smooths lips
  • Hair-relieves itching, dandruff
  • Improves and promotes sleep

With all these health benefits, it may be worthwhile to reach for the honey instead of sugar in your next cup of tea. Remember honey at the end of the day is a sweetener so you need to be careful of how much you have. The American Heart Association recommends less than 3 tablespoons of sugar per day for men and less than 2 tablespoons of sugar per day for women.