Honey has between 60 and 460 mg of antioxidants per 100g. It can increase serum antioxidant capacity by 7%, as it has more than 200 bioactive polyphenol compounds!
Nutritional value of honey
Honey is mainly sugar. It has negligible amounts of fiber or protein, while it contains no fat.
A tbsp of honey has about 64 calories. Consuming moderate amounts of honey is good for weight loss and health, as it’s high in antioxidants. These compounds fight free radicals and decrease the dangerous oxidative stress.
Honey contains about 180 different compounds, including trace elements, minerals, vitamins, and enzymes.
Antioxidant content of honey
Honey is beneficial for health due to its high antioxidant content. It’s particularly rich in phenolic and flavonoid compounds.
Some antioxidants naturally present in honey are:
- caffeic acid
- protocatechuic acid
- p-hydroxybenzoic acid
- p-coumaric acid
- vanillic acid.
The antioxidant content of honey varies significantly, though. It depends on the floral source, region and environmental conditions. The concentrations of phenolic compounds range from 60 to 460 mg per 100g.
As a rule of thumb, the antioxidant content (mcg per tablespoon) of many honey varieties is:
- apigenin 6.3 mcg
- isorhamnetin 13 mcg
- kaempferol 13 mcg
- luteolin 60 mcg
- quercetin 65 mcg
- myricetin 75 mcg
Moreover, honey has several antioxidant enzymes, such as catalase and glucose oxidase!
Most noteworthy, honey can increase serum antioxidant capacity by 7%.
Antioxidants in honey may treat diseases
The great antioxidant profile of honey makes it a functional food with many health benefits.
Antioxidants protect the body from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can lead to the mutation of cellular DNA, and may play a role in many chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, aging, gastritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and several ulcers and gastrointestinal disorders!
Also, moderate honey consumption may improve metabolic disorders associated with diabetes. It could help reduce hepatic transaminases (for better liver function), triglycerides, and HbA1c levels (average blood glucose levels for the last 2-3 months).
Most noteworthy, honey may be a natural treatment for cardiovascular disease due to its antioxidant, antiplatelet, and vasorelaxant properties! For instance:
- quercetin in honey reduces the risk of stroke and coronary heart disease. It also controls blood pressure.
- chrysin modulates vascular function by increasing the bioavailability of nitric oxide, inhibits the development of atherosclerosis by reducing vascular inflammation, and prevents the formation of a thrombus.
- kaempferol increases endothelial nitric oxide activity by stimulating arterial relaxation. It also decreases LDL-cholesterol levels.
- luteolin prevents cardiac fibrosis and hypertrophy. Also, it reduces high blood pressure and oxidative stress.
- pinocembrin has various antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. It may help reduce cardiac arrhythmia.
Also, antioxidants in honey have antitumor properties. In fact, honey may have beneficial effects against certain types of cancer, such as colon, prostate, and breast cancer!
Furthermore, honey has potent antibacterial properties. Its compounds have protective effects against many bacterial pathogens, including Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus lentus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Salmonella typhi, Salmonella typhimuriumand, and Escherichia coli.
Honey has antiviral properties as well. It helps in the treatment of labial and genital herpes, which are common viral diseases. Furthermore, honey may be beneficial against hepatitis. Especially, during the early phase of hepatitis B infection. Moreover, certain honey compounds may inhibit HIV replication!
You could use honey with red wine to treat the flu and common cold. This combination along with herbs and spices in many traditional home remedies can give a boost to your immune response!
How much honey should I eat a day?
Honey is mainly sugars. So, we should consume reasonable amounts. A tbsp of honey a day is enough for healthy people. Athletes and people who have high energy needs could eat more.
You can use honey instead of other unhealthy sweeteners. For instance, honey can be a great ingredient in pancakes or oatmeal. Especially when consumed in the morning.
You’ll find a wide variety of organic honey brands on iHerb.
Other common foods high in antioxidants
Antioxidants are natural chemical substances that are mainly found in plants. Fruits, vegetables, spices, and herbs are the best dietary sources of antioxidants. Therefore, you should follow a plant-based diet in order to boost your daily antioxidant intake!