Although honey has only 0.42 mg of iron per 100g, a tbsp of honey a day, as part of a well-balanced diet, may help increase serum iron levels by 20%!
How much iron do we need a day?
The recommended daily intake of iron is 18 mg and 8 mg for women and men, respectively.
Women require much higher doses of iron, as they lose high amounts during the menstruation period. Furthermore, pregnant women require 27 mg of iron a day! Hence, many women may benefit from taking iron supplements. On the other hand, women older than 51 years require only 8 mg of iron.
The human body recycles iron. But, we lose a certain amount of iron every day, which we have to replenish.
You can find a wide variety of iron supplements at unbeatable prices on iHerb.
In any case, you should always consult your healthcare provider before taking any supplement. Getting high dosages of iron for a long time may cause adverse effects.
How much iron in honey?
It’s a common belief that honey is rich in iron. Actually, honey contains small amounts of iron. Honey has 0.42 mg of iron per 100g. A tbsp contains only 0.088 mg of iron. This dose is about 0.5% of the recommended daily intake! Hence, we can’t depend on honey to meet our daily needs.
Honey may raise iron levels
Although honey isn’t particularly rich in iron, it seems to have a huge effect on iron levels. According to a study, serum iron levels increased by 20% when people consumed honey during the day!
Most noteworthy, honey significantly increased the antioxidant status of the body. For instance, although honey has no vitamin A or vitamin C, it increased blood vitamin C concentration by 47% and beta-carotene by 3%!
What’s the best time to consume honey to increase iron levels?
First, as honey is almost 100% sugar, the best time to consume honey is in the morning. The body stores most sugar as muscle glycogen, instead of body fat.
Additionally, antioxidants in honey are more beneficial when consumed at breakfast. They protect us from oxidative stress due to air pollution, sunlight, or smoking.
Also, you could eat honey with other iron-rich foods at breakfast in order to boost serum iron levels in the morning. Common iron-rich foods eaten at breakfast are:
- whole grain bread
- nuts (e.g. almonds)
- avocado or
- fruit marmalade
Actually, there are many plant-based foods high in iron!
Health benefits of iron
Iron is an essential trace element. We have to get it from food. The human body can’t synthesize it.
Iron is vital for good health, as it’s a key component of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein of red blood cells that transfers oxygen from the lungs to the tissues.
Furthermore, iron supports muscle metabolism and healthy connective tissue.
Unfortunately, iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide. In fact, iron deficiency may cause side effects like gastrointestinal disturbances, impaired cognition, weakened immune function, fatigue, and low body temperature. Most noteworthy, iron deficiency during pregnancy increases the risk of premature delivery, and miscarriage.
Health benefits of honey
Honey has potent antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It’s particularly high in phenolic and flavonoid compounds. So, it is believed to play a beneficial role in certain inflammatory diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, arthritis, as well as neurodegenerative diseases.[5,6,7,8]
Furthermore, honey may be beneficial for gastrointestinal tract disorders and gut microbiota, due to its probiotic properties! Healthy gut microbiota has been linked to increased metabolism and a better immune system.
In fact, honey is considered a functional food with therapeutic and preventive properties.