Is honey rich in antioxidants?

Honey has a particularly high antioxidant content. It could help treat or prevent many chronic inflammatory diseases!

Nutritional value of honey

Honey consists mainly of sugars. It has negligible amounts of fiber or protein, while it contains no fat.

Furthermore, honey contains about 180 different compounds, including trace elements, minerals, vitamins, and enzymes.

A tbsp of honey has about 64 calories. Consuming moderate amounts of honey is good for losing weight and health, as it’s an excellent dietary source of antioxidants. These compounds fight free radicals and decrease the dangerous oxidative stress.

Antioxidant content of honey

Honey is beneficial for health due to its high antioxidant content. It’s particularly rich in phenolic and flavonoid compounds.

In fact, more than 200 polyphenol compounds have been identified in various honey varieties. These bioactive polyphenol compounds are responsible for the color, aroma, and taste of honey.[1]

Some antioxidants naturally present in honey are quercetin, kaempferol, apigenin, caffeic acid, acaetin, galangin, protocatechuic acid, p-hydroxybenzoic acid, p-coumaric acid, and vanillic acid.[2,3]

The antioxidant content of honey varies significantly, though. It depends on the floral source, region and environmental conditions. The concentration of phenolic compounds ranges from 60 to 460 mg per 100g.

As a rule of thumb, the antioxidant content of many honey varieties is: apigenin (about 6.3 mcg per tbsp), isorhamnetin (13 mcg), kaempferol 13 mcg), luteolin (60 mcg), quercetin (65 mcg), and 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%.[4]

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 the damaging effects of 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, mainly 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, and 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 the HIV replication!

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 calorie needs could eat more.

You’ll find a wide variety of organic honey brands on iHerb. Use our affiliate link to get a $5 discount (new customers), or a 5% discount (existing iHerb customers) on your order.

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 antioxidant intake!