Although honey isn’t a good source of vitamin A, it has powerful antioxidant & anti-inflammatory actions, protecting us from many diseases.
Health benefits of vitamin A
Vitamin A is necessary for many functions in the human body. Above all, it’s involved in good vision. It helps absorb light in the retinal receptors, and it supports the normal functioning of the cornea.
Also, vitamin A is vital for good immune function, reproduction, and in the normal functioning of the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs.
How much vitamin A do we need a day?
The recommended daily intake of vitamin A is 700 mcg RAE for women and 900 mcg RAE for men. Children require lower dosages.
RAE means Retinol Activity Equivalents. Retinol is found mainly in animal-based foods and dietary supplements. Vitamin A from plant-based sources is less bioavailable.
Hence, people who follow a plant-based diet and vegans should consume a wide variety of plant-based foods rich in vitamin A. Sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, kale, pumpkin, red peppers, mangos, papaya, and turnip, beet, and collard greens are particularly rich in carotenoids. Carotenoids are powerful antioxidants and converted into vitamin A by the human body.
Keep in mind that vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. The body stores excess amounts of vitamin A coming from animal-based sources and retinol (or its ester forms) supplements. Thus, extremely high daily doses may lead to toxicity!
On the other hand, eating high amounts of vitamin A from plant-based sources is pretty safe.
Is honey rich in vitamin A?
It’s a common belief that honey is rich in vitamin A. But, honey contains no vitamin A whatsoever.
Foods rich in vitamin A
We have to get vitamin A from other sources. Sweet potatoes, spinach, pumpkin, and carrots are among the richest common foods in vitamin A. They provide 156%, 64%, 54%, and 51% of the daily required dose per serving, respectively!
Health benefits of honey
Honey is particularly rich in phenolic and flavonoid compounds. Thus, it has potent antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. So, it is believed that it might play a beneficial role in certain inflammatory diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, arthritis, as well as neurodegenerative diseases.[3,4,5,6]
Furthermore, honey may be beneficial for gastrointestinal tract disorders and gut microbiota. Honey has probiotic properties! Healthy gut microbiome has been linked to increased metabolism and a better immune system that fights pathogens more effectively.
Hence, honey is considered a functional food with therapeutic and preventive properties.
What’s the best time to consume honey?
Actually, honey is almost 100% sugar. A tbsp has about 17g of sugars and 64 calories!
Hence, the best time to consume honey is in the morning. The body stores most of it as muscle glycogen. In contrast, the body stores more sugar as body fat when we consume it late at night.
Additionally, antioxidants in honey may be more beneficial throughout the day. They protect us from oxidative stress, due to air pollution, sunlight, smoking etc.
So, we would benefit from consuming reasonable amounts of honey, as part of a well-balanced diet. 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.