Vitamins in Honey: Health Benefits of Honey You Need to Know

Are you eating your gold? No?

Well you should definitely try some!

When I say gold, I’m referring to honey; also known as liquid gold!

What alternative to sugar do you use?

I personally prefer honey and after knowing all the benefits it has to offer, I can only suggest you guys make the change too!

Honey, where’s my vitamins?

Honey, also known as “food of the gods”, or “liquid gold” is one of the most nutritious ingredients.

It also has various medicinal properties.

It is given the name “food of the gods”, due to its high nutritional value, and it goes by “liquid gold” due to the effort that goes into making honey; not by us humans, of course, we refer to the bees!

Honey is the product of tireless work by a bevy of bees over a long period of time; it starts with the harvesting of sweet nectar from the flowers and ends with regurgitating and processing it in the beehive.

This viscous amber-colored liquid is used as an alternate, healthier option for a sweetener.

It is not often used in cooking but is consumed directly or as a topping on your favorite dessert.

Honey is the ONLY food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life, including water.

Crystallization of honey is a natural process and does not mean that the honey has gone bad. It results from the formation of monohydrate glucose crystals due to the high sugar saturation levels.

Crystallized honey can still be used since honey stays fresh for many years and does not go bad! [1]

Did you know honey can be used to soothe sore throats?

Yes! No, never heard of that.

Well, it’s true!

Honey has various nutritional and medicinal properties, one of them being the effect on sore throats.

Another very popular medicinal use of honey is on burns and wounds. 

The nutritional properties that come with the consumption of honey help improve heart health, digestive health, as well as oral health. 

All in all, honey seems like a highly versatile beneficial food item!

Vitamins in Honey

Is honey rich in vitamins and minerals?

Yes!

Vitamins and minerals are an important part of our body. 

They support your immune health, brain health, and everything in between.

Hence, they should be a part of your daily diet.

We know vitamins in honey are present in abundance, but, let’s look into their details!

The following are vitamin and mineral facts for 100g of honey according to the USDA [2,3]

Vitamins and Minerals Content in 100g RDA  (% of total RDA)
Vitamin B3 0.20 mg 16 mg (1.25%)
Vitamin B2 0.02 mg 1.3 mg (1.5%)
Vitamin B6 0.024 mg 1.7 mg (1.4%)
Vitamin C 0.5 mg 90 mg (0.5%)
Iron 0.42 mg 18 mg (2.3%)
Manganese 0.08 mg 2.3 mg (3.5%)
Selenium  0.8 mcg 55 mcg (1.45%)
Copper 0.036 mg 0.9 mg (4%)
Zinc 0.22 mg 11 mg (2%)
Potassium 52 mg 3400 mg (1.5%)
Calcium 6 mg 1000 mg (0.6%)
Phosphorus 4 mg 700 mg (0.5%)
Magnesium 2 mg 420 mg (0.4%)
Fluoride 7 mcg 3000 mcg (0.23%)
Sodium 4 mg 2000 mg (0.2%)

 What nutrients are found in honey?

100g of honey consists of 82.1 grams of sugar, 17.1 grams of water, and can provide our body with 304 kcal of energy.

Now that is enriching enough, but we’re sure there must be more to honey than just this.

After all, it is known as the “food for the gods”.

So let’s see if it upholds the title it has been given!

The following are nutrition facts for 100 g of honey according to the USDA [2,3]. 

Nutrients Content in 100g RDA (% of total RDA)
Carbohydrate 82.4 g 130 g (63.3%)
Fiber 0.2 g 30 g (0.6%)
Protein 0.3 g 52 g (0.57%)

Now that wasn’t disappointing at all!

The vitamins in honey are not the only nutrients present.

Honey is indeed nutritious.

More beneficial compounds in honey.

1. Butyric acid [4]

Butyric acid found in honey is well known to support digestive health, reduce inflammation, and lower the risk of diseases.

It also helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

2. Gallic acid [5]

Gallic acid plays the role of an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antineoplastic properties.

It is also known to have therapeutic activities in gastrointestinal, neuropsychological, metabolic, and cardiovascular disorders.

Health Benefits

Studies show that honey has various health benefits.

It has been used for its medicinal property for as long as one can remember.

Most of these benefits are due to the vitamins in honey and the other nutrients present.

However, these benefits are often limited to raw or unpasteurized honey. Commercially bought honey is pasteurized to increase shelf life, and during this process, many beneficial nutrients are lost.

Here we will discuss some health benefits that raw honey has to offer.

1. It fights free radical damage [6]

Free radical damage is often caused due to oxidative stress on the cells.

When free radicals oxidize important components of the cell, those components lose their ability to function, and eventually die.

Free radical damage is associated with aging, inflammatory disorders, and diseases including cancer. 

Consuming foods rich in antioxidants can help protect cells from such damage, and raw honey is packed with powerful antioxidants.

Therefore, honey can help combat the consequences of cell damage.

2. Promotes oral health [7]

The presence of hydrogen peroxide in honey is the key reason for its antimicrobial activity.  

Honey reduces the amount of acid produced in the mouth due to which the bacteria can no longer produce dextran, a component of dental plaque.

Apart from plaque, honey can also fight off other oral diseases like gingivitis, and other periodontal diseases.

3. Improves digestive health [8]

Raw honey is considered a probiotic food. This means that it has the ability to nurture the good bacteria in your gut.

These good bacteria play an important role in human health by supplying essential nutrients, synthesizing vitamin K, and aiding the digestion of cellulose. 

Honey has also been used as a remedy for indigestion and ulcers for years.

Its antibacterial property can combat the H. pylori bacteria, which is known to cause stomach ulcers. 

Apart from the vitamins in honey, it is also rich in various antioxidants and has antibacterial properties that can help maintain your overall health.

How to use honey?

Honey is often used as a sweetener as it is a healthier option in comparison to sugar.

You can add it as a topping on your pancakes, you can have it with a bowl of fruits or oats, you can add it to your beverages, or you can just consume it as is. 

There is no hard and fast rule to this food item.  

You can consume it any way you prefer!

The types of honey you will find in the market are:

  • Natural honey, 
  • Organic honey, 
  • and raw honey.

Although they are known as organic and natural, these kinds of honey are often processed and therefore would have lost a lot of their nutritional benefits.

Therefore, if given the option, always choose raw honey.

This type of honey usually retains all of its nutritional properties and is highly beneficial to our bodies.

How much honey to consume in a day?

An average human with no health conditions can consume around 10 to 12 grams a day.

However, if you are diabetic, or are struggling with certain health conditions, it is always best to consult a doctor regarding your consumption of honey.

What if I consume too much? 

Honey is rich in carbohydrates. Therefore, watching your intake is essential, as it could increase your blood sugar levels.

Other side effects that could follow are:

  • Weight gain
  • Dental problems
  • Stomach issues, and
  • Drop in blood pressure

How to store honey?

Honey should be stored at room temperature, and away from the sunlight.

Since it contains a good amount of sugar, you should also ensure that it is kept away from ants and other insects that it could attract. 

Do not refrigerate your honey as the cool temperature could cause it to form a semi-solid mass.

Sunlight can cause a slight change in the color and taste of your honey, so it is best to store it in a dark place; maybe in your kitchen cabinet!

Wrapping up

Honey is highly nutritious due to the vitamins in honey , the minerals and other macronutrients, and is often only consumed on the side.

It can help your digestive health, oral health, and the number of antioxidants in your body.

Although it has a lot of health benefits, it is essential to watch your intake since it is rich in sugar and carbohydrates, and can cause harmful side effects.

Do you think honey is worth being called the “food of the gods”?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

References

  1. Eteraf-Oskouei, Tahereh, and Moslem Najafi. “Traditional and modern uses of natural honey in human diseases: a review.” Iranian journal of basic medical sciences vol. 16,6 (2013): 731-42. 
  2. USDA. “Honey.” Food Data Central, (2019)
  3. Ajibola, Abdulwahid et al. “Nutraceutical values of natural honey and its contribution to human health and wealth.” Nutrition & metabolism vol. 9 61. (2012)
  4. Załęski, Andrzej et al. “Butyric acid in irritable bowel syndrome.” Przeglad gastroenterologiczny vol. 8,6 (2013): 350-3.
  5. Kahkeshani, Niloofar et al. “Pharmacological effects of gallic acid in health and diseases: A mechanistic review.” Iranian journal of basic medical sciences vol. 22,3 (2019): 225-237.
  6. Erejuwa, Omotayo O et al. “Honey: a novel antioxidant.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 17,4 (2012): 4400-23.
  7. Atwa, Al-Dany A et al. “Effect of honey in preventing gingivitis and dental caries in patients undergoing orthodontic treatment.” The Saudi dental journal vol. 26,3 (2014): 108-14.
  8. Samarghandian, Saeed et al. “Honey and Health: A Review of Recent Clinical Research.” Pharmacognosy research vol. 9,2 (2017): 121-127.
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