Health Benefits of Honey and How to Use It

Winnie the Pooh might have been on to something. While honey is known as a natural means to sweeten foods, it may have benefits for your body, besides, says register dietician Mira Ilic, MS, RDN, LD .Advertising Policy
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How honey is made

Honey is a liquid sweetening that bees make. After they collect ambrosia from flowers, they take it second to the hive and regurgitate it. then, the early bees chew it until it becomes honey. The bees deposit the beloved into bantam, bendable repositing units called honeycombs. They fan it with their wings to dry it out. This summons makes it stickier .
“ Honey gets its bouquet from its chemical makeup, ” Ilic says. “ It ’ randomness made improving of two simple sugars called glucose and fructose, along with some minerals. ”

Types of honey

The U.S. boasts more than 300 different types of honey. You can buy it :

  • Raw: Raw honey comes straight from the hive. “Raw honey is the least processed and probably has the most antioxidants,” Ilic says. Despite its raw status, it’s considered safe to eat except for children younger than 1, who should avoid all honey.
  • Pasteurized: Pasteurized honey has been processed to remove imperfections and improve its shelf life. “It can also be spiked with added corn syrup or other sweeteners,” Ilic notes. “Not all honey sold in the stores is the same even though it all starts naturally in the hive.”

Why is some honey light and others dark?

Whether honey is light or dark in tinge depends on which kind of plant the bees who made it took the nectar from. “ For example, iniquity buckwheat yields iniquity beloved, ” says Ilic. “ But nutritionally, there ’ s evidence that benighted honey has less water and more antioxidants than light honey. ”
Honey has then many different tastes you can enjoy compared to plain carbohydrate, she adds. “ It can be sweeter or more bitter, depending on the bloom source. ”

Light honey varieties

light honey tends to be mild in season. Varieties include :

  • Acacia honey: It has floral scents and sweetness but doesn’t change the taste of what you put it in, such as tea and oatmeal, Ilic says.
  • Clover honey: This honey is common in the U.S. “It has a floral, sweet taste and a bit of a sour aftertaste,” says Ilic. “It’s good for baking, sauces and dressings.”

Dark honey varieties

Dark honeys are known for their stronger flavors. Examples include :

  • Buckwheat honey: “This full-flavored honey can be used in marinades,” says Ilic.
  • Manuka honey: Manuka honey comes from the nectar and pollen of the Manuka bush in New Zealand. “Studies have shown it contains antioxidants, along with antibacterial and antifungal properties. It’s also expensive,” adds Ilic. It’s traditionally used topically to treat burns, cuts and sores.

Is crystallized honey bad?

Store beloved in a cool placement away from sunlight. But sometimes, even in the perfect smudge, beloved can crystallize and solidify. “ Honey with a higher ratio of glucose versus fructose crystallizes sooner, ” Ilic explains. “ Glucose may besides attach to the little particles of honeycomb and pollen in bleak honey and is more probable to crystallize as a leave. ”
But crystallize honey is still condom to eat : Ilic recommends using it as a spread, like butter. You can besides re-liquefy it by putting the container in a ardent water bath.

Honey’s health benefits

Honey contains antioxidants, minerals, enzymes that have many potential health benefits. There ’ randomness besides tell that honey can :

  • Soothe coughs: The World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Academy of Pediatrics both endorse honey as a natural cough remedy.  
  • Treat wounds and burns: Pharmaceutical-grade manuka honey dressings have been used in clinical settings to treat burns and pressure ulcers.

“ many other claims have been made about the health benefits of honey – some based on identical minor studies, others overstated and based on blend study results, ” Ilic says. “ extra studies are needed. ”

How to add honey to your diet

While beloved has health qualities that other sugars lone dream of, Ilic says it ’ s even an add sugar — and eating excessively much of it can wreak havoc on your health. The american english Heart Association recommends :

  • Women: Consume no more than 6 teaspoons daily of added sugars (100 calories).
  • Men: Consume no more than 9 teaspoons daily of added sugars (150 calories).

Those limits include all sources of add carbohydrate in your diet, so use honey in temperance to avoid exceeding the limits, says Ilic. “ Try sweetening complain yogurt with a light drizzle of beloved and add your own fruit, rather of eating flavored yogurt with besides much added sugar. ” You could besides use honey in sauces and marinades or as a skin disguise .
If you want to use honey medicinally, Ilic says talk with your health care professional first .

How to choose honey

Ilic ’ s first gratuity ? The best beloved doesn ’ t come in a cunning little plastic chemise have a bun in the oven. That kind of honey is processed and less beneficial than its counterparts.

“ The absolved the honey, the more march it is. Raw beloved seems to be the better choice, ” she says. ” It ’ s likely to have some pollen and more enzymes because it ’ s not treated with heat. Pollen may have beneficial properties. But pollen does make honey attend dazed. ”
If you ’ ra bribe beloved from a local source, she besides recommends asking :

  • Where did the honey come from?
  • Did the seller produce it?
  • What can they tell you about it?

Ilic adds that an “ constituent ” label doesn ’ thyroxine mechanically mean the honey is healthier or better quality. “ Bees sometimes fly a few miles past their pesticide- and herbicide-free property to ones with flowers that aren ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate. And even constituent honey may be ultra-pasteurized. ”

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