Diana Nelson

The Unknown Benefits of Honey

Honey is one of the most prized medicinal remedies used since ancient times and is known as a sweet secret to longevity.


Honey is excellent at preserving vitamins. This is not always the case with fruit and vegetables, which is why honey retains its healing properties for many years.

This wonderful substance has been highly respected since antiquity. In ancient Egypt, for example, it was considered the food of the pharaohs, was the equivalent of money, and was also used for embalming the dead and making offerings to the gods. Even Napoleon himself was so impressed by the properties of honey that he made the honey bee his personal emblem.

That’s enough of the history! Let’s lift the veil of honey secrets.

Honey – Nutrition facts

Honey has a very high energy value, a very small amount of protein and no fat. Also, honey is high in carbs, sugar content, has almost no fibre and a comparatively high glycemic index.


The positives of honey

Honey is a product with an excellent number of benefits for your health. It is a generous gift of nature.

1May improve heart health

Honey can help lower blood pressure, regulate the heartbeat and prevent healthy cell death – all of which can improve heart function and health.

Honey protects the heart by improving lipid metabolism, and antioxidant activity, modulating blood pressure, restoring heart rhythm, reducing myocardial infarction area, promoting anti-ageing properties and attenuating cellular apoptosis.

2Rich in antioxidants

High-quality honey – minimally processed, unheated and fresh – contains many important bioactive plant compounds and antioxidants such as flavonoids and phenolic acids. Thanks to its composition honey is effective in counteracting microbial infection and can inhibit malignant cell proliferation, protects the body from ageing and wear and tear, and strengthens the immune system

3Improves blood sugar regulation

Researchers have found that honey can increase levels of adiponectin, a hormone that reduces inflammation and improves blood sugar regulation. Honey protects against metabolic syndrome and has anti-fat, anti-diabetic, hypolipidemic and hypotensive effects. The mechanisms underlying these effects includes it’s glycaemic index, which limits weight gain and fat accumulation, improves insulin insensitivity and lowers blood glucose levels.

4Boosts your memory

Honey has many health benefits, one of which is improving memory and concentration. Consuming honey prevents metabolic stress and helps to calm the brain, which contributes to better memory in the long term. The natural antioxidants and healing properties of honey help to strengthen the brain’s cholinergic system, improve blood circulation and die off the cells that cause memory loss.

5Aids with gum diseases

The antibacterial and infection-healing properties of honey help in the treatment and healing of wounds. Dental and gum diseases such as gingivitis, bleeding and plaque can be largely cured with regular consumption of honey. Honey is known to secrete antiseptic hydrogen peroxide, which acts as an antimicrobial agent that prevents the growth of bacteria.

6Helps you to sleep

If you have a problem falling asleep, you should try a drink of warm milk and honey just before you sleep. For centuries, people have used this drink to help them sleep. Also, this beverage is fairly easy to make. All you need is to add 1 tablespoon of honey into a glass of hot milk or add an identical amount of honey to camomile tea. Now your sleep has a good chance to improve.

7It is easy to add to your diet and substitute refined sugar

To get a small portion of the antioxidants from honey, you can use it in the same way you would normally use sugar. It is great for sweetening plain yoghurt, coffee or tea. You can also use it in cooking and baking.

The downsides of honey

The consumption of honey and other bee products can cause some negative effects on the body.

High sugar content

Honey is a carbohydrate consisting of sugar, specifically fructose and glucose. There are small amounts of other sugars, such as maltose, sucrose, and lactose but fructose is the primary sugar, comprising about 38-45% of the total sugar content. Glucose makes up about 30-45%. It is important to mention that refined or commercial honey we usually buy in groceries stores has significantly higher sugar content than unrefined honey.

Sugar content in different sweeteners, stats Source:

Due to its high sugar content honey has almost the same effect on blood glucose levels as pure sugar. This is particularly problematic for people with diabetes and insulin resistance. Too much honey can lead to problems with blood sugar levels also in healthy people, increasing the risk of weight gain, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

It’s easy to purchase a fake

It is always worth remembering that it’s very easy to buy low-quality honey in the shop. The ones in jars on shop shelves are already pasteurised or refined, which means they have been heated at very high temperatures. During the pasteurization process, honey is often filtered, removing the natural nutrients from it.

Overeating can create a problem for the kidneys and pancreas

Overeating honey can take a heavy toll on the kidneys and pancreas due to the high content of fast carbohydrates in bee honey.

Bad idea to give young children

Remember that you should not give honey to babies under 1 year old because of the risk of infection with Clostridium botulinum or botulism. Honey’s bacterial spores can cause this infection. These cases are rare but potentially life-threatening.

The recommended amount of honey consumption for adults should have no more than 30 g of honey a day (roughly equivalent to 7 sugar cubes). Children aged 7 to 10 should have no more than 24 g of honey a day.

If your child is over 1 old and has been prescribed honey, you should also be aware of other side effects such as insomnia, hyperactivity and nervousness.

Honey. Experiment by Healthypedia

Anna is Healthypedia’s helper and diligent glucose monitoring volunteer. She has a family history of metabolic issues, diabetes specifically, and she decided to find out what foods and dishes are bad and good for her. Anna uses continuous glucose monitor and the app which shows how the food affects her blood glucose, and displays it in the meal score from 1 (bad) to 10 (good).
Honey Blood Glucose Test Result Nutrition
Blood glucose

I used to sometimes like to add it to tea, but since I don’t really like tea (I’m a coffee drinker by nature) and I drink everything without sugar, honey somehow left the diet. I can’t eat it separately, because it is very sweet, only as an additive to the dish. In fact, the result with honey was very surprising, since it is quite a carbohydrate product. But I guess it’s because the serving was not big enough (a table spoon).

Healthypedia - Anna
Anna Healthypedia’s tester

Fun & Curious facts about honey

  • Technically, honey can “live” forever. It may crystallise and change its colour slightly, but it does not spoil.

  • To make one pound of honey, bees in a colony must visit 2 million flowers, fly more than 55,000 miles, and that would be the life’s work of about 768 bees. It is a ton of work.

  • “Mad honey”, found in the mountains of Nepal, is known for its physiological effects. When consumed in small doses, it can cause dizziness, lightheadedness and euphoria, while when consumed in large doses, it can cause hallucinations, vomiting, loss of consciousness, seizures and, in rare cases, death.

Honey in the Blue Zones

People in the Blue Zones do not eat refined sugar. In most places, they use Honey as a natural healing substance and as a sweet. In Ikaria, Greece, one of the original Blue Zones, many long-livers eat honey at least twice a day to maintain their health.

Let’s sum honey up

Honey will improve your heart health and boost your memory. Improve blood sugar regulation in your body and will help you to sleep well. Honey is a valuable natural product with a wide range of nutritional and healing properties.

Not enough? Here is more from our colleagues

Ever wondered how honey is made? Get the full history below!

Meet the passionate beekeeper Cedar! In this video, he explains how to harvest honey using a flow Hive.

Healthypedia FAQ

It is recommended to consume no more than one small spoonful (10-12 g) of honey a day for a healthy person who does not have weight problems and does not rely on excessive sugars. Honey is a great alternative to sugar, but use it in moderation as it still behaves like sugar in the body.

Choose raw and unfiltered honey. It has not been tampered with, heated, or processed. The National Honey Board defines raw honey as honey that “exists in the beehive or as obtained by extraction.” When you choose unfiltered, you know that the natural parts of honey have stuck around.

Store your honey in an air-tight glass jar located in a cool dry area away from the sun or any heat-producing appliances in your kitchen. When honey is exposed to excessive sunlight or high temperatures, it can darken in colour and lose its aroma and fresh flavour. You should not store honey in the fridge or anywhere in the kitchen where it will be exposed to high temperatures.

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