Nutrition Articles

The Buzz on Honey

The Good-for-You Sweetener

The results of recent research on honey have the nutrition world a-buzzing. Honey has joined the ranks of foods like chocolate, coffee, and eggs—foods once considered sinful that have recently been proven healthy (in moderation, of course). The majority of commonly-used sweeteners, like sugar and corn syrup, are referred to as “empty calories,” because they supply calories but are devoid of vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients. But honey is a sweet exception, as it has been found to contain small amounts of several micronutrients, making it a healthier alternative to those conventional sweeteners.

According to the National Honey Board, the nutrients in honey include niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. And recently, the discovery that honey is rich in antioxidants (substances that protect healthy tissue by destroying cell-damaging free radicals) has secured its place in healthy pantries worldwide. Antioxidants are thought to fight cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and other chronic conditions. In one study at the University of California Davis, research participants consumed about 4 tablespoons of honey daily along with eating their normal diets for one month. Blood tests revealed that this consumption raised the level of antioxidants in the bloodstreams of the participants. Generally, the highest levels of antioxidants come from the darkest colored honey.

Bees use nectar to make all types of honey, but the color and flavor of the honey will vary greatly depending on the type of flower blossoms the nectar came from. Honey can range from a very pale golden color to dark brown, and its flavor can vary just as much. There are over 300 varieties of honey in the United States alone, including alfalfa, avocado, buckwheat, and orange blossom. Generally, the darker the honey is, the bolder its flavor will be.
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About The Author

Liza Barnes Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.

Member Comments

  • Great article! Thanks so much for sharing!! - 11/5/2015 11:21:00 AM
  • Breitsamer Honig Forest Honey, the really dark stuff, is the best. 7 bucks a jar at the Big Lots! - 11/5/2015 10:27:38 AM
  • Great article, and very informative. I'm a new beekeeper and I'm looking for all the information I can learn about the bees, honey, processing, etc. - 11/5/2015 7:01:07 AM
  • Whenever I have moved, I always try to find local honey. Eating it helps me keep my allergies at bay. A sweet way to keep from sneezing :) - 10/8/2015 11:02:04 PM
  • I love honey. I bought some local honey and now I'm taking 1 Tbs per day. Great stuff. - 9/26/2015 8:59:43 PM
    Hello Liza. I believe there are different types of honey that are available. They have different color level of "goldiness "--- some are darker or lighter than the others. But I believe all of them are all very beneficial to human for consumption. Kindly recommend this to your readers, too. Thank you and more articles from you!
    ing_healthy - 7/30/2015 12:36:56 PM
  • As much as I meant my last comment , I have not seen buckwheat honey for sale locally for years . - 6/3/2015 9:06:16 PM
  • CLAY10237
    Honey has been a food hobby for years. The variety of flavors from the variety of sources is endless. But before you get too excited, remember, for all its benefits, it is a simple sugar. - 5/28/2015 11:08:45 PM
  • Strict vegans choose not to use honey, because it comes from bees. It's an animal product. However, it does not involve the killing of bees to get the honey, so vegetarians will use it.

    Also, please give some info on responsible shopping by buying organic honey. Organic honey will be better because the bees are treated more humanely and because the food source used to feed the bees will not be treated with toxic insecticides. Whenever you buy food that is derived from an animal, you owe it to the animals and your conscience to buy organic. - 2/23/2015 6:34:39 PM
  • I have a friend who was one of the "test subjects" for the UC Davis study! They had to drink that honey in a weird fruit punch every day. She said the fruit punch was nasty...but she lost four pounds during the honey part of the study. (They had to drink the same fruit punch sweetened with regular sugar during the other part of the study.) - 7/7/2014 11:40:58 AM
  • mmm...honey! Fresh from the farmer's market is the best :) - 5/20/2014 10:22:59 AM
    I learned a lot. I love honey. :) - 1/6/2014 6:40:24 PM
  • CATHY65202
    The biggest difference between honey and refined sugar or artificial sweeteners is simple ... God made one and chemists made the others. Who you gonna trust? EVERYTHING in moderation and the more natural the better. - 5/20/2013 9:01:20 PM
  • I've always liked honey in my tea and thought it was a healthier choice but got information that it wasn't, now I'm hearing it is. They could have saved a lot of money on this research and just asked my mother.

    Now after reading this I want to go and watch The Secret Life of Bees. - 4/26/2013 8:08:11 PM
  • There used to be a company that had honey in a cardboard tub that was not highly processed but very delicious sadly I haven't seen it in years. I do like buckwheat honey but I confess I get tired of the taste after a while. - 4/6/2013 11:27:06 PM

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