The Sweet Solution: Exploring the Many Benefits of Honey for Your Health

A jar of honey and some honeycomb.

Honey is a natural food that is a healthy addition to your diet. (Image: Nitr via Dreamstime)

Honey has been used as food and medicine since ancient times. Not only is it sweet in taste and mild in nature, but the health benefits of honey are also just as remarkable. Honey is rich in various vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Drinking a glass of warm water with honey every day can moisturize and smooth the intestines, help prevent colds, remove toxins from the body, and even delay aging.

Where does honey come from?

People can buy honey from any grocery store, but the honey itself is not so easy to come by. Honey is made by bees from flower nectar, which is a watery solution composed of various sugars with trace amounts of proteins, salts, and essential oils. Honeybees collect nectar by using their proboscises to get the nectar from flowers into their stomachs to bring back to the hive.

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After returning to the hive, the nectar will be passed among bees to reduce its moisture content. When the nectar is deposited into a cell with nectar collected and processed by other bees, bees will flap their wings to drive away even more moisture. When the water content of the honey is less than 20 percent, it is sealed with beeswax.

A single bee produces about one tablespoon of honey during its lifetime.
A single bee produces about one tablespoon of honey during its lifetime. (Image Meisterphotos via Dreamstime)

The average amount of nectar collected by one bee is 40 mg (equal to the volume of about a drop of water) in a day, and it needs to visit several hundred flowers to get it. During the nectar flow, a bee flies about a mile every day. That high-intensity work makes their life span only 20 to 40 days, and one bee only produces about one tablespoon of honey in its lifetime.

Nutrition of honey

The main components of honey are glucose and fructose, which are more easily absorbed by the body than sucrose. It is also rich in various minerals and vitamins, such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, and vitamin K. Both Chinese and Western medicine believe that honey is a good health product. In addition to its health benefits, the sweet taste of honey makes it easy to eat!

The health benefits of honey


Honey contains polyphenols that can resist oxidation and remove excessive free radicals in the body.

Improve resistance

Honey contains a variety of enzymes and minerals that can enhance human immunity. Honey and lemon juice are a great treatment for colds or strep throat.

Help digestion

Honey can regulate gastrointestinal functions and make gastric acid secretion normal. Experiments have proven that it can also enhance gastrointestinal motility and shorten the time of defecation.

Promote longevity

One of the health benefits of honey is its ability to promote longevity.
One of the health benefits of honey is its ability to promote longevity. (Image: Andrew Angelov via Dreamstime)

Soviet scholar Dr. Nicolai Tsitsin once investigated more than 200 centenarians, 143 of whom were beekeepers, and their principle food was honey. A recent study confirms the hypothesis that consuming honey does promote longevity.

Protect the liver

Honey has a protective effect on the liver. It provides energy for the metabolic activities of the liver and stimulates the regeneration of liver tissue to repair any damage. People with chronic hepatitis and poor liver function can drink honey water to improve these conditions.

Cardiovascular benefits

Honey has the effect of dilating coronary arteries and nourishing the heart muscle, thereby improving its function, and regulating blood pressure.

Fights fatigue

The fructose in honey is easily absorbed by the body. When people feel tired, eating honey can eliminate fatigue. People who stay up late can drink honey water to replenish their energy.

Contains vitamin C

Honey contains vitamin C, which can promote the synthesis of collagen and inhibit the production of melanin; it has the effect of clearing the skin.

Pick the right honey

According to nutritionist and nutrition coach Lauren Armstrong, there are three types of honey to choose from. No matter which honey you choose, even pasteurization does not kill the naturally occurring botulism spores in honey. These can cause infant botulism in children under 2 years old.

Pasteurized honey

This type of honey makes up most of what is available in grocery stores. It has been pasteurized to prevent the honey from crystallizing. Pasteurization does not make honey any safer for consumption; it is merely to keep honey in a liquefied state to make it easier to sell. This process does destroy many of the health benefits of honey.

Raw honey

The growing popularity of raw honey makes it more readily available. (Image: David Tonelson via Dreamstime)

Raw honey comes directly from the hive without being pasteurized and the beneficial compounds in the honey are preserved in the final product. With raw honey gaining more popularity, you can find it in many grocery stores. The label will say it is raw honey. Liquid honey will crystallize over time. If this occurs, put the bottle in a hot water bath that does not exceed 110 F so as to not affect the health benefits. Do not let water get in the jar, the water only needs to be as high as the honey inside.

Manuka honey

This honey comes from Leptospermum, a tea tree that grows in New Zealand and southeastern Australia. Manuka honey has higher antibacterial activity than other honey making it more effective at healing wounds, reducing inflammation, and soothing coughs and sore throats.

Translated by Patty Zhang

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