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Honey: 7 benefits and options to consume

Honey: 7 benefits and options to consume

Honey is a natural product obtained from the nectar of flowers and bee excretions. In addition to being a great natural sweetener, this food is full of benefits because it has antimicrobial action, capable of preventing growth or destroy microorganisms and thus protect against diseases.

The food also has antioxidant and prebiotic action, this last modifies the balance of the intestinal microbial, stimulating the growth and / or activity of beneficial microorganisms.

The food also has potassium, magnesium, sodium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, cobalt, copper and some other minerals. It is also rich in carbohydrates and sugar. Among these nutrients, potassium is what is most present and is interesting for blood pressure balance.

Types of honey

The taste, aroma and color of the food will vary according to the flowering, defined from of the type of flower that the bee collects the nectar to produce this sweet. Some benefits may be stronger in certain types than in others. Check the main types consumed in Brazil:

Wild honey: This is the most ingested in Brazil and comes from several flowers. It is considered to be interesting for the skin, respiratory tract, has an antioxidant effect and soothing properties.

Honey of fish: It has a pleasant aroma and taste and has a soothing and expectorant effect.

Eucalyptus flower honey: It has a stronger flavor and dark coloring. It is interesting for the auxiliary treatment and relief of intestinal infections, urinary tract and respiratory diseases.

Orange flower honey: It has a mild flavor and regulates intestinal function and has a calming effect.

Honey Main nutrients

Honey counts on good amounts of sugar and carbohydrates and therefore it is important to know that honey has a good antioxidant action, especially in the liver, so it can help reduce the effects of alcohol in the body. a great fast source of energy. It also has some organic acids, and one of them, the gluconic acid, contributes to the formation of hydrogen peroxide, a powerful antibactericide. Iron and copper contribute to the antimicrobial action.

Gluconic acid also has a strong antioxidant action. The food still has a large number of compounds that provide this same benefit. Phenolic acids, flavonoids, certain enzymes, such as glucose oxidase, catalase and peroxidase, ascorbic acid, hydroxymethylfurfuraldehyde and carotenoids.

It has nondigestible carbohydrates and oligosaccharides, which are essential for the prevention of aging and diseases such as Alzheimer's, cardiovascular diseases and others. prebiotics. This means that they contribute to the maintenance of the intestinal microbiota and thus stimulate intestinal transit, cooperate with the normal stool consistency, prevent diarrhea and constipation.

This natural sweetener has potassium, which is interesting for the balance of blood pressure, calcium, important for bone health, iron, necessary for the prevention of anemia, and other minerals.


Honey - 25 gramsCalories
77.25 kcalCarbohydrates
21 g <Calcium
2.5 mgMagnesium
1.5 mgIron
0.075 mgPotassium
24.75 mgPhosphorus
1 mgSource: Table * Check the percentage of the daily value * of some nutrients that the recommended portion, 25 grams (one tablespoon), of honey carries:

7% carbohydrate

0.5% iron

  • 0.25% calcium
  • Benefits of honey
  • Good for sore throat:

Your grandmother was right! As honey has antimicrobial action, able to prevent growth or destroy microorganisms, it is interesting to relieve neck pain momentarily. But it is important to note that there is no scientific study proving that it treats the causes of this symptom, such as pharyngitis for example, nor the evolution of the disease related to a sore throat.

The characteristics of this natural sweetener that cause it has this antibiotic action are: the low ph, providing an acid environment that can inhibit the development of many microorganisms, little amount of water, which does not provide favorable conditions for the growth of bacteria. In addition, honey has the gluconic acid that contributes to the formation of hydrogen peroxide, a powerful antibacterial. Good for respiratory problems:

Research has shown that bacteria that cause some diseases are sensitive to the antibacterial action of honey. Among these microorganisms are

Haemophilus influenzae , responsible for respiratory infections and sinusitis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis , leading to tuberculosis, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Streptococcus pneumoniae , which causes pneumonia. In this case, the same caveat applies to the sore throat. Honey can help alleviate symptoms and discomfort, but it does not promote the cure of the disease itself. The treatment of these diseases, therefore, must be indicated by a specialist. It is worth to associate this food with the propolis, complex substance collected and transformed by bees and that has flavonoids. Flavonoids have antibacterial properties and are also an adjuvant in the treatment of diseases of the respiratory tract. Good for the intestine:

Honey can be an important ally in the maintenance of the intestinal microbiota (known as intestinal flora). bacteria we carry there. Thus contributing to a better intestinal transit, normal stool consistency, prevention of diarrhea and constipation.

With the good microbiota, when the person consumes fibers the bacteria of the good transform the fibers into short chain fatty acids, which prevent the bad microorganisms in the intestine invade the bloodstream and spread through our body, creating an indirect defense. All these benefits occur because it has nondigestible carbohydrates and oligosaccharides that are prebiotics, that is, they contribute to the maintenance of intestinal microbiota. In addition, research has shown that bacteria that cause some diseases are sensitive to the antibacterial action of honey. Among these microorganisms are:

Escherichia coli

, which causes diarrhea and urinary infections and Salmonella species , which can lead to diarrhea. Good for skin: Honey is rich in antioxidants, such as phenolic acids, flavonoids and carotenoids. Therefore, food contributes to the decrease of free radicals and thus prevents premature aging and contributes to the most beautiful and healthy skin. The product can be ingested or used in cosmetics such as soaps and creams.

Some studies, including one from the University of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, have shown that it can act as a wound healing and in cases of ulcers , burns and abscesses on the skin. Staphylococcus aureus and

salmonella typhimurium , both of which cause wound infections, are sensitive to the antibacterial action of honey. Antioxidant action: This causes the honey helps to reduce free radicals and thus helps prevent cell aging, providing a more beautiful and healthy skin and preventing diseases such as Alzheimer's, cardiovascular, among others.The substances present in the food that provide this benefit are: gluconic acid, phenolic acids, flavonoids, certain enzymes, such as glucose oxidase, catalase and peroxidase, ascorbic acid, hydroxymethylfurfuraldehyde and carotenoids. Reduces the risks of urinary infection:

Some studies have pointed out that bacteria that cause certain diseases are sensitive to the antibacterial action of honey. Among these microorganisms are streptococcus faecalis, proteus species and pseudomonas aeruginosa, all of which can cause urinary tract infection. Improves sleep and helps relax:

Honey stimulates the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for the sensation of pleasure and well-being. Food is a carbohydrate source of tryptophan, an amino acid precursor to serotonin, which is the hormone responsible for lowering the body's stress levels, improving well-being. It also has an important function as a regenerator of the intestinal microbiota when combined with the lactobacilli present in the intestine. It is known that more than 90% of serotonin is produced in the intestine, so food helps maintain intestinal integrity by contributing to better neuroendocrine regulation, with more serotonin and more disposition and sensation of pleasure.

Recommended amount of honey How much to consume of honey per day can vary between a teaspoon, about 10 grams, to a tablespoon, approximately 25 grams. It is important to emphasize that this food should be inserted into a healthy diet.

How to consume honey Honey can be used as a healthy substitute for refined sugar in the preparation of cakes, pies, biscuits, among other sweets. It is also interesting to consume it with toast, fruit, yogurt, juices and even meat.

Avoid excessive heating of honey as this can reduce the acidity and humidity of the food and cause loss of activity of some enzymes, causing the food to cease to have some of its beneficial properties. The National Agency of Sanitary Surveillance (ANVISA) directs the heating of the food to a maximum of 70 degrees Celsius.

Crystallized honey:

Because it is a sugar rich solution when stored at temperatures below the average of the hive, which is between 34 and 35 degrees, it can crystallize. This should be kept out of refrigeration. In order for it to return to its liquid state without losing its nutritional properties, the guideline is to put the amount to be used in a pot in a 45-degree water bath for five minutes. Let the water cool with the pot inside.

Care of the origin of the honey:

It is important to be aware of the origin of the honey. Always opt for the product that has the manufacturer's information and the seal of the Federal Inspection Service (S.I.F). The SIF belongs to the Department of Inspection of Products of Animal Origin that aims to standardize and authorize the production and commercialization of all food of animal origin in Brazil.

Comparing honey with other foods Nutrients

Honey - 25 grams Melado - 25 grams

Refined sugar - 50 grams

Brown sugar - 50 gramsCalories77.25 kcal74 kcal193.5 kcal
184.5 kcalCarbohydrate21 g19.15 g49.75 g
47.25 gCalcium2.5 mg25.5 mg2 mg
63.5 mgMagnesium1.5 mg28.75 mg0.5 mg
40 mgIron0.075 mg1.35 mg0.05 mg
4.15 mgPotassium24.75 mg98.75 mg3 mg
261 mgPhosphorus1 mg18.5 mg0 mg
19 mgSource: Table * Comparison based on the recommended daily quantities of each food. Daily reference values ​​for adults based on a 2,000 kcal or 8,400 kj diet. Your daily values ​​may be higher or lower depending on your energy needs.Honey is much healthier for food than refined sugar. While the first has a number of substances that provide benefits to the body, the second is only a source of "empty calories" since it is a vehicle of calories, but without adding nutrients.Brown sugar does not go through the refinement process and therefore preserves nutrients in its composition. It has good amounts of iron, important to prevent anemia, and potassium, nutrient that participates in the process of blood pressure balance. In addition, the food contains magnesium, phosphorus and calcium. However, the food does not possess the antioxidant, antibacterial and prebiotic properties of honey.The molasses, which like the refined and brown sugar is derived from sugar cane, is another option for sweetening, since it does not go through refinement. Thus, it has good amounts of nutrients similar to those of the brown, such as iron and potassium. Some studies point out that molasses is interesting for constipation. However, it also lacks the antioxidant, antibacterial and prebiotic properties of honey.

Combining honey

Honey + cereals:

Honey has prebiotic action that improves intestinal microbiota and cereals, such as oats, are rich in fiber. With good microbiota, when people consume fibers, good bacteria turn the fibers into short-chain fatty acids, which prevent bad microorganisms from the intestine from invading the bloodstream and spreading through our bodies, creating an indirect defense.

Honey + milk:

The combination may be great for improving sleep quality, especially for those who are more difficult to turn off the brain before bedtime. The warm milk temperature is comforting, helping the body to relax. In addition, food is a source of tryptophan, an amino acid that improves well-being and prepares for sleep. Honey, as well as being a source of tryptophan, is a simple carbohydrate source, which also helps in sleep, since it facilitates the absorption of tryptophan.

Honey + fruit:

Both are sources of carbohydrates, it treats it is a recommended combination for before the practice of physical exercises. This is because carbohydrate is the main nutrient that will provide the energy for the best performance of the activity and basically the carbohydrates are found in limited amount as a reserve in the form of glycogen in the muscles and in the liver as well as in the glucose present in the blood. Contraindications

Honey should not be consumed by children under one year of age. This is because the food may have C

lostridium botulunum , a bacterium that causes botulism. The disease can cause serious health problems such as blurred vision, photophobia, dizziness, dry mouth, constipation, nervous system impairment (difficulty swallowing, speaking, moving) and impaired respiratory muscles. This amount of bacteria can be harmful to children under one year because they do not have the fully formed microbiota. For healthy adults this amount of C

lostridium botulunum is not harmful.

In addition, it is not recommended for people who have diabetes. This is because this food rich in sugar can lead to peaks of glycemia in the body. Pregnant women should also be aware of this food and seek to include it in a healthy diet in order to avoid the risk of gestational diabetes.

Risks of excessive consumption As honey is very caloric and high in sugar consumption in excess can cause weight gain. In addition, large amounts of honey, as well as sugar, can raise blood glucose levels rapidly, causing insulin levels to rise and consequently in the long run this can lead to insulin resistance that favors type 2 diabetes. Recipes with honey Learn to make carrot cake with honey - Photo: Getty Images Check out delicious recipes that can be made:

Turkey sandwich with honey

Whole carrot cake and honey

Citrus juice of watercress and honey

Sources consulted:

Nutrólogo Roberto Navarro (CRM SP 78.392)

Nutritionist Karina Valentim da PB Consultoria em Nutrição

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