5 Health Benefits of Honey

Honey has many different uses for many different people. It’s a better-for-you, natural sweetener, a pre-workout snack, and even an allergy-defeating, locally-source superfood.

No matter what it’s used for, honey is an easy-to-get, affordable and almost universally loved food—but did you know it also has an array of major health benefits?

Health outlined five of the many ways that honey can make us healthier and offered a few ideas on how we can work it into our diets.

Honey may help treat upper respiratory tract infections (URI)
Oxford University researchers looked at 14 previously published studies related to the effectiveness of honey for the relief of URI symptoms. They found that compared to usual treatments (like over-the-counter meds and antibiotics, honey improved both cough frequency and severity, it and may serve as an inexpensive alternative to antibiotics.

Honey may help fight metabolic syndrome
First, honey has a low glycemic index, so it doesn’t trigger a spike in blood sugar and insulin levels, and it helps enhance insulin sensitivity. Honey has also been shown to prevent excessive weight gain and improve lipid metabolism by reducing triglycerides as well as total cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol, while increasing “good” HDL.

Honey may help prevent artery hardening
Another recent paper about honey’s benefits explores its ability to combat artery hardening, a leading cause of death worldwide. Published in 2019, also in the journal Nutrients, the authors point out that honey contains over 180 substances—including natural sugars as well as a plethora of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.

Honey may help support a healthy gut
Honey possesses prebiotic properties. Prebiotics help to ferment beneficial bacteria in the gut, including bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. This shift has been linked to stronger immune function and enhanced mental well-being.

Honey provides nutrients
31 minerals have been found in honey—including all of the major minerals, such as phosphorus, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Honey also contains approximately 600 volatile compounds that are thought to contribute to its potential biomedical effects.”

The benefits of honey are seemingly endless, but perhaps the most appealing benefit is its taste. So, how can you incorporate it into your diet? Try it as a sweetener in tea or coffee, add it to a smoothie or drizzle it over your oatmeal or pancakes. You can use it to sweeten cocktails or as a replacement for sugar in basically any other recipe. It’s also a great add-in to almost any homemade salad dressing.

Our recommendation for the best way to eat honey? Straight from the spoon.