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Since ancient times, honey has been used as both a food and a medicine.

It’s very high in beneficial plant compounds and offers several health benefits.

Honey is particularly healthy when used instead of refined sugar, which is 100 percent empty calories.

Here are the top 10 health benefits of honey that are supported by science.

Since ancient times, honey has been used as both a food and a medicine.
Since ancient times, honey has been used as both a food and a medicine.

1. Honey Contains Some Nutrients

Honey is a sweet, thick liquid made by honeybees.

The bees swarm their environment and collect the sugar-rich nectar of flowers (1).

Then inside the beehive, they repeatedly consume, digest and regurgitate (“vomit”) the nectar.

The end product is honey, a liquid that is supposed to serve as stored food for the bees. The smell, color and taste depend on the types of flowers the bees visit.

This is what honey typically looks like:

honey_750

Nutritionally, 1 tablespoon of honey (21 grams) contains 64 calories and 17 grams of sugar, including fructose, glucose, maltose and sucrose.

It contains virtually no fiber, fat or protein (2).

It also contains trace amounts (under 1 percent of RDA) of several vitamins and minerals, but you would have to eat many pounds to fulfill your daily requirements.

Where honey shines is in its content of bioactive plant compounds and antioxidants. Darker types tend to be even higher in these compounds than lighter types (3, 4).

Bottom Line: Honey is thick, sweet liquid made by honeybees. It is low in vitamins and minerals, but may be high in some plant compounds.

2. High-Quality Honey is Rich in Antioxidants

High-quality honey contains many important antioxidants. These includes phenols, enzymes and compounds like flavonoids and organic acids (5).

Scientists believe that it is the combination of these compounds that gives honey its antioxidant power (5).

Interestingly, two studies have shown that buckwheat honey increases the antioxidant value of the blood (6, 7).

Antioxidants have been linked to reduced risk of heart attacks, strokes and some types of cancer. They may also promote eye health (8).

Bottom Line: Honey contains a number of antioxidants, including phenolic compounds like flavonoids.

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