The expert view: What are the benefits of honey?
Honey has been part of our everyday healthcare package for centuries and is widely know to have many health benefits. But does modern science really support this view?
In today's blog, we ask the expert: Dean Ashton, a qualified Nutritionist and Exercise expert and owner of Urban Reform, a personal training business in Manchester.
We asked Dean, what are the benefits of honey and is there scientific evidence to support it? Here is what he had to say:
“The nutrients found in honey have been widely reported to have antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anti-metastatic effects. Flavonoids and polyphenols, which act as antioxidants, have provided evidence to support these positive effects. These natural compounds as a dietary component offer health promoting properties due to their high antioxidant capacity."
"Scientific literature also supports the protective effects honey can offer against respiratory, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal disease which can be prominent, particularly in older adults."
Positive Respiratory effects
“A systematic review tested multiple studies on honey and its suppressant qualities against the common cough and determined it to be effective. So if you have a winter cough, get out those hot, honey and lemons guys!"
"It is believed that that the sweetness of honey triggers your salivary glands to produce more saliva, leading to lubricating your airways and easing your cough. In addition its anti-inflammatory qualities to help break up mucus within the bronchial tubes."
"Some research has also indicated honey acts to reduce asthma-related symptoms as a preventative agent, showing positive signs of reducing airway inflammation."
Positive Cardiovascular effects
"Antioxidants found in honey such as Vitamin C, flavonoids and polyphenols have all been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular failures. Honey has shown to decrease total cholesterol and these effects were drawn from the anti-inflammatory sources within the honey."
Positive Gastrointestinal effects
"Honey has been found to contain properties which treat infections from its antibacterial properties and has been found to be useful for people who are prone to ulcers. Like many probiotics you can find in your local supermarket, honey can serve a similar purpose for conditions within the gastrointestinal tract."
Other positive benefits
"Honey is a natural product formed from the nectar of flowers, and produced by bees. Honey has many nutritional values to support the research discussed above and has offered health benefits from honey that is classed as raw. Honey is part of a well-balanced diet which is a classed as a carbohydrate as part of your macronutrient intake and can be added to all types of food sources such as your morning porridge or yoghurt."
"Honey is also the oldest wound healing agent because of its bioactivities, honey induces leukocytes to release cytokines, which is what begins the tissue repair process."
"Honey is cost effective, readily available and has virtually no side effects and doctors can recommend it as a suitable alternative to antibiotics."
"Honey contains some vitamins and minerals in trace quantities, including small amounts of iron, zinc and potassium. Honey contains antioxidants, which can protect the body from inflammation. Inflammation can lead to a variety of health issues, including heart disease, cancer and autoimmune disorders."
"The scientific evidence from most of the literature out there does distinctly support that honey has anti-inflammatory properties. Of course, it is encouraged to combine honey with a well-balanced diet and a physically active routine."
About the expert:
Name: Dean Ashton - owner of Urban Reform Manchester (www.urbanreformfit.co.uk)
Dean holds an MSc in Nutrition and has over 11 years experience as a Personal training and health coach.
Dean's ambition is to constantly challenge the misleading and confusing information which is often found in the health and fitness world and instead provide high quality and trusted information which helps people to improve their everyday health.