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Honey: Types, Benefits, Uses And Side Effects

Last Updated: Aug 25, 2022

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What is Honey?

Nature finest work, Honey is as versatile as it is delicious. This natural sweetener is admired worldwide for its distinct aroma and healthful qualities. When it comes down to flavor, honey is sweet without tasting too sugary - perfect to spread on toast for go-to mornings.

Honey is so dense and appealing that anyone can be tempted to eat it right off the spoon. Soft and creamy in texture, it can be relished straight out of the jar.

Honey also adds a unique flavor to any food or beverage, making it an ideal ingredient for almost everything! And we definitely cannot overlook its excellent health-boosting properties including antibacterial potency.

Honey Nutrition

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While attempting to understand the health benefits of honey, we must focus on the above honey nutrition facts too.

Types of Honey

The supermarket is flooded with wide varieties of honey, each one exhibiting its own taste, flavor and health benefits. To be specific, there are more than 300 types of honey categorized on the basis of their source and extraction process out of which some popular types are mentioned below:

  1. Manuka honey: It is rich in vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6 with a robust taste. It helps in treating sore throat and cold.
  2. Acacia honey: It is rich in vitamin A, C and E with a floral taste. It helps in treating respiratory problems.
  3. Buckwheat honey: It is darkest and strongest of all varieties with rich in iron content. It helps in protecting the body from oxidative stress.
  4. Clover honey: It is a popular variety with pleasant taste. It is used in salad dressings and sauces.
  5. Eucalyptus honey: It is rich in minerals and vitamins with herbal flavor. It is a used for medicinal purposes
  6. Sourwood honey: It is a light-colored honey with caramel taste and sweet and nutty flavor.
  7. Tupelo honey: A sweetest honey variety with light-golden in color. Due to the presense of high-fructose content it results in the sweetness.
  8. Sage honey: A light-colored honey with a delightful taste which granulates very slowly.
  9. Linden Honey: It is a popular variety with Fresh woody aroma which indeed induces sedation. It helps in treating cold and cough.
  10. Aster Honey: A variety of honey with thick consistency and distinctively sweet aroma. It is usually used in sweet drinks and desserts.

Know More About: 10 Different Types Of Honey - Which One Works Better?

Best Time To Eat Honey:

While all of us have heard amazing health benefits of honey, but we rarely tend to consume it. There is no best time to eat honey, you can consume it as per your own preferences. We suggest you include honey in your routine during these times:

  1. When You Feel Tired: A natural source of carbohydrates, eat honey whenever you need an energy rush. It is ideal to consume honey before or after a workout.
  2. Before Sleep: Eat 1 or 2 teaspoons of honey right before bed. Honey enhances your melatonin levels, that helps you have a sound sleep.
  3. Whenever You Are Sick: Known for its ability to treat cough and cold, honey works as natural over-the-counter medicine.

Read More About: The Right Time To Eat Honey


Health Benefits Of Honey

A thick sweet liquid made by honeybees, honey offers ample health benefits because of its antibacterial activity, wound-healing effect, dietary antioxidants and anti-inflammatory action. Mentioned below are the best health benefits of honey:

1. Honey For Face - Prevents the growth of bacteria and combat acne

One of the most favorite ingredients in DIY masks for a reason, honey is immensely loved by one and all. It instantaneously brings a glow to the face and brightens & softens the skin. Honey for face has a multitude of benefits including:

  1. Cleanses pores: Naturally antibacterial, Honey works great as a cleanser. It cleanses your pores and makes for an excellent face wash.
  2. Exfoliates skin: You can mix honey with baking soda to prepare a perfect exfoliator. Use the mixture for 2 times a week.
  3. Treats acne: Honey prevents break-outs because of its antifungal properties. It also helps in quick healing of pimples and acne.
  4. Moisturizes and Hydrates: Honey gives hydration boosts and locks moisture in your face.
  5. Fades scars: The sweet nectar has skin-lightening qualities. It lightens scars and spots of the face and also fades skin discoloration.

Know More About: What Type Of Honey Is Best For Acne?

2. Honey For Hair - Seals moisture in your hair, strengthens hair follicles and reduces hair fall

With a host of health benefits, Honey is equally beneficial for your hair. Incorporating honey in your hair care regime promotes healthy hair growth and reduces hair fall. For all those wondering how honey for hair works, here is the answer:

  1. Honey makes a great hair conditioner. It makes your hair incredibly smooth & soft and gives a great texture to hair.
  2. Rich in vitamins and minerals, honey stimulates new hair growth and improves overall hair health.
  3. Honey strengthens and reinforces the hair follicles.
  4. Honey keeps your scalp clean and free from infections. It also keeps you away from problems like dandruff and itchiness of the scalp.
  5. If your hair is dull and lifeless due to increased pollution and sunlight exposure, fret no more as honey can bring back the shine of your hair.

Know More About: What Does Honey Do For Your Hair ?

3. Honey For Skin - Prevents skin damage and slows down aging

A natural remedy for various skin problems, Honey can fit perfectly in the skincare regime. Many skin specialists recommend using raw honey for skin issues or products containing honey as an active ingredient.

  1. Honey reduces redness associated with inflamed skin and repairs skin damage.
  2. It is rich in fatty acids and nourished skin deeply.
  3. Honey softens the skin and acts as a natural emollient.
  4. Rich in potent antioxidants, Honey cures the damage caused to skin by free radicals.
  5. The ultra-nourishing nature of Honey makes it a holy grail for people having dry skin.
  6. It also helps in faster healing when applied topically on skin wounds.

Know More About: What Type Of Honey Is Good For Skin

4. Honey For Weight Loss - Reduces appetite and aid weight loss

Nobody thought that this superfood can also aid weight management. Studies reveal that consuming honey before going to bed can be beneficial in shedding those extra kilos. Here’s how you can use honey for weight loss:

  1. Start your day with honey in warm water mixed with lemon to increase body’s metabolism.
  2. Use honey as a substitute for white sugar in your morning tea and coffee.
  3. The combination of Honey and Cinnamon work together to prevent the accumulation of fat in the body.
  4. Honey triggers the digestion system to manage weight efficiently.
  5. If you are obese, honey will not only help you lose weight but decreases the risk of heart-related disorders.

Take A Look At : How Honey And Apple Cider Vinegar For Weight Loss Works?

5. Honey For Cough - Boosts immunity!

Buying a jar of honey than those nasty antibiotics is definitely a better approach to treat cough. It is true that honey treats cough and sore throat better than cough-suppressants and over-the-counter medicines. Conveniently available and inexpensive, a spoonful of honey is worth trying when you cough!

  1. You can just eat honey in its raw form if you have a cough.
  2. Put a teaspoon of honey in a cup of hot tea - a natural remedy against cough.
  3. Mix honey with warm water and lemon to fight congestion caused due to cough.

Know More About: What Kind Of Honey For Cough Gives Better Relief?

6. Honey For Babies - Keep them healthy and strong form within

Considering the ample amount of nutrients present, Honey can be advantageous for babies too!

  1. Gives relief from cold, flu, and cough instantly
  2. Increases immunity
  3. Induces sleep in babies
  4. Supports regular bowel movements
  5. Takes care of the digestive system health
  6. Promotes cognitive development in infants

Caution: Honey for babies less than 1 year of age can cause many health problems in them. Honey contains a type of bacteria as Clostridium botulism, which leads to food poisoning, muscle weakness, breathing problems and prolonged constipation in infants.

Know More About: When To Start Honey For Babies?

7. Honey for Diabetics - Keep the blood sugar levels under check

If you are suffering from diabetes but love everything sweet, don’t give up your sweet cravings as Honey can be a great alternative to sugar!

Honey is a natural sweetener and in comparison to sugar, it does not increase blood sugar levels as rapidly. However, moderation is the key if you are diabetic! Also, consult your doctor and keep a check on your blood sugar levels while consuming honey to know how much amount is suitable for your health.

Honey for diabetics should not be consumed raw and must be mixed with some other healthy ingredients including yogurt, cinnamon, neem, turmeric, lemon, ginger, green tea and basil to support a healthy lifestyle.

Know More About: Is Honey Good For Diabetics?

Honey Recipes

Whether drizzled over desserts, used for sauces and dressings or added in your favorite drinks, this sweet nectar can turn any meal into a masterpiece. Honey is a kitchen staple and a must-have ingredient for food and drinks that taste sweet.

  1. Add honey to muffins, rolls, oats, buns, waffles, smoothies, pudding and toast for a perfect breakfast delight.
  2. Make for yourself a hot ginger tea, frosty latte, milkshakes, lemonade and cocktails by blending them up with honey.
  3. Mix some honey with vegetable or fruit salad to give your classic food a nice flavor.
  4. Prepare delightful sauces and dressings using honey and your favorite ingredients.
  5. Include honey while making sweet desserts including brownies & cupcakes to enhance both taste and nutritional value.
  6. Bake some delicious cookies and cakes using this natural sweetener.

Explore : The Best Homemade Honey Recipes For A Healthy Lifestyle

Side Effects Of Honey

  1. Honey is safe for use in adults and children above 1 year of age. However, some people have hypersensitivity to it and may face adverse effects.
  2. Food poisoning is reported in children below 1 year because of honey consumption.
  3. Heating honey produces a chemical compound known as Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) that may harm the DNA.
  4. Eating honey in excess can cause stomach problems including bloating, stomach cramps and diarrhea.
  5. Those allergic to honey can experience difficulty in swallowing & breathing, asthma, itching and inflammation.
  6. Honey can cause chest pain and low blood pressure in some individuals.
  7. Honey if overeaten can erode the enamel that may lead to cavities in teeth.
  8. Other rare side effects include nausea, vomiting, skin rash, weakness, fainting, stomach pain, etc.

Best Honey Brands

Honey is considered one of the best health foods around the globe. This thick liquid has an amazing number of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. However, to get the most out of this sweet nectar, it is important to cherry-pick the best of the best and organic honey.

This can be challenging as there exists sugar-filled and adulterated honey in the market. So, carefully pick the best honey brands to relish the goodness this superfood has to offer!

Know More About: The Best Honey Brands To Buy


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Written ByDrx Hina FirdousPhD (Pharmacology) Pursuing, M.Pharma (Pharmacology), B.Pharma - Certificate in Nutrition and Child CarePharmacology
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Reviewed ByDt. Ms. Shilpa MarwahB.Sc (Home Science), Post Graduation Diploma in Dietetics and Public Health NutritionDietitian/Nutritionist

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