What is Honey made of?
Honey is made from nectar. “Bees collect the dilute-sugary nectar of flora plants, produce an enzymatic activity after ingestion, regurgitate it into honey cells and evaporate a high percentage of the water out of it, producing a super-sweet viscous liquid known as honey,” explains Dana Hunnes, a senior dietitian at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
The sweet substance is mostly fructose and glucose — simple sugars that are easily converted by the body into energy — and water.
Honey also contains trace amounts of vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, enzymes, amino acids and flavonoids, says Jenny Friedman, a Philadelphia-based registered dietitian. “These compounds are responsible for some of honey’s potential health benefits and part of what distinguishes the sweetener from more traditional ones like sugar.”
Is honey healthy?
Research has linked honey to an improvement in gut microbial balance, coughing and other respiratory conditions. Because of honey’s trace nutrients, the sweetener has been thought to have antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, along with healing potential for ailments such as sore throats, digestive disorders and burns, Friedman says.
What’s the healthiest way to eat honey?
It’s important to consume honey in moderation, experts say. A little goes a long way. Think of a serving size of honey as about a tablespoon (the size of your thumb or a poker chip), says Friedman. This much honey has about 64 calories and 17 grams of sugar, according to the USDA’s food composition database. Aim to keep your daily intake from any added sugar under 100 calories a day for women and 150 calories a day for men, suggests Hunnes.