Honey Sweetens Your Health
Honey boosts antioxidants -- your body's natural defense against disease
WebMD News Archive
March 30, 2004 -- Reaching for a spoonful of honey rather than sugar to
sweeten your favorite food and drinks may help boost your body's natural
A new study shows that a daily dose of honey does more than just satisfy
your sweet tooth, it also raises levels of disease-fighting antioxidants in the
Researchers say honey contains varying concentrations of polyphenols, which
are powerful antioxidants that are thought to reduce the risk of heart disease
and cancer. Polyphenols are also found in fruits, vegetables, tea, and olive
Although a previous study shows that a dose of honey can deliver a surge of
antioxidants, researchers say this is the first study to look at the effects of
long-term honey consumption.
The findings were presented this week at the annual meeting of the American
Chemical Society in Anaheim, Calif.
Honey for Health
In the study, researchers fed 25 participants about 4 tablespoons of
buckwheat honey per day for 29 days in addition to their regular diets. Two
types of honey containing different amounts of polyphenols were tested.
Blood samples taken at the beginning and end of the study showed a direct
link between honey consumption and levels of disease-fighting polyphenols. The
more polyphenol-containing honey they ate, the higher the levels of
antioxidants were in their blood.
Researchers Heidrun Gross of the University of California-Davis and
colleagues say that antioxidants are thought to protect humans from disease by
slowing potentially dangerous disease processes in the body. The compounds work
by scavenging free radicals -- unstable compounds that can damage healthy cells
and compromise their function.
Researchers say that given the fact that the average person consumes more
than 150 pounds of sweetener per year, substituting honey in some foods for
traditional sweeteners may be a healthier option.