That familiar sweet sticky brown-tinted goo seems upon first glance to be just another form of sugar. And sugar isn’t good for you, right? Well… honey is not quite the same as sugar and it does have some health benefits.
If you’re thinking that honey is mostly sugar, you’d be quite right. Per every 100g of honey about 79-82g is sugar, and the rest is mostly water. This might lead you to think, “There’s no room for anything else then!” but some nutritional goodies can exist in small amounts that would barely register on a scale, and still be extremely useful. In fact only microscopic amounts of certain biochemicals are needed to be effective.
Below is a list of nutrients found in honey which you wouldn’t find in white sugar. It is their benefits, which make honey beneficial.
Honey contains traces of protein:
Although honey does contain protein and amino acids, if you look at the amounts, it’s not really going to contribute much towards your protein intake. Protein is one of those nurtients which you do need in gram portions rather than microscopic amounts and per 100g of honey you only get 0.30g protein which really isn’t enough to be significant to your body in any way.
Honey contains trace elements of vitamins and minerals:
Vitamins and minerals which are only needed in small amounts are found in honey, but they are found in such small amounts that they may not really contribute a great deal to your vitamin and mineral needs. Per every 100g portion of honey (that’s like 20 teaspoonfuls!) honey would give yous about:
- 52mg potassium (when we need about 3500 mg a day),
- 6mg Calcium (when we need about 700-1000mg a day),
- 2mg magnesium (when we need a minimum of 300mg a day),
- 0.42mg iron, (when we need 8.7mg a day for men and 14.8mg a day for women)
- 0.22mg zinc, (we need at least 10mg a day)
- 7mcg copper (when we need 1500 – 3000mcg a day)
Really, these kind of amounts that exist in honey aren’t therapeutic in any way, especially considering we only have a teaspoon (5g) or so of honey a day. Even if you were going to have 100g of honey it wouldn’t come close to the amount of nutrients you need for your daily requirements.
The above describes minerals. When it comes to vitamins honey contains minuscule amounts of some of the B vitamins. Again, it only contributes a small amount towards your daily requirements.
Honey is a great source of antioxidants:
Aha! Finally a nutrient that is in reasonable amounts in honey to make it useful! Honey contains polyphenols and flavonoids. The antioxidant activity of honey is different depending on the type of honey you buy, with antioxidant activity varying between 43% and 95%. The responsible antioxidant compounds in honey include: (see next page)