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Nutritional Value of Honey

While honey is most often used to sweeten food, there are many health benefits to using honey over other sugar products.  Honey contains a large amount of different vitamins, minerals and other useful nutrients.  The most important benefit of honey over sugar is that honey contains complex carbohydrates along with fructose and glucose.  This means that the energy released from honey is done over a longer period of time, reducing a ´sugar spike´.

Honey also contains amino acids, which are the building blocks for protein and muscle.  While the amounts found in honey are moderate, honey does contain two very important amino acids called Tryptophan and lysine.  The reason these two amino acids are important is because they are not found in fruits and vegetables, only animal sources.  This makes honey an important food for vegetarians or for those who try to limit their meat consumption.

Honey contains most vitamins and minerals that are needed by humans in small amounts.  Honey does contain significant amounts of B-complex vitamins, Vitamin C and Potassium.  Potassium is a mineral that many people do not eat enough of.  Potassium helps to regulate blood pressure and water retention, and in many ways counteracts the harmful affects of high sodium consumption.  B-complex vitamins are used to convert food into energy, and Vitamin C is used in the immune system and for proper skin and mucus membrane integrity.

Besides being a delicious food, honey also has some benefits to fight certain conditions.  Honey will help sooth a sore throat.  Because honey contains Tryptophan, it also can help with insomnia.  Finally, honey contains certain beneficial bacteria that are called probiotics.  These bacteria are needed by the body in the intestines to help digest food.  These probiotics are similar to the bacteria found in yogurt.

Honey is a great substitute for table sugar in that it contains complex carbohydrates that delay the release of energy over a longer period of time.  Honey also contains B-comples vitamins along with Vitamin C in moderate amounts along with potassium, a very important mineral to help prevent heart disease.

Reviewed:  Peter Sedesse, MD

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