Why honey is useful and how to choose the most delicious

With the advent of the cold season, it is still drawn to drink hot tea with something sweet. Heavy fragrant honey is an alternative to sweets and cakes, but they should not be abused. Together with Elena Kostyrko, a gastroenterologist of the Atlas Medical Center, we know what honey is useful and how to choose a high-quality honey.

Useful properties of honey

Honey is the nectar of plants, processed by bees. It consists of water, two simple sugars – fructose and glucose, and complex sugars, minerals and vitamins, proteins. People began to use honey thousands of years ago as a delicacy and therapeutic agent. Honey contains antioxidants, which reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. According to research, honey can be useful for diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and serves as a natural antidepressant, helps cope with anxiety. Nectar honey from eucalyptus and citrus trees is useful for coughing.

Elena Kostyrko

Gastroenterologist and pediatrician at Atlas Medical Center

– Honey relieves colds, has an anti-inflammatory effect, has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system, making the blood vessels more elastic. Antioxidant activity provides flavonoids and polyphenols. Honey components are able to inhibit the active oxygen forms and counteract oxidative stress, while restoring the system of antioxidant protection of the cell. The darker honey, the more active its antioxidants are. In addition, honey has antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial effects.

Honey or sugar?

Honey, like white sugar, is classified as free sugar, so its use must be controlled. One tablespoon of honey (21 g) contains 64 calories and 17 g sugar. Experts of the American Heart Association recommend limiting the number of free sugars women to 100 calories per day. The norm for men is 150 calories per day.

Large amounts of free sugars in the diet leads to excess calories, which can cause obesity. From sweet tooth decay develops, the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes increases. In a healthy diet, free sugar should account for less than 10% of the total energy consumed.

Often, honey is advised to replace refined sugar. This makes sense with moderate consumption of the product – so you get not only carbohydrates from a sweetener, but also vitamins and minerals. Honey is sweeter than sugar, but it has slightly more carbohydrates and more calories per teaspoon, so it is not possible to reduce the consumption of calories and carbohydrates in this way.

Honey allergy

Honey is a concentrated product, so it can cause allergies with serious consequences. Some people react to certain components, such as bee pollen. Symptoms of an allergy:


nausea, vomiting;

severe sweating;


wheezing breath;

irregular heart rhythm.

Elena Kostyrko

Gastroenterologist and pediatrician at Atlas Medical Center

– Honey should not be eaten by people with high stomach acidity, as honey can aggravate the dangerous condition. It is better to refuse honey and people who suffer from gastrointestinal problems (gastritis, gastric and duodenal ulcer, pancreatitis), kidney and liver diseases, diabetes. Sugar and honey have the same effect on blood glucose levels.

Honey should not be given to children under a year, because it can provoke botulism. It is a serious disease of the gastrointestinal tract, which causes spores of Clostridium botulinum. The spore bacteria can grow and multiply in the intestines of a child and release botulinum toxin. The disease is rare, but its consequences are dangerous: the child develops constipation, weakness in the muscles of the face, arms, legs and neck, problems with breathing, swallowing.

How to choose the right honey

There are more than 320 kinds of honey, all with different taste, color and smell. When buying honey, be guided by its taste (if you can try it) and price. Good honey cannot be too cheap. Honey in a supermarket may be of lower quality than honey on the market. And a product with additives, such as cream honey, becomes a regular dessert.

Ask the seller what region honey was brought from, how long it was extracted from the hives. It is better to keep the product fresh. In the middle belt of Russia most often found honey from herbs, meadow, buckwheat, acacia. Other types of honey, most likely, are brought from far away.

Elena Kostyrko

Gastroenterologist and pediatrician at Atlas Medical Center

– When choosing honey, you should be guided by the smell, not the color, because honey can be very different shades. Honey should have a scent, but if there is no scent, then you have a fake one. Honey should not be bitter or have a caramel flavor. High-quality honey will flow slowly off the spoon, stretch and gather at the bottom of the slide.