The nutritional value of honey can vary slightly depending on the location and from the type of flowers from which the honey nectar was collected. In general, however, honey is nutritious and can be used as a healthy substitute for sugar. About 80 percent of honey is made up of sugars, about 17 percent is water, and the remaining 3 percent include vitamins, minerals, proteins and other nutrients. The nutritional value of honey is why it is often used in home remedies to cure common ailments of the digestive system, to increase energy levels and to treat minor burns and other skin wounds.
The sugars in honey are mainly fructose and glucose, but it also contains small amounts of maltose and sucrose. The vitamins in honey include many of the B vitamins such as B2, B3, B5, B6 and B9. It also contains vitamin C, which acts as a powerful antioxidant. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, phosphorus, sodium and magnesium are found in fair amounts in honey. Other minerals in honey include zinc, selenium, copper, manganese and iron.
Amino acids such as tryptophan, lysine, tyrosine, arginine and glycine also add to the nutritional value of honey. These are the ingredients that the body uses to build its own protein. Antioxidants such as chrysin, pinobanksin, pinocembrin and catalase can help prevent age-related diseases by neutralizing harmful antioxidants. Honey is also rich with antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that can help prevent infections caused by minor burns, cuts and other skin wounds.
Honey contains about 64-87 calories per tablespoon. This is more calories than in regular table sugar, but because of the nutritional value of honey, the extra calories are insignificant. In addition, because of the high amount of fructose in honey, it is sweeter than sugar, which means that less honey is needed in order to achieve the same sweetness.
When added to the diet in moderation, honey can add to the nutritional value of foods by supplying additional nutrients. It can be used in coffee, tea, baked goods, meat dishes and in salad dressings. The nutritional value of honey from different farms can vary, because the bees will have a different source for their nectar. Processed honey will also have a lower nutritional value, because some of the nutrients in honey are destroyed by the heating process.
The nutritional benefits of honey include more energy, which can help athletes be more competitive and can help in weight loss. Digestive ailments such as bloating, gas, vomiting, diarrhea and pain associated with ulcers can be relieved with honey. People who have diabetes can also benefit by switching to honey, because it has a lower glycemic index. Honey should not be given to babies who are less than 1 year old, because of the endospores in it.
Each tablespoon of honey contains about 60 to 64 calories. Honey does not contain any sodium. It doesn’t have any cholesterol and also has no fat content.
The average composition of honey is about 80% carbohydrates, 18% water and 2% amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
Honey is loaded with natural sugar, mostly fructose and glucose, which means it is high in carbohydrates.
There are 17 grams of carbohydrates in each tablespoon of honey, and 16 are from sugar.
Research studies have shown that honey is a very effective carbohydrate, especially for athletes.
Vitamins And Minerals
The most common nutrients found in honey are Vitamin B6, niacin, thiamine, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin.
Amounts will vary according to the floral type of the honey.
Honey also contains minerals such as copper, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, and zinc.
This nutritious sweetener also has various phenolic acids and flavoniods which are certain types of antioxidants.
These antioxidants help to eliminate free radicals which often play a role in causing many serious diseases.
Generally, the darker honeys, like buckwheat, will have higher antioxidant levels compared to lighter colored honeys.
Fructose, Glucose, Maltose, Sucrose and Water Content
Honey’s composition is about 38.5% fructose and 31% of glucose. It also contains maltose, about 7.1% and sucrose, about 1.3%. Its water content is roughly 17%.
It can range from 31 to 78, based upon what variety it is.
The normal pH of honey is usually around 3.9, but it can vary from 3.4 to 6.
Honey contains many different types of acids, both amino and organic. Of course, the amounts and types will differ substantially, depending on the honey variety.
These kinds of acids can be aromatic or non-aromatic (aliphatic). The aliphatic acids make a difference in the honey’s flavor because it interacts with flavors of the other ingredients.
Amino Acids and Enzymes
Enzymes are proteins and they are created from amino acids.
Enzymes have an important function in honey, as well as contribute to its overall properties. Enzymes in honey turn it into a unique food, much more complex when compared to other sweeteners. Honey has eighteen amino acids.
The content is very minimal, about 0.05-0.1% of its overall composition. Proline is the main amino acid that is found in honey.
Organic acids consist of the majority of the acids that are in honey, comprising about 0.17-1.17%. The most prevalent organic acid is gluconic acid.
Guconic acid is made by the glucose oxidase enzyme.
Other organic acids found in very small quantities include succinic, acetic, butyric, capronic, malic, formic, lactic, citric, propionic, pyroglutamic, valeric, and palmitic.
Honey normally contains very small amounts of different kinds of enzymes. Besides gluconic acid, honey also contains diastase (amylase), and invertase (glucosidase).
Phosphatase and catalase can also be found in honey. Honey’s enzyme content will vary based on its floral source and location.
More Important Nutritional Facts About Honey
Honey is definitely more than just a simple sugar because it’s rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
This healthy natural sweetener, offers many nutritional benefits without the man-made chemicals that comprise other types of sweeteners.
Although, nutrition facts can vary slightly based on the floral variety, they usually are very similar.
Honey vs Sugar – Honey is considered by many to be the world’s oldest sweetener. The health benefits of honey have been noted by many people over the centuries. Even the ancient philosopher, Aristotle, wrote about the many nutritional and medicinal benefits of honey. Most people use sweeteners everyday so it’s important to learn how honey differs from sugar.
Honeybee’s Diet – Honey bees form a highly organized society and for thousands of years they have been of great interest to humans. According to Great Plains Nature Center, humans have written about honey bees more than any other species of insects, which signals that they really have something special that’s worth cherishing.
Raw Honey – Raw honey is simply honey that hasn’t been heated, processed or pasteurized at all. The real differences between pasteurized honey and raw honey are very important.