(JustPatriots.com)- While regular sugar consumption increases the risk of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, the natural sugar in honey has been found to benefit cardiovascular health and blood sugar control.
A recent study found that eating the right honey can improve blood lipid levels and maintain a healthy blood sugar level.
A meta-analysis from the University of Toronto found that honey reduces the levels of fasting blood sugar, LDL, or bad, cholesterol, fasting triglycerides, and fatter liver markers. Honey can also significantly increase HDL, or good, cholesterol.
While honey is 80 percent sugar, it contains around 180 healthy substances as well, including amino acids, vitamins, probiotics, minerals, and polyphenols.
According to Yi Fang Tsai, a nutritionist from the Koii Nutrition Consulting Center in Taiwan, it is the polyphenols in honey that make it beneficial to the cardiovascular system.
The polyphenols in honey include quercetin, caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), acacetin, kaempferol, galangin, and chrysin, all of which are beneficial to cardiovascular health. They can prevent thrombosis and the oxidation of bad cholesterol and can enhance vasodilation.
While the types and prevalence of polyphenols in honey can differ slightly depending on floral sources, the protective effect of honey on the cardiovascular system comes from the synergistic effect of the compounds.
The meta-analysis by the University of Toronto also found that honey can lower fasting blood glucose since about 14 percent of the sugar content in honey is rare sugars.
Rare sugars are monosaccharides that can inhibit certain enzymes or down-regulate glucose transporters, having both short- and long-term positive effects on blood sugar levels.
Honey can also provide cardiovascular health benefits for obese patients with cardiovascular risk factors.
In a controlled trial, obese patients were divided into two groups, one group received 70 grams of sucrose a day and the other received 70 grams of natural honey.
After 30 days, the group receiving the honey experienced a reduction in total cholesterol as well as a reduction in triglycerides. The honey group also experienced a slight reduction in body weight.