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August 2010 – Honey: A valuable natural food

August 2010 – Honey: A valuable natural food

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Fotini Lappa, MSc
Sports Dietician
53 Stavrou st., Strovolos 2035
Tel: 22 492148


The story of honey begins since ancient times, where it had held a special place. The ancient Greeks used honey like a natural and healthy product, an essential element of their diet. Also, in historical times the writings of Hippocrates, Aristotle and Democritus referred to the beneficial properties of honey in health and longevity.

Honey is produced from the nectar of flowers or honeydew different plants using bees. The different types of honey can be distinguished according to the plant from which the bees drew nectar – thyme, fir, flower – , from the region of origin and how it is received by the combs.

Composition and Nutritional Value

Honey is 70-80% natural sugars, primarily glucose and fructose, but also many other elements. In different researches for the honey they were detected and certified 182 different substances. More specifically, it contains water at about 20%, organic acids, proteins and amino acids, minerals in small quantities (potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, etc.), enzymes, protein complexes, vitamin B complex, natural fragrances, etc. It should be noted that what makes honey so beneficial it is not the individual nutrients but the coexistence of all these and how they act in the human body.

Honey has a high energy and nutritional value, since it is absorbed directly by the human body. Strengthens and stimulates the body in case of physical or mental fatigue and recovery, because directly enriches the body with blood glucose and is thus a natural tonic for the human body. It is a rich and immediate energy food for children, pregnant women and athletes.

As for the caloric value of honey, 1 tablespoon honey gives us about 60 kcal.

The beneficial properties

• Honey has antibacterial activity against the growth of bacteria and other pathogens. It is useful for healing, cleansing and disinfection of wounds.

• Honey contains prebiotics ingredients (mainly frouktoligosakcharites and inulin), thus contributing to the better functioning of the gastrointestinal system.

• Contains a high amount of choline and helps against constipation.

• Excessive consumption of honey by people suffering from heart disorders has resulted in better condition. The sugars of honey, especially glucose, are essential for the contractions of the heart muscle and a source of energy for the heart. Even more, honey with the help of sugars and the acetylcholine dilates blood vessels and reduces blood pressure.

• Honey helps significantly faster the metabolism of alcohol and thus helps a person to absolve faster from drunkenness.

• In case of anemia, the percentage of hemoglobin, especially in children, increases with the consumption of honey mainly due to its iron and copper content.

Please note that eventhough honey is a valuable food for all ages, its consumption should be avoided by children younger than one year old due to a microorganism it contains. Caution is needed because babies have not developed fully their gastrointestinal tract.


• Add a spoonful of honey in your milk as it maximizes the absorption of calcium. • The crystallization (ie, honey candy) is a biological phenomenon of natural raw honey, which does not cause any changes in nutritional and biological properties. Thus, a crystallized honey is not spoiled or adulterated.

• Prefer the darker honey. It is richer in antioxidant data.

v  CyChefs recommend the very good quality of fresh Cyprus honey “Macheras”

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