Two tablespoons of store cupboard staple could ‘help during flu season’

Health experts say a popular storecupboard staple could help the body with a number of nutritional benefits – especially during the cold and flu season.

Honey is a product of floral nectar that bees make. And for thousands of years people have consumed it and utilized its medicinal properties.

When used sparingly it can give you a number of health benefits. Honey has a high calorie and energy content because it is naturally roughly 80% sugar, reports MirrorOnline.

The following ingredients are found in one tablespoon of honey, per the U.S. Department of Agriculture: 64 calories, 17 grams of carbohydrates and 17 grams of sugar. A spoonful of honey contains trace levels of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium, vitamin C, and folate, but it is free of fat, protein, fiber, and cholesterol.

According to Maya Vadiveloo, an associate professor of nutrition at the University of Rhode Island, honey could offer certain advantages compared to other sweetners. This is because of the variety of molecules it contains.

She said: “There’s been some research showing that it has more antioxidants, and it’s relatively a better source of potassium and some minerals than, say, table sugar. But I wouldn’t rush out to be eating honey as a health food… it’s still a source of added sugar.”

Honey is a slightly better option for sweetning that sugar as it contains antioxidents such as phenolic acid and flavonoids. Both however should be consumed in moderation, says clinical dietician Elisabetta Politi of the Duke Lifestyle and Weight Management Center in Durham, North Carolina.

She added: “Honey may help prevent heart disease as it is an antioxidant source.”

Diego Garzon, a professional dietitian at UHealth, the University of Miami Health System, notes that a recent study found that eating about two tablespoons of honey daily in addition to a healthy diet may improve cholesterol levels by reducing LDL cholesterol and triglycerides while improving HDL cholesterol.

“Honey is sugar like any other sugar,” Garzon said. “At the end of the day, it should only be consumed in a very small amount.”

The US National Honey Board says darker honey has a higher antioxidant content than lighter honey, with Illinois buckwheat honey exhibiting the highest antioxidant activity. Garzon advises consuming raw honey, which hasn’t been processed or filtered, regardless of the flower source since “it tends to be a very pure form of honey without any of the nutritional content being compromised,” he says.

Honey has the ability to heal wounds, reduce inflammation, and fight infections. According to the National Library of Medicine, honey has some ingredients that may be able to fight specific germs and fungi, prevent skin from sticking to wound dressings, and supply nutrients that may hasten the healing process.

a higher antioxidant content than lighter honey, with Illinois buckwheat honey exhibiting the highest antioxidant activity.

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