Honey has health benefits

As delicious as honey tastes, it does a lot more than just sweeten your tea and baked goods: This delightful treat has some surprising additional uses.

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What’s in Honey?

Before diving into the health benefits of honey, let’s explore exactly what makes up this sweet stuff. A tablespoon of honey contains about 17 grams of sugar. The types of sugar you’ll find in honey typically include fructose, maltose, glucose, and sucrose. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Composition Database reports a total of 96 nutrients in this tasty treat.

Health Benefits of Honey

Honey can be a healthy part of a balanced diet and your personal care regimen, plus have a place in your medicine cabinet. Here’s how.


  • Honey contains different antioxidants, depending on the flowers from which the bees’ nectar comes. In general, darker honey has more antioxidants than its lighter colored counterpart, according to the National Institutes of Health.
  • Trying to reduce your processed sugar intake? Honey tastes sweeter than table sugar, so you can use less of it.
  • Honey is a great energy booster, packing in 17 grams of carbohydrates per teaspoon. It also has B vitamins, which help your body make energy.

Personal Care

  • Did you know honey benefits your skin and hair? It attracts and holds in moisture, making it a great boost to your regular moisturizer.
  • Because of its dermatological benefits, honey is now included in many popular, natural alternatives to traditional products — like lip balm, cleansing milk, sunburn treatment, shampoo, and conditioner.

Healing and Illness Prevention

  • Honey’s benefits also extend to the treatment of minor scrapes, cuts, and burns. Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties soothe and protect injuries like these from infection.
  • You can also use honey to treat skin conditions, including pityriasis, tinea, dandruff, diaper rash, psoriasis, rosacea, hemorrhoids, seborrhea, acne, and anal fissures.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends honey to soothe coughs. It’s a treatment that also can lead to better sleep for the whole family during cold season.

Is Honey Healthy? Yes and No

While honey can provide you with many advantages, it can be dangerous for infants younger than a year old due to their immature digestive and immune systems.

Also, remember to eat honey in moderation. Eating too much honey can raise your blood sugar, just as having too much processed, granulated, or powdered sugar can. Based on advice from the American Heart Association, men should limit their intake of added sugars to nine teaspoons a day, while women should have no more than six teaspoons per day.

Consider incorporating honey into your meals, your personal care routine, or your first aid kit to experience its rewards for yourself.

Want to learn more about honey’s health benefits? Visit Nutrition Services at UPMC or call 412-692-4497 to make an appointment.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .

United States Department of Agriculture, Food Composition Database. Basic Report: 19296, Honey. Saeed Samarghandian, Tahereh Farkhondeh, and Fariborz Samini. Honey and Health: A Review of Recent Clinical Research. US National Library of Medicine. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Antibiotic Prescribing and Use: Treatment for Common Illnesses. “Will antibiotics help for these common infections?”. American Heart Association. Added Sugars.

About UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital

For more than a century, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital has provided high-quality medical care to women at all stages of life. UPMC Magee is long-renowned for its services to women and babies but also offers a wide range of care to men as well. Our patient-first approach ensures you and your loved ones get the care you need. Nearly 10,000 babies are born each year at Magee, and our NICU is one of the largest in the country. Our network of care – from imaging centers to hospital services – provides care throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland, giving you a chance to get the expert care you need close to home. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recognizes UPMC Magee as a National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, and the Magee-Womens Research Institute is the largest research institute in the U.S. devoted exclusively to women’s health and reproductive biology.