At quick glance honey is honey. But just like wine, honey has many nuances. Although on average 1 tablespoon of honey contains approximately 17 grams of sugar—fructose, glucose, maltose and sucrose—it is considered better for you than refined sugar. In fact, studies have shown regular honey consumption to result in 11-19% lower blood triglyceride levels (a risk factor for heart disease) compared to regular sugar consumption.
It is also thought to help lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and increasing HDL or “good” cholesterol. This is in large part because it is rich in antioxidants and bioactive plant compounds. Darker varieties of honey, are thought to have higher health benefits and higher amounts of these compounds than lighter honey. Raw and unfiltered honey contains beneficial pollen and propolis, which helps maintain a clean and healthy environment in the beehive and helps bees fight against infections
While small-batch and artisan honey producers are increasingly bringing tasty and innovative honey products to market, they are also excellent advocates for the plight of bees. More than most people realize, the food chain depends heavily on bees to pollinate crops. When buying honey, look for companies that support healthy bee initiatives.