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Is Honey Good for Gut Health?
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Is Honey Good for Gut Health?

General Health


Charlotte Pearse

There are a lot of health benefits to honey, and there are a lot of reasons to keep your gut healthy. Here’s how honey can help improve gut health.

Everyone is always trying to find new ways to get healthy, with increasingly complicated methods and diets. However, it might surprise you to know that the best way to improve your health can often be to make minor changes rather than huge ones.

A little exercise can go a long way, for example, and is much better for you than overworking and exhausting yourself. Likewise, you still need to eat the proper amount to be healthy, it’s just a matter of what specifically you are eating that one should be conscious of.

And when it comes to healthy foods and flavors, it doesn’t have to taste terrible or leave your stomach wanting more. For example, honey is very good for you and your gut, and it’s also very sweet.

Here’s how including more honey into your diet can be really beneficial to you, and improve upon your health— specifically, your gut health.

Importance of Gut Health

The phrase “gut health” specifically refers to how the different parts of your gastrointestinal tract work together, and the balance of bacteria within it. In a perfect world, everyone’s gut would function flawlessly, but there are a lot of individual cogs, which means there’s a lot of different things that could be thrown off.

Your esophagus, stomach, and intestines all have to function individually and together in order for you to have a supposed healthy gut, which would enable you to eat without feeling any pain or discomfort. 

However, around 70 million people in the United States struggle with digestive diseases, which can in turn lead to further health problems along the way. So, paying attention to one’s gut health is incredibly important.

 We need food for nutrients, and in order to access those nutrients our digestive system needs to break the food down first. An unhealthy gut can make that difficult.

Having a “healthy gut” means having the proper amount of healthy bacteria and immune cells so that harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other infectious diseases can’t set in. 

Your gastrointestinal tract is instrumental in keeping your immune system strong and keeping harmful diseases away.

Your gut should also use nerves and hormones to stay in touch with the brain and keep your general well being in check. After all, healthy bacteria contained in your gut can also have an impact on brain function, so it’s super important for you to take care of your gut.

Because your gut is made up of so many different organs and microbiota working together, one hiccup can cause some pretty big problems. On the bright side, this means that it can be pretty easy to tell if you’re having some gut issues.

Digestive problems such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, gas, constipation, diarrhea, and bloating are fairly normal for everyone to experience once in a while, but if you notice that you’re experiencing these symptoms frequently it could be time to get in touch with your doctor.

An image of a man in a shirt and tie with his hands pressed to his side as if in pain.
Everyone has to suffer through a bit of abdominal pain every now and again, but it’s imperative that you inform your doctor as soon as you notice its persistence. It could be nothing, or it could be the start of a very serious problem. That’s why it’s always vital that you keep your gut health in mind.

If you notice any more drastic symptoms such as bloody or black stools, sudden weight loss, severe stomach aches or vomiting, pain or difficulty when swallowing food, jaundice, or fever, it could be an indicator of a serious gastrointestinal issue, so definitely consult with a doctor as soon as you can.

Your age, your diet, your lifestyle, and your environment can all be contributing factors to a decline in gut health. Some of these are more easily changed than others, of course, but the simplest and best way to improve upon your gut health is to pay more careful attention to the foods you eat!

The food you consume plays a big role in determining the bacterial makeup of your digestive system, so stay away from processed and fried foods when possible. You should also drink alcohol, coffee, and other caffeine filled beverages only in moderation.

Too much fat and sugar in your food can provide sustenance for bad bacteria, so it’s probably best to stay away from those and lean towards more natural, plant-based options. Try to avoid eating out as much as possible!

Fruits and vegetables are always great choices, but you also want to make sure you consume a variety of different foods so that there’s variety in your bacteria as well and you’re getting all of the nutrients you need. Carbohydrates are also great for energy, but go for whole grain rather than white bread!

Either way, what you eat is a big factor in how healthy your gut is, so it’s absolutely essential that you put a lot of thought into it.

Benefits of Honey

Honey is a wonderful natural sweetener that you can use instead of sugar— it’s much healthier for you. There’s a lot of different types, and you can buy it raw or pasteurized. 

Raw honey is put in jars right from the hive, so it’s not very processed and has more antioxidants. It’s largely considered good for everyone except for children under the age of one. Pasteurized honey has a longer shelf life and less potential imperfections, so there are benefits to both.

An image of four unlabeled jars of honey placed on a table outdoors. Three are full, and the fourth is filled up about a quarter of the way.
Both raw and pasteurized honey have health benefits, so it’s up to the individual to weigh the pros and cons. However, many people would argue that honey is at its most healthy when you get it right from the bee as opposed to on a grocery store shelf.

Antioxidants are present in both kinds, however, and can have many health benefits. In addition to being better for your body when consumed because it doesn’t contain a lot of added sugars, it can soothe a cough or sore throat, and even help to treat a wound such as a pressure ulcer or a burn— as shown in some studies. It can be used both orally and topically.

However, like most things, honey is best when taken in moderation. Even if honey is good for you, too much of a good thing can be detrimental to your health. Honey may be healthier than sugar, but that doesn’t mean you should go overboard.

In addition to antioxidants, honey contains amino acids, vitamins, minerals, iron, and zinc, which are all very good for you! In addition, it can be used as an anti-inflammatory and an antibacterial agent.

There have also been several other studies done that show honey can even assist with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Better gut health promotes better mental health as well, so honey assists in an indirect way as well.

Honey is also better for blood sugar levels than typical sugar. Yes, it raises your levels of blood sugar, but its ingredients can help protect against diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and reduce inflammation. It can also help people regulate their blood sugar.

Honey has cardiovascular health benefits as well, as it has been found to reduce risk of heart disease through lowering your blood pressure, improving your blood fat levels, and keeping your healthy cells from dying off. All of these can improve heart health.

Honey is also super easy to add to your diet. It can act as a substitute for sugar in most respects, though you may have to account for texture. It works best as a sweetener in yogurt, coffee, or tea, but it can also be used in baking!

And, of course, honey can be great for your gastrointestinal health. Its healthy ingredients assist with this, sure, but it has also been shown to relieve diarrhea and other gastrointestinal tract conditions that are associated with gastroenteritis, and potentially oral rehydration therapy as well.

Honey for Gut Health

Going more into specifics, honey is much better for your gut health than plain old sugar. Raw honey specifically is a prebiotic, which nourishes beneficial bacteria in your intestines. This helps with digestion.

Prebiotics cannot be digested by our bodies, but only instead by probiotic bacteria, which is good bacteria that lives in our gut. So, prebiotics such as honey act as a source of food for these healthy bacteria so that they can keep doing their jobs.

These good bacteria are also essential to ensure that our gut microbiota, or microorganisms that live in the digestive system. A spoonful of raw honey a day should do the trick to keep your probiotic bacteria fed.

Honey also contains non-digestive oligosaccharides, which aren’t absorbed until they reach your colon, which allows them to ferment and produce short-chain fatty acids which assist with digesting dietary fiber, preventing gut infections, and producing vitamins that are necessary to your digestive system.

Because of this, honey— as well as honeycomb —can help balance out the microbiome of your gut. This term is often used to describe your digestive system as if it's an ecosystem, because so many different organs and microorganisms must work together for everything to function properly, just as in a real ecosystem with animals and plants.

And just like with real ecosystems, you have to do what you can to protect your body and make good choices that will benefit every part of it.

An image of several sliced pears placed on a wooden cutting board on a burlap cloth. Beside the pears on the cutting board is a small pitcher of honey.
As established, there’s a lot of health benefits to honey, but honestly? It truly just tastes amazing. You shouldn’t have to lose out on flavor to stay healthy, and with honey you don’t have to.

Though you should keep an eye on the honey you eat so that you don’t go to the opposite extreme of eating so much it becomes unhealthy, you don’t have to limit yourself to just that single spoonful a day.

Simple Botanics Squares are a great, healthy snack made from natural ingredients that use honey as their main sweetener. You can buy a box of 12 in either flavor— Honey Nut or Chocolate Chip Honey Nut.

Both flavors are only 190 calories per serving, with 0 grams of trans fat and only 6 grams of total sugars. They’re gluten free, dairy free, soy free, refined sugar free, and non-GMO to boot, so they’re great for those with dietary restrictions— though they do contain tree nuts, so keep an eye out if you have allergies.

Honey is one of the most important ingredients in the Simple Botanics Squares, however, because it has so many health benefits, and not just for your gut. Not to mention the fact that it tastes amazing. These squares are the perfect thing to hold you over between meals or satisfy your sweet tooth, even though they’re super healthy.

The almonds and cashews add a good bit of protein, too, and make the squares filling so that you won’t be tempted to go overboard on the snacking.

You won’t want to be eating unhealthy snacks if you stock your pantry with these, and you’ll be contributing to your gut health if you stock up on honey, through Simple Squares or another way.

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