For several thousand years now, humanity has been exploring nature and discovering its beneficiary properties. Biggest focus of this quest has always been life longevity and health. In this field, honey ranked high very early, for visible results. Now, we finally have scientific evidences, which explain why does honey have such power medicinal properties. It is a fact, honey improves heart health and protects against cardiovascular diseases. This study was done 10 years ago by the Department of Pharmacology, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Health Campus, located at 16150 Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia.

Honey Improves Heart Health And Protect Against Cardiovascular Diseases – Study

Antioxidant substances in produce and other foods may actually represent a modern-day “fountain of youth.” Evidences suggest that vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, may reduce the risk of some forms of cancer, heart disease, strokes, and cataracts and may slow the aging process (National Honey Board, 2007). Honey is a remarkably complex natural liquid that is reported to contain at least 181 substances (White, 1975). The composition of honey is variable and primarily depends on the floral source; however, certain external factors may play a role also, such as seasonal and environmental factors and processing. Honey is a supersaturated solution of sugars, of which fructose (38%) and glucose (31%) are the main contributors. A wide range of minor constituents is also present in honey, many of which are known to have antioxidant properties (Ferreres et al., 1992Andrade et al., 1997).

Many epidemiological studies have shown that regular intake of phenolic compounds which is associated with reduced risk of heart diseases. In coronary heart disease, the protective effects of phenolic compounds include mainly antithrombotic, anti-ischemic, anti-oxidant, and vasorelaxant. It is suggested that flavonoids decrease the risk of coronary heart disease by three major actions: improving coronary vasodilatation, decreasing the ability of platelets in the blood to clot, and preventing low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) from oxidizing. In this review paper, we discussed the preventive role of polyphenols of honey against cardiovascular diseases.

Some of the polyphenols like quercetin, acacetin, caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), kaempferol, and galangin present in honey have been reported as promising pharmaceutical drugs in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

Gram for gram, antioxidants in buckwheat honey equals those of fruits and vegetables,” said Dr. May Berenbaum, head of the University of Illinois’ entomology department. “It packs the antioxidant power of Vitamin C in a tomato.” Researchers at the University of Illinois-Champaign/Urbana have identified the antioxidant values of 14 unifloral honeys. The antioxidative components of honey were compared to an ascorbic acid standard. The water-soluble antioxidant content of the honey samples varied more than 20-fold, from a high value of 4.32×10−3 eq for Illinois buckwheat honey to a low value of 21.3×10−5 eq for California button sage honey. Research showed a correlation between color and antioxidant capacity, with the darker honeys providing the highest levels of antioxidants. With antioxidant levels reaching 4.32×10−3 meq., honey rivals those levels found in tomatoes (2.83×10−3 meq) and sweet corn (1.36×10−3 meq). Although honey by itself may not serve as a major source of dietary antioxidants, it demonstrates the potential for honey to play a role in providing antioxidants in a highly palatable form. Due to honey’s pleasing taste, it may be more readily consumed by individuals reluctant to ingest plant-derived antioxidants. Certainly, compared to sucrose, which has no antioxidant value, honey can be a flavorful, supplementary source of antioxidants (National Honey Board: Food Technology Program, cited 2009).

According to Beretta et al. (2007), the experiments with endothelial cells fortified with the isolated fraction from native honey enriched in antioxidants, exposed to peroxyl radicals from 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (AAPH, 10 mM) and to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2, 50–100 microM), indicated that phenolic acids and flavonoids were the main causes of the protective effect. They suggested that, through the synergistic action of its antioxidants, honey by reducing and removing ROS, may lower the risks and effects of acute and chronic free radical induced pathologies in vivo.

Rakha et al. (2008) showed that natural wild honey may exert its cardioprotective and therapeutic effects against epinephrine-induced cardiac disorders and vasomotor dysfunction directly, via its very pronounced total antioxidant capacity and its great wealth of both enzymatic and nonenzymatic antioxidants involved in cardiovascular defense mechanisms.”

Conclusion

“Antioxidants present in honey come from a variety of sources, and include Vitamin C, monophenolics, flavonoids, and polyphenolics. Regular flavonoid intake is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases. In the coronary heart disease, the protective effects of flavonoids include mainly antithrombotic, antiischemic, antioxidant, and vasorelaxant and flavonoids decrease the risk of coronary heart disease by three major actions: (a) improving coronary vasodilatation, (b) decreasing the ability of platelets in the blood to clot, and (c) preventing LDLs from oxidizing. Although there is a wide spectrum of polyphenols types, quercetin, caffeic acid phenethyl ester, acacetin, kaempferol, galangin, predominate in many honeys. This review has clearly demonstrated that certain honey polyphenols have a promising pharmacological role in preventing cardiovascular diseases. After generating more in-depth and exhaustive information of these compounds jointly in vitro and in vivo studies, clinical trials should be initiated to further validate these compounds in medical applications.”

Hope you all enjoyed reading this study on how honey improves heart health and protects against cardiovascular diseases, I surely did! Stay safe!

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