Published by Honeyholics- Friday 5th May 2023
Honey has been used by athletes as a nutritional supplement for centuries. It is a natural source of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making it ideal for athletes as a source of energy and an aid in muscle recovery.
Raw honey contains minerals, electrolytes and vitamins such as Vitamin C, Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc, Iron, and Calcium which are all essential for the proper functioning of the body, as well as helping to regulate muscle contractions whilst maintaining fluid balance. These vitamins and minerals help to support healthy muscle and nerve functioning, which are necessary for optimum performance. The enzymes in honey can also help improve digestion and absorption of nutrients, allowing athletes to benefit from the energy and the key nutrients in honey more efficiently. Significantly, key antioxidants which can help protect the body from free radicals, oxidative stress and inflammation reduction are all contained within honey.
A little well-known fact is that certain carbohydrates are essential for athletes as they provide a readily available source of energy during exercise. Honey is made up of fructose and glucose which are simple carbohydrates (or simple sugars) that can be quickly absorbed and used as energy by the body. This makes it an ideal choice for athletes who need an immediate energy boost before or after a workout. The fructose and glucose also help to stabilise blood sugar levels, which can assist in improving endurance and reducing fatigue, whilst also helping to lessen inflammation in the joints, consequently decreasing the risk of injury.
Overall, honey has a whole host of health benefits. The phytonutrients in honey are responsible for its antioxidant properties, as well as its antibacterial and antifungal power also thought to be the reason raw honey has shown immune-boosting properties which can help to reduce the risk of infection and illness. Notably, this can help to minimise the amount of time needed for recovery after exercise and can help athletes stay healthy and active. For these reasons, honey should be an integral part of any athlete’s diet or even for those enjoying an active healthy lifestyle.
Always remember to check your labels, as many cheap supermarket “honey” brands incorporate corn syrup and other additives that reduce honey’s effectiveness and negatively affect its glycemic profile. Make sure to always use raw, unpasteurised honey to get the maximum benefits.