Honey with warm water has been used for centuries for its health benefits. Although it is virtually all sugar from a caloric standpoint—one tablespoon contains 64 calories and 17 grams of sugar (carbohydrates) and each gram represents four calories—it does have trace elements of vitamins and minerals that refined sugar lacks.
Many have turned to natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup in the war against sugar. Although sugar is just as natural as these alternatives, the volume of refined sugars in the North American diet has led to increasing rates of chronic disease.
That said, adding some honey to hot water for tea from time to time is unlikely to do any harm. In fact, hot honey water can provide you with some valuable antioxidants. To get the most benefit from honey, elect darker varieties like Manuka.
Benefits of Drinking Honey with Warm Water
When it comes to the benefits of drinking honey, it’s important not to overstate them. There are some potential health benefits that many enjoy from honey, particularly when treating an acute health condition like a sore throat or cold.
There may also be smaller, more long-term benefits. But it is important to recognize that drinking hot honey lemon water, or a glass of hot honey water in the morning, is not likely to make extraordinary differences in the quality of your health.
Can Help Establish a Healthy Morning Routine
Upon waking, most people are dehydrated and could really use a glass of water. Some experts recommend drinking up to 20 ounces each morning to help stimulate the body, relieve grogginess, and encourage a bowel movement.
Adding a tablespoon of honey to your water every day, or at least a few times per week, may offer some antimicrobial and antiviral benefits to keep infectious pathogens at bay.
May Aid Digestion
Drinking some hot water, honey, and lemon, or even cold water, may offer some benefits for your digestive system. The combination may help boost stomach acid production and bile secretion. These benefits can help reduce symptoms of gas and bloating. The digestive enzymes in raw, organic honey can provide further benefits, and it’s a good idea to take it about 20 minutes before breakfast.
May Provide Some Benefits to Blood Pressure
High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, and honey could have a small role in reducing your risk. The antioxidant compounds found in honey may help reduce inflammation, which many scientists believe contributes to elevated blood pressure. Studies on both humans and animals have shown small reductions in blood pressure following honey consumption.
May Improve Cholesterol Profile
The amount and type of cholesterol in your bloodstream will greatly influence your heart health. Higher levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol can lead to atherosclerosis—blockages in arteries—that make it more difficult for blood to pass through.
On the other hand, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol can help break down the blockages, reduce inflammation, and provide heart health benefits. Several studies have indicated that honey can improve cholesterol levels by both reducing LDL and increasing HDL when compared to table sugar.
May Manage Allergic Reactions
It’s possible that eating raw local honey could reduce the severity of pollen allergies. For this effect to take place, you would have to eat honey harvested close to where you live. This way, it would be rich in the pollens that surround you. The microdose may help you build a tolerance to the pollen over time.
Beware the Exaggerated Benefits of Honey in Warm Water
There is a wealth of information available on the supposed benefits of drinking honey water, lemon honey water, or hot honey water and cinnamon. Much of it promotes these drinks as magical, all-purpose healers. They are not.
While putting some honey and lemon in your tea can be quite soothing for a sore throat, there are no magic antioxidants or nutrients in honey with warm water that you can’t find in other nutritious foods that are actually better for you.
The antioxidant polyphenols in honey are also found in a number of fruits, vegetables, tea, and olive oil, and they provide the fiber that honey lacks. Honey may contain more vitamins and minerals than other sweeteners, but the reality is that you would have to consume jars of it to attain long-term therapeutic benefits.
So, if you’re not currently drinking honey in warm water, it’s not imperative that you go out and buy some—especially if you’re eating a healthy, well-rounded diet. The drink is, however, a useful tool for someone trying to wean themselves off sugar or for satisfying the occasional sweet tooth.
Does Drinking Honey and Hot Water Help with Weight Loss?
The Internet is filled with news about the weight loss effects of honey and water mixtures. Are they true? Yes and no. Honey doesn’t have any scientifically proven fat-burning or muscle-building capabilities. It won’t rev up your metabolism or shed fat.
However, drinking more water in general can aid weight loss. Research has shown that drinking water can raise your resting metabolism and suppress your appetite when consumed before meals. Therefore, if your morning bottle of water is a little easier to bear with a tablespoon of honey or lemon, go ahead and add some.
Also, if you’re replacing a bottle of cola or fruit juice with a tablespoon of honey in warm water every day, you will probably be consuming less overall calories. Just remember that honey is sugar without fiber, so it’s not necessarily the ideal combo for weight loss. Therefore, hot honey water for weight loss can be a bit misleading.
Healthy Hot Honey Water Recipes to Try
For those of you trying to move away from sugary, fatty, and calorically dense coffees in the morning, honey-sweetened teas and drinks may be the way to go. The typical combos include lemon, cinnamon, or both.
Honey with Warm Water and Lemon
- Because it’s best to take your honey with warm water, you’re going to want to boil the water first and allow it to cool so it’s warm to the touch.
- Next, add a tablespoon of raw, organic Manuka honey and stir until it’s dissolved.
- Squeeze in some fresh lemon juice.
Honey with Warm Water and Cinnamon
- Steep one teaspoon of cinnamon in a cup of hot water for 30 minutes.
- Next, add a half-teaspoon of honey and stir well.
The above mixtures may help boost immunity (if taken daily) and be used to battle coughs and colds. Drinking them first thing in the morning, before you’ve eaten, may provide the greatest benefit.
Are There Any Side Effects of Drinking Honey with Hot Water?
Because honey, as mentioned, is sugar, it can contribute to some of the same health issues as traditional sugar. If you have diabetes or metabolic syndrome, for example, honey may spike blood sugar levels. It can also lead to weight gain if you’re consuming it multiple times per day.
Two tablespoons, for example, offer roughly the same sugar serving as a can of “Coke.” If you’re using a couple tablespoons to sweeten your morning tea, having some yogurt for lunch, and then drinking another honey-sweetened tea later in the day, those sugar calories can really add up. To limit this, try to restrict usage to one or two tablespoons per day.
Honey may also cause allergic reactions in some people, including anaphylaxis, so use with caution. If you have a known bee or honey allergy, stay away from it. This is especially true if consuming raw honey.
Raw and pasteurized honey may also lead to:
- Food poisoning (raw)
- Abdominal pain (if overconsumed)
- Tooth decay
- Drug interactions
Use Only High-Quality, Unadulterated Honey
Not all honey is created equal, and the general consensus is that a darker honey features more of the antioxidant benefits than others. Manuka honey, for instance, seems to have the most research support. But that doesn’t mean you can’t buy poor-quality Manuka honey.
Regardless of what type of honey you prefer, there are some ways you can assess its quality.
Read the label: The first step is to look at the ingredients list and make sure there is no high-fructose corn syrup or commercial glucose. These are added to some honey products to keep them from solidifying. Avoid them!
Solidification: Honey is a liquid that solidifies with time. If you buy honey that’s already solidified, you can bet that it’s pure. If it’s a liquid and doesn’t solidify within a few days, or upon being refrigerated, it is not pure honey and likely has additives. You want your honey to solidify.
Tests to See If Your Honey Is Pure:
- If the honey immediately dissolves in water, it is not pure. Pure honey will stay together when submerged.
- Take a bit of honey and mix it with some water. Place four to five drops of vinegar into the solution. If it foams, it is not pure.
- Scoop some honey into a spoon and let it fall from the spoon. If it runs out quickly, it is likely not pure. If it stays on the spoon or creeps off very slowly, it’s pure.
- Light a match and try to burn a little honey. If it burns, it’s pure. Impure honey contains water that will prevent burning.
- Take a piece of old, hard bread and submerge it in honey for 10 minutes. If the bread is still hard after that time, the honey is pure. If there is a lot of water added, the bread will soften.
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