Your diet is crucial in the management of chronic conditions such as PCOS. Sweet treats are not good for it, but is honey good for PCOS? Let's find out!
“Be busy like a bee and sweet like honey!” But isn’t the sweetness harmful in PCOS? Your diet undoubtedly impacts your condition of PCOS. Honey is considered a healthier alternative to sugar due to its many health benefits. But you must wonder, is honey good for PCOS? Keep reading to understand the benefits and risks of consuming honey in PCOS.
Nutritional Profile of Honey
Honey is a natural sweetener made from plant nectar by a long process performed by the bees. There are multiple varieties of honey that exist around the world, depending on the nectar of the flower it is made from, which may vary in taste, colour and even smell.
With zero fat content and a negligible amount of protein and fibre present, honey mainly consists of sugars.
The nutritional value of 100 g of honey is as below:
Source: United States Department of Agriculture (Food Central)
Is Honey Good for PCOS? What are the Benefits?
Though beneficial for your overall health, is honey good for PCOS patients? Yes, honey can be beneficial for PCOS when consumed in moderation. Some of the ways honey benefits PCOS patients include:
1. Rich in Antioxidants
Honey is a rich source of plant-based beneficial compounds known as polyphenols. It is also high in antioxidants such as flavonoids and phenolic acids which can prevent oxidative damage which can often lead to inflammation in PCOS, premature ageing, Type 2 Diabetes, and heart diseases.
The high amount of antioxidants in honey may help lower insulin resistance in your cells, which is common in most women with PCOS. This can help improve your blood sugar levels and lower the amount of insulin produced in your body. For the same reason, the antioxidants in honey may also help reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes in women who have PCOS.
2. Safer Alternative to White Sugar
Women with PCOS are at a higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes due to increased insulin resistance in PCOS. Though it raises your blood sugar levels just like any other form of sugar, the antioxidant content in honey may help protect you against Type 2 Diabetes.
Also, honey comes with a glycaemic index lower than that of regular white sugar. This means it will cause a slower rise in your blood sugar levels and not a sudden spike.
3. May Prevent Weight Gain
Excess weight gain is another common symptom of PCOS due to the increased production of androgens (male hormones). Therefore, it is important for women with PCOS to keep a track of their food intake and physical activity to prevent sudden weight gain. Some studies suggest that the consumption of honey may lead to a reduction in fat and body weight.
4.May Act as an Antidepressant
Depression and anxiety can be other complications caused due to the mood swings in PCOS. As per studies, honey comes with antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties that can help elevate your mood and alleviate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
What is the Best Time to Eat Honey for PCOS?
The best time to take honey for PCOS is before going to bed at night. This keeps your blood sugar levels stable throughout the night and aids in weight loss by speeding up the fat-burning process. Also, honey may also help in improving your sleep quality if you have PCOS, as many patients often experience disturbed due to hormonal imbalance.
How to Take Honey for PCOS?
For safe consumption of honey in PCOS, it is best to limit your consumption to not more than 1 teaspoon (6 to 7 g) of honey mixed with a glass of water in one day.
It is best to consume honey in moderation to avoid any spikes in your blood sugar levels and to prevent weight gain, as sugar is the main constituent of honey.
Risks of Overconsumption of Honey in PCOS
Every food when consumed in excess can lead to side-effects. Some of the risks of overconsumption of honey in PCOS include:
- Honey contains an ample amount of carbs, sugars and calories which could promote weight gain.
- Going overboard with honey in PCOS may lead to a spike in your blood sugar and insulin levels.
- The high fructose content in honey may cause constipation and if you have existing digestive issues, overconsumption of honey can make it worse.
- As it is made mostly of sugar, honey can lead to tooth decay when consumed more than recommended.
What are the Other Health Benefits of Honey?
Some of the other health benefits of honey include:
- It may improve your heart health and reduce your risk of developing heart disease due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- It may be used as a cough suppressant for children.
- It has strong antimicrobial and antibacterial properties which can help prevent and treat infections and strengthen your immune system.
- The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and humectant (moisture-retaining) properties can help soothe your skin and keep it healthy.
Don’t Have Time To Read?
- Honey is a natural sweetener made by bees from the nectar of flowers. Honey contains no fat and a negligible amount of protein and fibre, but consists mainly of sugars.
- Honey can be beneficial for PCOS when consumed in moderation. Some of the ways honey benefits PCOS patients is by lowering insulin resistance, preventing weight gain and alleviating mood swings.
- The best time to take honey for PCOS is before going to bed as it helps stabilise your blood sugar levels as well as promote sleep quality.
- It is best to limit your consumption to not more than 1 teaspoon (6 to 7 g) of honey mixed with a glass of water in a day. It is best to consume honey in moderation to avoid any spikes in blood sugar levels and prevent weight gain as sugar is the main constituent.
- Some of the risks of overconsumption of honey in PCOS include weight gain, spikes in blood sugar levels, constipation and tooth decay.
- Some of the other health benefits of honey include it may improve your heart health and reduce the risk of developing heart diseases, may be used as a cough suppressant for children, and as an antibacterial or antimicrobial to prevent infections.
- Start your PCOS management journey with Phable. Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading gynaecologists, endocrinologists, nutritionists, and dieticians; order medicines; book lab tests; and get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Check out our store to order healthy treats, weighing scales, fitness bands, and more! We also have a PCOS Management program that provides 360º care.
Friendly Asked Questions
Yes, when consumed in moderation, raw honey can be good for PCOS. This is because honey contains more nutrition and antioxidants than table sugar, and can thus help fight the inflammation that is common in PCOS. However, make sure to consume honey in moderation as it contains a high amount of simple sugars, which lead to weight gain and a spike in insulin resistance in your cells.
Yes, you can eat honey if you have irregular periods but there is no evidence to suggest that honey could improve irregular periods. Make sure to limit your consumption to 1 tablespoon a day as too much honey can lead to weight gain and high blood sugar levels.
Maybe. Some studies have shown that cinnamon can help regulate menstrual cycles in women with PCOS. The antioxidants in honey are also helpful for tackling inflammation and insulin resistance that is common in PCOS.
There is no evidence or research to suggest that they are beneficial for treating PCOS directly. However, since both are rich in antioxidants and help in weight loss, it can be inferred that they may also be helpful in managing inflammation and obesity related to PCOS.