What is the nutritional value of honey?

Most of us have honey in our homes, but you may think it belongs in the pantry rather than in the medicine cabinet! While honey has been used for centuries as a beauty product and medicine, today people are still turning to active honey for its health benefits.

When honey bees take nectar from flowers and turn it into honey (read more on how honey is made here), other components are naturally incorporated into the honey such as organic acids, proteins, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols. The combination of these tiny ingredients contributes to both the health properties and flavour [1]. Below are some of the amazing nutritional properties of honey.


Honey can contain enzymes such as phosphatase, amylase, glucose oxidase, invertase, diastase and catalase [2]. These enzymes are involved in the ripening and preservation of the honey for the benefit of the bee larvae [3] and comes from the nectar itself or is added by the bees during the honey ripening phase. Invertase and glucose oxidase are also responsible for breaking down carbohydrates.

Trace Elements

Honey has been found to contains small amounts of 54 different minerals and elements from honeys examined all over the world [4]. These include potassium, sodium, iron, B vitamins and vitamin C.

Bioactive Components

Honey sourced from Australian or New Zealand Leptospermum trees contains a unique compound called Methylglyoxal, which is the key component used to measure the antibacterial activity of Manuka honey. To read more about Capilano Manuka Honey, click here. Honey also contains other bioactive ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide and non-peroxide activity, which is measured as Total Activity and appears on packaging as a TA+ number. In all forms of medicinal honey, the higher the number, the higher the level of activity of that honey.


Phenolics such as courmaric acid, gallic acid and caffeic acid contribute to the antioxidant properties of honey [7]. The composition of polyphenols in honey varies widely by floral origin [5,6,7].


We can thank bees for the incredible health properties of honey

  1. Bogdanov, S., et al., Honey for nutrition and health: a review. J Am Coll Nutr, 2008. 27(6): p. 677-89.

  2. Ropa Science Research, Comparison of Mineral and Enzyme Levels in Raw and Processed Honey. National Honey Board and American Analytical Chemistry Laboratories: Wisconsin, USA. p. 1-7.

  3. ‘Airborne. Honey Enzymes’

  4. Solayman, M., et al. Physiochemical Properties, Minerals, Trace Elements, and Heavy Metals in Honey of Different Origins: A Comprehensive Review. 2016.

  5. Gheldof, N., Wang, X. H., and Engeseth, N. J. (2002). Identification and quantification of antioxidant components of honeys from various floral sources. J. Agric. Food Chem. 50, 5870–5877. doi: 10.1021/jf0256135

  6. Petretto, G. L., Cossu, M., and Alamanni, M. C. (2015). Phenolic content, antioxidant, and physico-chemical properties of Sardinian monofloral honeys. Int. J. Food Sci. Technol. 50, 482–491. doi: 10.1111/ijfs.12652

  7. Cianciosi, D., et al. (2018) Phenolic Compounds in Honey and their Associated Health Benefits: A Review. Molecules. 23,2322:doi:10.3390/molecules23092322

Capilano Bee