Honey's main antioxidants are flavonoids. Others include other polyphenols, enzymes, organic acids, other plant pigments, peptides (protein fragments) and terpenes, as well as salicylic acid (aspirin), vitamins C and E, selenium and zinc. Their combined effect is much greater than expected from their individual amounts.

Certain honeys have an antioxidant level 150 times higher than others. The level varies according to the amounts and types of the nectar and honeydew sources.

Health benefits

Honey's antioxidants discourage the oxidation of cholesterol and other fats that increases when the body is stressed by, for example, smoking, too much sun or exercise, or an unhealthy diet, and can cause inflammation and cell damage.

Certain honeys are particularly rich in antioxidants. Others are allocated a bioactivity rating according to their antioxidant content: 10+, for example, is high and 20+ very high. In contrast, clover honey only scores 3+. In contrast, an apple would score 4+, broccoli 10+, blueberries 19+, spinach 20+ and blackcurrants 32+.

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