Aloe vera is an edible succulent plant with a variety of health benefits. The inside of this plant is gooey and slightly bitter, so most people prefer sweetened aloe vera drinks to foods. Consuming an aloe and honey drink can support the health of various organ systems throughout your body.
Honey Nutrition and Benefits
According to the USDA, each tablespoon (21 grams) of honey has 63 calories. Honey is pure carbohydrate, with 17.3 grams of carbs per tablespoon. Virtually all of this (17.2 grams) is sugar. There are no major nutrients in honey, but you might find trace amounts of certain essential nutrients like B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, iron, potassium, copper, manganese and selenium. A September 2018 article in the journal Molecules reported that honey also contains a variety of beneficial antioxidants.
While honey is considered a healthier sweetener compared to table sugar and artificial sweeteners, like sucralose or Splenda, it is still considered an added sugar. According to the American Heart Association, the average man shouldn't consume more than 36 grams (150 calories) from added sugar per day, while the average woman shouldn't consume more than 25 grams (100 calories) per day. If all your daily added sugars were to come from honey, this would be the equivalent of 50 grams (3.3 tablespoons) of honey for men and 33 grams (2 tablespoons) of honey for women.
Replacing sugar and artificial sweeteners with honey can have various benefits for your health. The review in Molecules reported that honey can:
- Help combat microbial infections.
- Help combat cancer and tumors by preventing their spread.
- Help combat asthma.
- Regulate blood sugar levels.
- Protect the cardiovascular system.
- Protect the central nervous system.
- Protect the respiratory system.
- Reduce inflammation.
These benefits are largely thanks to honey's phenolic compounds and other antioxidants.
Although honey is certainly healthy and beneficial, you shouldn't consume it in excessive amounts because it's an added sugar. According to the Mayo Clinic, excessive sugar consumption can increase your triglyceride levels and risk of tooth decay, and potentially also cause weight gain.
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Aloe Vera Juice Nutrition Facts
The average aloe vera juice you'll find at the supermarket is usually filled with added sugars and might be fortified with a variety of nutrients. Such products don't have very many health benefits. However, if you're making your own aloe vera juice, the benefits can be substantial.
If you drink plain aloe vera juice, a 200-milliliter (6.8-ounce) serving has less than 5 calories. This is because aloe gel is 98 to 99 percent water. Despite this, the remaining 1 to 2 percent of this plant contains a variety of nutrients. According to a January 2017 study in the journal Trends in Food Science & Technology, aloe contains a range of essential vitamins and minerals, including:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B1 (thiamin)
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (niacin)
- Vitamin B9 (folic acid)
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin C
There are also more than 200 different beneficial bioactive compounds in aloe vera gel — the inside of the plant that you would use to make juice. These include lignins, saponins, anthraquinones and other antioxidants. Most of aloe vera juice's benefits come from these bioactive compounds.
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Aloe Vera Juice Benefits
- Help resolve allergic reactions.
- Reduce inflammation.
- Modulate the immune system.
- Support wound healing, including burn and sunburn healing.
- Support healing of infections.
- Prevent the growth of tumors.
- Prevent constipation and promote regular bowel movements.
- Protect the liver.
- Protect the skin.
- Lower blood sugar levels.
Aloe vera also has anti-ulcer, antidiabetic, anti-obesity and antimicrobial properties. However, you should be aware that the majority of these benefits have only been tested in animals.
That being said, a small December 2015 study in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine showed that aloe vera can be used to reduce symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, like heartburn, nausea, regurgitation, flatulence and indigestion. Several studies, including a January 2014 study in the Journal of Food Science and Technology and a March 2016 article in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics also showed that aloe vera could reduce blood pressure and blood sugar levels in diabetics, as well as improve glycemic control.
Unfortunately, this wide range of benefits may not be present in all aloe vera products. The processing that aloe vera plants undergo when turned into commercially available food products can decrease or degrade a variety of the nutrients and beneficial bioactive compounds in this plant. If you want to obtain the maximum possible amount of aloe vera juice benefits, you should buy whole leaves and make your drink at home.
Consuming Aloe Vera and Honey
Given the variety of benefits aloe vera and honey have, it's tempting to consume these items constantly. However, it's also possible to have too much of a good thing.
Some of the beneficial compounds in aloe vera play multiple roles in your body. For example, anthraquinones are able to act as antioxidants, but can also have a laxative effect. This also isn't the only laxative compound in the plant. If you consume a lot of aloe vera juice regularly, you may find that it gives you gastrointestinal issues rather than helping you maintain regular bowel movements.
While ingesting large amounts of honey isn't good for you due to its sugar content, honey isn't exactly toxic in large amounts. A December 2014 study in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine reported that consumption of too much aloe vera can be dangerous. In large amounts, the aloe vera leaf's pulp caused decreased amounts of red blood cells, sperm damage and central nervous system dysfunction in animals. While it's unlikely that you would consume enough aloe and honey drink to cause such health issues, be aware that aloe can bad for your health in excess.
- MyFoodData: "Nutrition Facts for Honey"
- Molecules: "Phenolic Compounds in Honey and Their Associated Health Benefits: A Review"
- American Heart Association: "Added Sugars"
- Mayo Clinic: "Added Sugars: Don't Get Sabotaged by Sweeteners"
- Trends in Food Science & Technology: "Aloe Vera: Ancient Knowledge With New Frontiers"
- Journal of Plant Sciences: "Bioactive Compounds and Medicinal Properties of Aloe vera L.: An Update"
- Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine: "Efficacy and Safety of Aloe Vera Syrup for the Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: A Pilot Randomized Positive-Controlled Trial"
- Journal of Food Science and Technology: "Hypoglycemic and Hypolipidemic Effect of Aloe vera L. in Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetics"
- Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics: "Effect of Aloe Vera on Glycaemic Control in Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta‐Analysis"
- Current Research of Journal Biological Science: "Nutritional and Phytochemical Screening of Aloe barbadensis"
- Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine: "Evaluation of Biological Properties and Clinical Effectiveness of Aloe Vera: A Systematic Review"