How Honey Affects Cholesterol Levels

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A dish with honeycomb on a wooden table.
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Cholesterol is vitally important to a number of human functions including the production of several hormones and is used in cell membranes. However, high cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, the nation's number one cause of death. There are two types of cholesterol. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) is known as the "bad" cholesterol because it sticks to artery walls and is the root of problems derived from high cholesterol. High-density lipoproteins (HDL) is known as the "good" cholesterol because it cleans out the dangerous LDL stuck on the arterial walls.

Effect on Total Cholesterol

Honey is emerging as a healthy, non-drug option to help reduce cholesterol numbers. Research is beginning to suggest that it does in fact reduce cholesterol readings. Two separate studies conducted on the effects of honey on cholesterol came up with similar conclusions. A study published in "The Scientific World Journal" had participants who consumed 70g of honey for 30 days. The test group showed a reduction of total cholesterol by 3 percent, while a similar study published in the "Journal of Medicinal Food" showed a reduction in total cholesterol of 8 percent.

Effect on LDL

A deeper look into the studies showed even better results. Both studies concluded that not only does honey lower total cholesterol, but both showed a reduction in LDL cholesterol. "The Scientific World Journal" showed a decrease in LDL of 5.8 percent. The "Journal of Medicinal Food" participants had an average decrease of LDL cholesterol of 11 percent. These reductions are significant because reductions that great can mean a drastic reduction of risk.

Effect on HDL

The final conclusion of both studies was that on top of lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, honey showed to increase HDL cholesterol as well. The "Scientific World Journal" showed an increase of 3.3 percent of the healthful HDL. The "Journal of Medicinal Food" participants had an increase of 2 percent of the beneficial HDL. This increase is exciting because a higher HDL level can help to offset higher numbers of LDL because of its ability to remove LDL from the blood stream.

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