Honey is well known for its natural health benefits over refined sugar and artificial sweeteners for healthy weight management. There is research to suggest that honey can combat the symptoms of pollen allergies, heal wounds with its antibacterial properties, promote sleep, sooth coughs and improve Cholesterol. What we don’t hear so often is the potential health benefits of honey for runners and endurance athletes. Whether you’re a super-athlete (a morning run means a swift 10K before work) or just starting out and looking for ways to keep going for longer, here’s what you need to know about fuelling with honey.
Honey for runners
Honey contains a greater percentage of fructose than sugar which means it raises blood sugar more slowly. This keeps energy levels more even and its carbohydrate-rich content makes it an ideal food for powering longer runs. Honey’s natural unrefined sugars are quickly and easily absorbed by the body.
Researchers from the University of Memphis discovered honey is one of the most effective forms of carbohydrate to eat just before exercise – containing a similar profile to sports gels. They decided to conduct an experiment to test its performance in a group of endurance cyclists. The cyclists consumed either a sports gel or 15g of honey every 10 miles during a 40km time trial. The results showed the honey was just as effective as the sports gel in preventing fatigue and improving race time. A spectacular result for a 100% natural product versus a product designed specifically for the purpose of boosting athletic performance and often containing artificial preservatives, colourings and sweeteners.
Honey can also help your body recover from intense exercise like a long-distance run by reducing the inflammation caused by impact. It is believed that the anti-inflammatory benefits are from the flavonoids in honey which is rich in phenolic acids. Flavonoids act as natural antioxidants which help counterbalance the physical stress of exercise.
It’s the balance of fructose and glucose that determines whether a honey is clear or set. A higher fructose content results in runnier honey. David Bondi, Chairman of the Honey Association says, “Different types of honey, such as acacia or clover honey, are absorbed at different rates, depending on the balance of the different types of sugars”. Fructose is absorbed more slowly and evenly than glucose – perfect for endurance sport.
Tregothnan’s Cornish bee hives are located on sites across the extensive rural estate, spread throughout the Duchy. This liquid gold is ethically produced with respect for the bee colony and the product. All the honey cropped from the bee colonies is mature, raw, unpasteurised and cold extracted to ensure preservation of natures bounty. Combine the boost of performance in sport with the great flavour of our raw and unpasteurised Cornish honey and you have a winning combination.