A study on anti-oxidant properties of 36 honeys from different floral origins finds that honeys produced by bees feeding on honeydew have greater antioxidant properties than those produced by feeding on nectar. Says researcher Rosa Ana Pérez, who works at the Instituto Madrileño de Investigación y Desarrollo Rural, Agrario y Alimentario, in Madrid, Spain,'Honey is a natural source of antioxidants, and among honeys, honeydew honey is the best,'
Naturally occurring antioxidants are important ingredients of many foods, and keenly sought in many 'health foods'. They are believed to help protect people from diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disorders, neurodegenerative diseases and aging. They operate by mopping up potentially damaging free radicals that are released in the body.
The composition of honey depends greatly on where honeybees collect their raw materials. There are two key types of source. First, honeybees can collect nectar from flowers, and this generates nectar honeys. Secondly they can collect fluids that exude from plants, usually after a plant-sucking insect has visited the plants; this generates honeydew honeys.
Each of the 36 honeys was exposed to a range of physical and chemical tests. Honeys with high antioxidant properties (measured by the DPPH test) also had high total polyphenol content, net absorbance (as colour parameter), pH and electrical conductivity.
'These laboratory results show some aspects that people could use to get an idea about which honeys are likely to have the most potent antioxidant properties,' states Pérez.