Eating honey to prevent allergies probably won’t help. Honeybees gather pollen from the very plants that cause your itchy eyes, so consuming a small daily dose of the local honey—and subsequently these pollens—may stimulate your immune system and reduce allergies, explains Miguel P. Wolbert, an allergist and immunologist at the Allergy & Asthma Care Center in Evansville, Indiana. But the pollens that cause sneezing and congestion—such as ragweed—are windborne, while the pollens bees collect are too heavy to fly in the breeze. Windborne pollens can fall onto flowers, get picked up by bees and end up in honey, says Wolbert, “but it’s likely to be a very, very small amount.” Not enough to make a difference. And, so far, no clinical evidence shows that honey alleviates allergy symptoms. Find out which foods may actually help fight allergies and asthma here.
Healthy Tip: Even though it’s not likely that honey will help your allergies, Wolbert says, “I don’t tell my patients not to eat it.” Honey has other things going for it: it has equal parts glucose and fructose and research suggests this carb blend may be superior to straight glucose for boosting energy during endurance activities. Honey also contains some antioxidants and vitamins—and the darker the honey, the more disease-fighting compounds it contains.