Is mead good for you?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Is mead good for you?” and will discuss some advantages and disadvantages of mead.

Is mead good for you?

Yes, mead is good for you. Mead contains many antioxidants and antimicrobial properties which are used to treat wounds and infections. Mead is also beneficial for digestion and gut health.

What is mead?

Mead is a kind of fermented beverage. Known as “honey wine,” mead is prepared by fermenting honey into an alcoholic beverage.

 Mead is one of the most ancient drinks known in human history (1). A drink that has been around for almost 4,000 years is one of the oldest ever manufactured. Indeed, mead was consumed by peoples throughout the world’s major continents during the time of the ancient civilizations of Asia, Europe, and Africa. According to data from 2013, Poland is the biggest producer worldwide with 1.2 million liters of mead produced annually (2). 

Because honey is the major fermentable sugar in mead, it falls into a separate category from beer, wine, and cider. Yeast or bacterial cultures are all that is required to produce a simple mead. However, fruits, herbs, spices, cereals, roots, and flowers may also be incorporated into a dish’s composition.

Mead’s alcohol concentration ranges from 5% to 20%, however, this is the most common range. Sparkling and still variants are available, as well as a wide selection of flavors.

Is it true that mead is beneficial for health?

Mead was seen as a symbol of good health and vigor in ancient societies. “The wine of the gods” was frequently alluded to in Greek mythology and given to soldiers after a battle to aid in the healing of their wounds.

Drinking mead is still widely regarded as a way to improve one’s health and as having restorative effects. Although there is some evidence to back up these statements, there is a lack of proof. Mead’s current health claims revolve around the honey from which it is derived and the probiotic content it is said to contain as a consequence of the fermenting process. The phenolic content and antioxidant activity of mead greatly depend on the quality and type of honey used for mead production. Therefore, the influence of botanical origin is significant. Recent studies on phenolic compounds content showed higher phenolic content and higher antioxidant activity in meads compared to white wines  (1).

What are the healing powers of honey in mead?

For millennia, honey has been utilized for both its culinary and medicinal purposes. In both ancient and contemporary medicine, honey has been used for several medical problems because of its powerful antioxidant and antibacterial characteristics. This is due to the phenolic compounds naturally occurring in honey such flavonoids and phenolic acids, which are proven to prevent cancer (1).

To cure wounds and infections on the skin, or to relieve a cough or sore throat, it is often used today. Because honey is used to make mead, some people believe that it has the same therapeutic qualities. Despite this, there is insufficient evidence to back up this claim. The medicinal effects of fermented honey have not yet been established. Numerous studies have shown that honey can be used for prevention of certain diseases, including cancer (melanoma, colorectal, prostate, renal, bladder, and bone cancer), cardiovascular disorders, gastrointestinal tract diseases, and neuroinflammation. These properties are related to the high amount of phenolic compounds of the honey. After heat prior fermentation, the phenolic compounds profile may be changed, but is not eliminated (2).

Mead: Gut Health and Probiotics

As a result of its possible microbial content, mead is often regarded as a health supplement. If you take enough probiotics, they may have a good effect on your immune system and gastrointestinal health. Probiotic food products are formulations containing sufficient numbers of selected live microorganisms (106–107 CFU/mL) that can beneficially modify the intestinal microbiota of the host (3).

There is still a lot of work to do in the field of probiotics and how they might benefit human health. Some studies have shown that probiotics can help prevent and cure chronic illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.

The lack of study on mead as a source of probiotics or how it may affect your health is unfortunate. Variable varieties of mead may also have different levels of probiotics. Because of the fermentation process as well as other substances in the beverage, beneficial microorganisms may be affected.

While the health advantages of mead could be offset by the alcohol level, excessive alcohol use has been linked to a decrease in good bacteria in the stomach. The health advantages of consuming mead as a result of its probiotic content cannot be established until more study is done. However, a study showed that a beverage produced from the fermentation of honey contained strains of probiotics, such as Bacillus megaterium, Lachancea fermentati, Lactobacillus statsumensis, Leuconostoc mesenteroides, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae (3).

What is the amount of Alcohol in mead?

Mead has an alcohol level ranging from 5% to 20%. Regular grape wine, on the other hand, has an alcohol concentration of between 12 and 14 percent. Liver disease, systemic inflammation, and digestive and immunological system dysfunction may all result from excessive alcohol intake.

For women, the American Dietary Guidelines suggest no more than one serving of alcohol per day, and for males, two. Five fluid ounces (148 ml) of mead with 12 percent alcohol by volume is one serving (4). Even if you think that mead is healthy for your health, it’s simple to overindulge because of its relatively high alcohol level.

Any alcoholic beverage should be handled with the same respect as mead. Drinking alcohol is best done in moderation and small doses. Alcohol consumption is associated with mortality from all causes, cancer, or cardiovascular diseases (4).

Can mead initiate allergic responses?

When consumed in moderation, mead is usually accepted by the majority of people. According to the kind of yeast used in the fermenting process, mead is gluten-free. 

Because of this, if you are allergic to gluten, double-check that the mead you want to consume does not include any gluten-containing components. Allergy responses may occur in certain persons, notably those who are allergic or intolerant to honey and alcohol.

There have been reports of anaphylactic responses to honey, even though this is quite uncommon. Because honey and bee pollen may cause severe allergic reactions, you may want to avoid drinking mead. Proteins responsible for honey allergy are derived from the proteins secreted by the bees and from the proteins derived from plant pollens. Individuals with inhalational allergies to particular plants may sometimes exhibit allergies to honey and their derivatives, such as mead (5). Because of its high alcohol level, mead should not be consumed by anybody who has been diagnosed with an alcohol intolerance or allergy.

How many calories are in a serving of mead?

There are several health risks associated with overconsumption of the calorie-laden beverage, mead included. There are several health risks associated with excessive drinking of any kind of alcoholic beverage, including mead.

Mead’s specific nutritional value is unknown, however pure alcohol alone offers 7 calories per gram of mead. At least 100 calories may be found in a single serving of any alcoholic beverage that includes at least 14 grams of alcohol. Calories from mead come also from sugar. Although there is a significant decrease in saccharose and glucose contents during fermentation of honey, sugar is still left in the beverage, specially fructose (1).

Other FAQs about Mead that you may be interested in.

How to bottle mead?

What is the difference between mead and beer?

What is the distinction between mead and beer?

 

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Is mead good for you?” and discussed some advantages and disadvantages of mead.

References

  1. Czabaj, Sławomir, et al. Effects of mead wort heat treatment on the mead fermentation process and antioxidant activity. Molecules, 2017, 22, 803.
  2. Starowicz, Małgorzata, and Michael Granvogl. Trends in food science & technology an overview of mead production and the physicochemical, toxicological, and sensory characteristics of mead with a special emphasis on flavor. Trends Food Sci Technol, 2020.
  3. Mărgăoan, Rodica, et al. Impact of fermentation processes on the bioactive profile and health-promoting properties of bee bread, mead and honey vinegar. Processes, 2020, 8, 1081.
  4. Xi, Bo, et al. Relationship of alcohol consumption to all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer-related mortality in US adults. J Am Coll Cardiol, 2017, 70,  913-922.
  5. Islam, Md Nazmul, et al. Toxic compounds in honey. J App Toxicol, 2014, 34, 733-742.