In this age of increased food consciousness, it is essential that we understand the benefits of eating natural foods such as raw honey. Many people are experimenting will all sorts of diets such as veganism, raw veganism, gluten-free, paleo and eating local, but the opting for raw honey over pasteurized often is ignored. Despite this, there are tons of reasons to start buying and eating raw honey.
The difference between honey and raw honey
Raw honey is defined as honey that has not been pasteurized, meaning it hasn’t been heated to 158 degrees Fahrenheit, filtered and cooled back down again. Most of the honey sold in stores has been pasteurized, because pasteurization makes the honey clearer and more appealing to the eye. Many people assume that clear honey, free from crystals or flecks, is better quality, but the opposite is true; honey that is clarified and thus visually attractive has had most of its nutrients “cooked out.” Just as boiling vegetables removes the vitamins, pasteurizing honey removes the yeasts, antioxidants and enzymes that are so healthy. In fact, one test showed that 76 percent of all honey sold in grocery stores has had its pollen removed. Pasteurization affects the flavor of the honey as well.
The laws around honey pasteurization are loose, meaning that sometimes honey is advertised as “raw,” “pure” or “real,” when in reality it has been processed to some degree. Essentially, we may not know what we’re buying or eating at all when purchasing honey from a grocery store.
Most raw honey can only be purchased straight from a local beekeeping farm. Local farms will often allow tours of their premises, permitting people to see how and where their food is grown. Visiting a local bee farmer will ensure trust that the raw honey they sell is pure, which is much better than buying a product with a misleading label that may or may not have any nutrients left in it.
So what are the health benefits of eating raw honey?
Raw honey can do amazing things. For starters, because it still has all of its enzymes and antioxidants, it is antibacterial and antiviral, meaning it can help fend off a cold or flu. So at the first sign of a cold or sore throat, a spoonful of raw honey may be the best medicine. It can even fight infections that are antibiotic-resistant. It will boost your immune system and fight against allergies. The honey enzyme amylase will help the digestion of starchy foods. Raw honey is also considered an alkaline substance, meaning it can help balance the acids in the stomach. Raw honey can relieve topical skin problems such as burns, rashes and other irritations. It can boost energy and alleviate bad breath.
Raw honey doesn’t pose the same threats as white sugar does. It’s a great replacement for refined sugars in any diet, and, in fact, it can actually be used by some diabetics to balance blood sugar levels.
Is there ever a time when raw honey is a bad idea?
Generally, people who are allergic to bee stings should avoid raw honey, because it may contain some particles that have come directly off of bees themselves. Children under one shouldn’t be fed raw honey, either, because they don’t have an immunity to botulism. Unpasteurized honey presents a small risk that most people can fend off, but is a concern to infants.
Raw honey is the best honey
Raw honey is as natural a food as raw vegetables. No, it’s not vegan, because it is produced by insects, but it is pure and natural in the same way vegetables can be pure and natural. Its health benefits outweigh any deterrents, and the environmental and economic pros outweigh any cons. Since raw honey is antibacterial, it will store forever without going bad. It may crystallize over time, especially depending on the temperature of where it’s being stored, but placing it in a dish of warm water can fix that. We should appreciate its cloudy nature, though, and any flecks or particles in it, because after all, that’s how we know it’s raw.
Knowing exactly where the raw honey came from, and how it was produced, is part of what makes purchasing raw honey so enjoying – and experiencing its amazing health benefits reminds us that raw honey indeed is the best honey.
What are other reasons you prefer raw honey? Share your thoughts in the section below: