Whenever you have got cravings for something sweet don’t always reach for the chocolate bar, reach for a tablespoon of honey instead. Not only will honey satisfy your need for sweet, it will also provide many health benefits for you. Continue reading to find out some interesting and helpful information about honey.
What is Raw Honey?
Raw honey is unheated, pure, unprocessed and unpasteurized nectar from flowers. This is very important for the final product because it is packed with all the natural enzymes, vitamins, phytonutrients and other beneficial elements.
7 Health Benefits of Raw Honey
Excellent energy source
Raw honey contains up to 80 various substances which are important to human’s nutrition. It contains glucose and fructose, all of the B-complex, A, C, D, E and K, minerals and trace elements like phosphorus, iron, calcium, sodium, copper, sulfur, magnesium, manganese, iodine, potassium and chlorine.
Sooths sore throat and cough
If you have got a sore throat or cough don’t reach for the antibiotics, take a teaspoon of raw honey instead. Honey is considered as an old sore throat remedy. Add it to your cup of tea with some lemon and get rid of the cough.
According to a research, even a single dose of honey can reduce mucus secretion and coughs. Raw honey was also shown to be as effective as diphenhydramine and dextromethorphan which are common ingredients found in over-the counter cough syrup.
If you have got a cough you can also take a half teaspoon to two teaspoons of honey before going to bed and wake up relieved from the cough in the morning. This is a recommended dosage for anyone over the age of one.
Good source of antioxidants
Raw honey is rich in antioxidants called phenolic compounds. Antioxidants are important because they protect your body from cell damage due to free radicals.
Free radicals speed up the aging process and they also contribute to the development of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.
According to several studies, polyphenols in honey play a role in preventing heart disease.
- Antibacterial and antifungal properties
Raw honey is also powerful in killing unwanted bacteria and fungus. It contains hydrogen peroxide which is an antiseptic. Raw unfiltered honey contains high level of sugar which together with enzyme inhibine dehydrates harmful micro-organisms.
- Regulates weight
According to a study conducted by San Diego State University, if you want to lose some pounds you have to replace sugar with honey immediately. The study also showed that in comparison to sugar, honey may lower serum triglycerides.
According to another study conducted from the University of Wyoming, raw honey can activate hormones that suppress the need for food. The study was conducted by measuring appetite hormones and glycemic responses in 14 healthy non-obese women after eating a breakfast that contains either honey or sugar. The researchers concluded that consumption of honey offers potential obesity protective effects.
- Heals wounds
Raw honey is an effective germ killer and that’s why it is used as a wound treatment into medicine. According to researchers, that’s possible because beside its hydrogen peroxide it also has antibacterial properties.
Some studies have shown that Manuka honey speed up time of healing and reduce infections in wounds.
- Anti- allergy
Since raw honey contains bee pollen, it is good in fighting infections and in providing natural allergy relief and enhancing overall immunity. Honey prevents allergies by the process of immunotherapy. You’ll probably wonder how that happens?
Well here’s the answer. Bees from your neighbourhood go from flower to flower collecting pollen, and that pollen causes problems to allergy sufferers. By consuming local raw honey, you also consume that same “harmful”, local pollen. When allergy sufferer consumes raw honey for a while, they will become less sensitive to this pollen that previously caused problems and they will experience less seasonal allergy symptoms than earlier.
According to their own experience, some people said that just a tablespoon of honey a day acts like an allergy shot.
To point out one more time. Pasteurized honey does not contain any pollen so you must consume raw honey with pollen in it if you want to fight allergies.
Raw Honey Characteristics
When you buy honey, it can be in either liquid or solid (creamed) form. You need to have in mind, that if you buy raw honey that is in liquid form, it may crystallize or solidify with time. The colour of the honey can vary from different shades of yellow, white or even brown. The colour depends on the type of flowers that the bees retrieved the nectar for the honey from.
There are many different types of honey that you can buy in the stores. And not all of them are natural raw honey even when it sometimes says so on the label. So if you want to be sure that you have bought a truly raw honey you need to inquire about it specifically. Call the company whose honey you want to buy and ask them how they prepare their honey. Or better yet, find a local farm or beekeeper who you know or whom you can trust and buy your jar of honey from them.
Beekeepers need to meet strict production standards and conditions to be certified organic. Truly raw, organic honey can’t contain any pesticide residues or environmental pollutants. Beekeeper with organic hives also cannot use non-organic honey, sugar or antibiotics or pesticides for their bees. Don’t worry it’s normal for raw honey to contain particles of bee pollen, honeycomb bits and propolis.
Raw Honey Nutrition Facts
Honey is very nutritious because it consists of a unique blend of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, phytonutrients, antioxidants and other health components. The two most beneficial components of truly raw honey are bee pollen and propolis.
Bee pollen in raw honey
Bee pollen contains all the important nutrients that the human body needs. It’s a source of vitamins, proteins, minerals, carotenoids, bioflavonoids, and beneficial acids which protect your cardiovascular system.
The nectar is composed mainly of water and sucrose. Bees add enzymes that create additional chemical compounds, changing the sucrose into fructose and glucose, and then evaporate the water so that the resulting product won’t go bad.
Honey is a source of carbohydrates. It contains:
- 80% natural sugar- mostly fructose and glucose. Because it contains high levels of fructose it’s sweeter than table sugar.
- 18% water. The less water the honey contains, it’s of better quality.
- 2% minerals, pollen vitamins and proteins.
The vitamins which are found in honey are: niacin, B6, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamin and some amino acids.
The minerals found in honey are: magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, sodium, potassium and copper.
Another important fact is that honey has antioxidants and it doesn’t contain fat or cholesterol.
How Much Honey Can You Eat Every Day?
The answer to this question depends on your lifestyle and diet. For example, if someone is eating foods that contain low level of sugar, exercises on a daily basis and has a healthy lifestyle could eat up to 10 teaspoons of honey daily.
While on the other hand if someone is consuming a lot of other foods that contain sugar, is not exercising and has not so healthy lifestyle shouldn’t eat as much honey. The daily amount of honey for different people would not be the same.
Raw Honey History and Interesting Facts
- There are over 25,000 species of bees in the world.
- Honey is the only food provides by insects that humans eat.
- Raw honey has been used as medicine since ancient times.
- In the past, honey was considered as sacred because of its wonderfully sweet properties and the fact how rare it was. It was used in religious ceremonies and to embalm the dead.
- The practice of beekeeping to produce honey is called apiculture and it dates back to at least 700 B.C.
- Runners in the Olympic Games in ancient Greece used honey as an energy source.
- The health benefits of the honey will depend on its own quality.
- Small amounts of the same resins found in propolis and bee pollen can also be found in raw honey.
- When raw honey is overly processed and hearted, the health benefits are largely eliminated.
Can infants eat raw honey?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization you shouldn’t give honey to children who are under 12 months old because honey is a potential source of botulism spores. You should add it to any food, water or formula that is fed to infants. In fact you even shouldn’t give them baked goods which contain honey.
Raw Honey vs Non-Raw
Raw honey is what you take out directly from the cells of the honey combs within a bee hive. It cannot be heated above 95 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the normal temperature of the bee hive. Raw honey can only be strained, but never filtered or pasteurized and it cannot have other additives.
On the other hand, commercial honey is heavily processed and may even have been chemically refined. When raw honey is extremely heated, all natural enzymes, vitamins and minerals are destroyed.
Processing of the honey eliminates many of the beneficial phytonutrients, including pollen and enzyme-rich propolis. Non-raw honey can be sourced from bees which are treated with antibiotics. These bees can also be given winter nourishment in the form of sugar or low-cost syrup. Non-raw honey is pasteurized and filtered and it can have additives.
Possible allergies from Raw Honey and Potential Side Effects
Honey is considered one of the healthiest foods in the world. However, there are some groups of people who should be cautious when consuming honey or shouldn’t consume honey at all. As we mentioned, children under the age of one are a part of that group. People with compromised immune system or who are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments for cancer should ask their doctor before consuming raw honey.
People, who are allergic to celery, pollen or other bee-related allergies, also shouldn’t consume raw honey.
However, no one should exaggerate using honey because possible side effects are: weakness, dizziness, vomiting, sweating and nausea.
- Raw honey is the most natural form of honey you can buy.
- It’s packed with vitamins and minerals because it’s unfiltered and unpasteurized.
- Raw honey is rich in flavonoids which are good in preventing and fighting diseases.
- Raw honey is helpful with sleeping disorders, diabetes, weight regulations, allergies, coughs, sore throat, wound healing and much more.
- Raw honey is an excellent source of energy.
- It’s better if you buy your honey from a local beekeeper. That way you’ll be sure that it’s clean. Furthermore if you suffer from allergies, raw honey which is bought from the local beekeeper is the best thing for you that will help you fight against allergies.
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