It can generally go without saying that honey is a pretty standard addition to many meals. From a quick slice of toast with honey on it, to the numerous recipes that include honey, there are many points in life where you might find yourself making use of honey. During these points when you find yourself using honey, you might want to consider using raw honey in place of regular honey. When it comes to your health, it has been shown that raw honey has quite a few benefits that you might not expect at first.
However, before you can begin to learn about how raw honey can benefit your life, you should first understand what raw honey is, and how it differs from regular honey and pasteurized honey. Once you know what raw honey is, you will be able to better understand how it can benefit the body in as many ways as it does.
What Is Raw Honey, and What Makes it Different From Traditional Honey?
To put things simply, raw honey is honey that hasn’t been altered in any way, aside from being removed from the hive it came from. Typically, the process of producing honey involves many different steps before it is bottled and placed on the shelf. These steps include pasteurizing the honey, filtering it out, and so on. Pasteurizing the honey is a process that destroys any yeast that might be in the honey by heating the honey up. Doing this helps to make the texture smoother and it helps to extend the shelf-life of the honey. On the other hand, filtering the honey out ensures that there are no “impurities” such as air bubbles, debris, and anything that might not be aesthetically pleasing to someone searching for honey on the shelf. As you can imagine, these processes do not have much effect on the actual honey, aside from making it more appealing to potential customers.
Raw honey doesn’t have any of this work put into it. Instead, the honey is extracted from the honeycombs, poured onto a mesh cloth so that larger impurities, such as dead bees and beeswax, are not in the honey. Once the honey has been strained and is free from any dead bees, it is poured into a bottle, sealed, and sold as raw honey.
Raw honey and organic honey aren’t to be confused either. By technicality, for honey to be considered “raw,” it is not allowed to be processed or pasteurized at all. On the other side of things, organic honey simply needs to come from a bee farm that meets the standards of being an organic farm. This simply means that the bees, their flowers, and the honey cannot come into contact with any chemicals and other things that go against an “organic” certification. This means it can still be pasteurized and processed. If you want to make sure that you get what you need, you will want to look for honey that is denoted as “raw” and nothing else.
As you can tell, pasteurized honey is processed just enough to make it more appealing to customers and people who are searching for the cleanest honey on the shelf. While this doesn’t affect the actual quality of the honey as much as some people may believe, it is important enough to some people that it has become a regular practice. Raw honey can be considered a more pure form of honey, filled with the “impurities” that pasteurized honey filters out. In reality, many of these impurities can actually benefit your body and your health in a number of different ways.
How Healthy Is Raw Honey?
With all the extra contents that raw honey has compared to its pasteurized counterpart, you might find yourself wondering how raw honey can benefit your health, if it even can. The short answer is that raw honey is considerably healthier than the pasteurized version. There are many, many reasons for this.
Raw honey has about 22 amino acids in it, about 31 different minerals, and a wide array of vitamins and enzymes that your body needs to function at its best. While this might sound like a lot at first, most of these are only found in trace amounts inside of the honey. This doesn’t discredit how many nutrients are in the honey though, as there are even more than just this.
Because the honey hasn’t been filtered out in the same manner as pasteurized honey, there are still a number of plant compounds remaining inside the honey. In fact, there are nearly 30 different types, and they are known as polyphenols. These particular ones act as antioxidants, which have been proven to do quite a lot for the body’s health. In short, antioxidants have been shown to help reduce inflammation, lower the risk of heart disease, and even lower your risk of developing certain cancers.
One thing that you should know about raw honey is that it contains quite a bit of bee pollen, which is actually quite healthy for people to eat as well. Bee pollen, which comes from the flowers that bees pollinate, has a whole host of vitamins, amino acids, fatty acids (the good ones), micronutrients, and even more antioxidants. In some parts of the world, namely the German Federal Ministry of Health, bee pollen is even nationally recognized as a medicine because of its numerous health benefits.
From all of these different factors, it quickly becomes easy to realize why raw honey is known for being healthier than the regular honey that you find in the stores. In addition to all these basic health benefits, raw honey can also help with a few other parts of life as well. There have been several studies that look into what raw honey can do for the body, and they have found that it can possibly help lower risk of heart disease, improve wound healing, and even help to treat coughs. Most scientists speculate that these benefits come from the high amount of antioxidants in the honey.
Another key player is an enzyme known as glucose oxidase. This enzyme helps produce the molecules in honey that give it its natural antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Essentially, this enzyme helps keep the honey free of microbes and bacteria that might want to make the honey into a new home. When ingested, glucose oxidase helps do the same for the human body, to some degree helping you be healthier than you were before you ate the raw honey.
What Can and Can’t Raw Honey Help with?
As you can see, raw honey can do quite a bit for the human body. All of the “impurities” that may not be cosmetically appealing on the shelf are actually quite helpful. If you want to add a healthier addition to your meals, you should consider using raw honey in place of other honeys. With all of this being said, there are still some areas where people tend to get confused, and the most common area is what raw honey can and can’t help with. While raw honey can certainly help with a lot, there are some things that it simply cannot do.
Can Raw Honey Help with Seasonal Allergies?
For instance, many people believe that raw honey can lessen the symptoms of seasonal allergies. The answer to this is incredibly subjective, depending on what kind of seasonal allergies a person has and what their primary complaint is. Even raw honey can’t always help with a stuffy nose. However, what raw honey can help with is a sore or irritated throat. If you find that your seasonal allergies bring a cough or a sore throat, then raw honey is going to be a wonderful solution to this. After all, just about everyone knows how helpful honey is when they have a cold. Raw honey is no different in this regard. While it may not get rid of the allergies themselves, it can do well for lessening the symptoms surrounding the throat.
Can Raw Honey Help with Weight Loss?
Another benefit that people often quarrel over is whether or not raw honey can help you on a weight loss journey. Some people believe that it is the perfect quick-fix solution to shedding those last few pounds. Other people are more skeptical about it. Some of this comes from the fact that honey is often considered an alternative food that people should use more when they are dieting, simply because it has less calories than butter or other toppings. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it will actually help you shed weight. There are very few studies that show that honey has any effect on weight, and there are exactly zero studies that can prove it conclusively. What some studies show is that when you replace sugar with honey, you can lose weight, and that honey can sometimes activate hormones that suppress the appetite. Aside from this, there is no proof that honey, either pasteurized or raw, is going to do anything alone on your weight loss journey.
In the end, raw honey is something that you should definitely add to your diet. It can help with a number of different things, ranging from improving your overall health to even easing the symptoms of a cold. Raw honey contains a considerable amount of nutrients and compounds that you can’t get from typical honey, and this is because raw honey isn’t filtered nearly to the extent that typical honey is. If you want to substitute sugar for honey, you should make the most out of this change and go for raw honey. It’s one of the better things that you can do for your health at the end of the day.