Honey is so awesome! Isn’t it? Who doesn’t like to grab a bottle of honey and squeeze the liquid gold down one’s throat? Do you know what the difference is between raw honey vs regular honey (commercial honey)?
- the crude form that is extracted from honeycomb cells
- commonly contains bee pollen and propolis (bee glue)… which enhances health
- can contain bee parts like legs, wings, and hunks of wax. This will be strained out before bottling.
- can’t be heated above 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
- not filtered or pasteurized
- free from additives
Commercial honey or regular honey
- heavily processed
- may be chemically refined
- undergoes filtering and processing which eliminates phytonutrients, pollen and propolis.
- turns honey into a sparkling clear golden syrup.
- pasteurized and filtered… it may also contain additives
How Long Have Humans Consumed Honey?
Honey has been used by civilized man as far back as 8000 years. This is about as far as any documentation can support the use of honey. Honey has been used in burial sites as far back as 5500 years ago.
Apes eat honey. It is safe to say mankind has been robbing bees blind for as far back as you can go in the dawn of time.
What is the Nutrition Content of Raw Honey?
Honey may differ nutritionally across the globe. There are many factors to consider. Various environmental factors come into play. What kind of flowering plants are available? What is the climate like? What kind of bees live there? How large are the populations of bees? How spread out are they?
Honey, in its natural form, contains antioxidants, phytonutrients, protein, vitamins, minerals, Sugar (17g), carbohydrates (17g) and amino acids. A tablespoon of honey contains 64 calories. Honey is also a good source of potassium (11g).
What Benefits does Raw Honey Offer?
Fights the effects of allergies. Every spring, summer, and fall, plants release pollen. This causes discomfort for many of us. You may find yourself suffering from a stuffed nose, along with sneezing, and watery eyes. It just plain sucks. This is known as a pollen allergy, or better known as hay fever.
Your immune system determines how much you will be affected during the peak pollen season. What better way to fight it than to fuel your immune system with the very same pollen. Bees are your solution to survive the hay fever season. Their golden nectar is created by the same flowers in your neighborhood. This is why you hear about the importance of eating local honey. It is not so much about supporting local merchants, even though there is nothing wrong with that. It is about you. Your health. Honey is an insurance plan against hay fever because it is made from the same flowers that cause you grief during hay fever season.
You develop immunity when consuming local honey. Research has demonstrated honey’s ability to keep symptoms of hay fever at bay. Honey’s ability to stop allergies in their tracks is based on the concept of immunotherapy.
Healthy weight management Can raw honey help people with weight problems? There’s been research performed at San Diego State that presents evidence that replacing sugar with raw honey can do just that. Honey is more than just sugar as it contains minerals and small amounts of protein. It offers a lot more than simple sugars which tend to spike your blood sugar.
Studies have shown that raw honey may actually help lower blood sugar. Diabetics need to use in moderation. It is suggested that you test your blood sugar after consumption to see what kind of effect it has on your blood sugar if you’re diabetic. Raw honey may also help suppress your appetite
Natural energy source It’s a well-known fact that certain food has the ability to boost your energy. Marathon runners are famous for slamming pancakes and other carbs before their grueling run.
Raw honey is the perfect running fuel-supplying your body with vitamins, minerals, protein, and pollen. It is one of your best choices of carbohydrates before exercising. It offers the same benefits as glucose (which is used in energy bars… and I doubt that these are really good for you). It offers a healthy energy boost, the way nature intended. Raw honey is also good after exercising for recovery.
Better sleep Raw honey promotes better sleep in two ways. Honey helps stock your liver’s glycerin supply. Loading your liver up with glycerin helps prevent your brain from going into crisis mode in search of fuel, which can wake you up in the middle of the night, and cause a disruption in your sleep pattern.
Raw honey also encourages the release of melatonin from your brain by creating a spike in your insulin levels. This, in turn, prompts the release of tryptophan. Your tryptophan then converts to serotonin and finally, it becomes melatonin.
Melatonin is also able to boost your immunity by helping to rebuild tissue in periods of rest. Poor sleeping patterns increase the risk for various health-related problems like hypertension, type II diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Excellent wound treatment Let’s have some fun with healing your wounds. Time to spread the sticky goo (honey) on your cuts and place a bandage over it to allow time for the healing effect to occur. Numerous studies done by Peter Charles Molan, at the University of Waikato, in New Zealand, have shown honey’s naturally antibacterial and healing effects. You can also apply this technique to burns. Avoid changing out for 24 to 48 hours on burns for the best effect. This sounds crazy, right. Using honey for burns and wounds. It has to be better for you than some chemicals. Right?
Potent source of antioxidants Raw honey also boosts the immune system in another way. Raw honey contains phytochemicals, flavonoids and ascorbic acid, which has an antioxidant effect on your body. It also helps reduce oxidative stress caused by free-radical damage. Oxidative stress has been linked to cancer and other chronic health situations. Pasteurization of honey reduces the antioxidant effect. Studies have shown that heating up foods reduces the number of antioxidants.
Can I say Diarrhea? ‘Nobody likes to admit they have diarrhea. You really can’t stray too far from your home in one of these moments. Raw honey may offer a solution. Always good to have around the house. Mix a teaspoon with some liquid. Tea is always a good choice. Drink it down. This should aid in a quicker recovery and have a soothing effect on your digestion. Just don’t overdo it. Your condition may worsen if you do.
Antibacterial activity. Honey is a natural antibacterial promoter. It contains hydrogen peroxide (believe it or not!) in small amounts. It also has glucose oxidase and has a low pH level. What this means, it can help eliminate harmful bacteria and fungi. Because of its unique chemical compound, it will not allow yeast and harmful bacteria to grow.
Cough remedy Grandmas across the globe (at least in Western culture) have given children hot toddies for sore throats. You know… a little whiskey… honey… and lemon juice with hot water. I don’t know if the whiskey is necessary… go ahead if you want… but raw honey can soothe your poor throat.
Many cough medicines are not safe for children, so honey is a good alternative. Just take a nice heaping teaspoon and coat your throat with this delicious swill. Don’t swallow any liquids for about 20 minutes to allow the magic to happen.
Diabetic ally Believe it or not, raw honey may be good in the diabetic world. It may help prevent and help treat type II diabetes.
Studies were done in Dubai concerning honey and diabetes. Raw honey was able to cause a lower elevation of blood glucose levels in diabetics compared to dextrose (corn syrup) and sucrose (table sugar). Raw honey has been shown to help increase insulin and decrease the risk of hyperglycemia.
Some suggest coupling raw honey with cinnamon to help counteract possible glucose elevation when consuming honey. It would be wise for diabetics to monitor blood sugar levels when using honey, to see how your blood reacts Consume a little at a time and see how it influences your blood sugar levels.
I have been able to use it in moderation, without spiking. What spikes my blood is consuming too much plant-based fat (I gave up eating meat to treat diabetes) or eating too much protein in one meal. Everyone’s body reacts differently to different foods. You just have to keep a food log and find out what works best for you.
How is honey made? Honey, sweet and delicious, is made by bees, of course. Bees buzz around various flowering plants and steal nectar (a sugary liquid). Inside the bees, enzyme activity changes the chemical composition of the nectar. They zoom on back to their hive and regurgitate the liquid nectar inside another bee’s mouth. EWWW! I hope that doesn’t ruin your appetite for honey. Maybe not. Honey is so delicious.
Now back at the hive. The liquid nectar is placed into a honeycomb. The next step… get the water out of the nectar. Bees speed up the process, by fanning their little wings, to evaporate the water out of the honey. As the saying goes, “busy as a bee”.
What type of sugar is in honey? Honey is mainly fructose but also contains glucose and sucrose. Honey is also 17% water.
Does raw honey go bad? No. Would you believe honey was discovered in tombs of Egyptian pharaohs and was still edible? I am talking about honey that is 3000 years old! What happens in your home, after a while, your honey will begin to crystallize. Just place your honey near a heat source (not if your honey is encased in plastic, of course). Or, place in warm water and it will slowly return to its normal form.
Where can I buy it? Raw honey is easier and easier to find. Natural food stores usually supply it. Farmers markets. Peddler’s malls in my city always have a booth. These are good sources for local honey. Again. Local honey is ideal in protection against pollen allergies. Even supermarkets carry raw honey these days, but probably not local honey. At least I haven’t seen it there.
Can you cook with raw honey? Cooking honey or excess heat destroys the natural healing and healthy properties residing in raw honey. If you want the benefits of raw honey, don’t do it. When drinking tea with honey, please let the tea cool down enough so it doesn’t spoil the nutritional benefits. 95 Degrees Fahrenheit is too hot for raw honey. Also, don’t store your honey to close to your stove.
Where should I store it? In your pantry, preferable at 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, don’t store it in your fridge. I actually had to do that recently in a war against ants. Maggie’s farm took care of those invading critters. Don’t keep it near any heat source.
Raw Honey Uses
Improves digestion Use one to two teaspoons, a day, to keep indigestion at bay. It is known to counteract indigestion, and honey will not ferment in your stomach.
Relieves Nausea Feeling nauseous? Try combining raw honey, ginger root, lemon juice, and filtered water. Use your little ninja blender thingie (a must for healthy kitchens). Drink it down. Gulp!
Acne Treatment This sounds like fun. Spread the sticky mess on your fingers and spread it over any area on your face infected with acne. Spread on gently, and let it sit a bit.
Improves circulation Using raw honey daily may improve the circulation of your blood, lower cholesterol, and help your brain function optimally. Of course, lay off the bacon!!!
Prebiotic support Honey is full of prebiotics. The illness usually starts in your digestive tract, so developing healthy cultures in your stomach is ideal for optimum health.
Shampoo and Hair treatment Honey as shampoo? People are doing it. Take a spoonful of raw honey and add it to five cups of water. Apply it to your hair and let it soak in. After some time, rinse, dry, and style as usual. This works great for dry hair and will help restore your hair’s luster.
Eczema relief Use raw honey and equal parts cinnamon on affected areas for relief.
Sunburn remedy So you stayed out in the sun a little too long. Try taking 1 teaspoon of raw honey, a teaspoon of olive oil, and a quarter teaspoon of lemon juice. Mix it up. Put it on the affected area for 10 minutes before removal. Rinse with tepid water.
Are There Any Risks or Side-effects?
Okay. The most important thing to know about honey consumption is… do not feed children under the age of 12 months, raw honey. Never… ever… The reason… RAW HONEY IS A POTENTIAL SOURCE OF BOTULISM. Babies have not had time to develop the defense to fight off the spores in their digestive systems.
Anyone who is allergic to bees should avoid honey. If allergic to celery, avoid it. Weird. If you have a compromised immune system from chemo or radiation therapy consult with your doctor first. However, studies performed at the Mayo Clinic, demonstrated that 2 teaspoons of raw honey a day may help with low white blood cell count.
Eat in moderation. Don’t binge on honey. Mild intoxication effects may include weakness, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Heating at high temps can also produce hydroxymethyl furfuraldehyde (HMF). This is a known carcinogenic. It kind of defeats the purpose of raw honey, heating it up, that is.
If you want to sweeten something up, raw honey is an awesome choice. You can also use it in homemade energy drinks using hot water, 1 to 2 teaspoons of raw honey, an inch of ginger root, and quarter teaspoon of cardamon and turmeric. You will need to blend it to chop up the ginger.
Raw honey is in its natural form, as nature intended it. Whole-natural food is the best gift to offer your body. It is unaltered and not pasteurized, so no heat or hand of man could alter its natural goodness. Raw honey boosts your immune system providing protein, vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting flavonoids. It has been scientifically proven to help with sleep problems, allergies, diabetes, wound healing, and sore throats. Raw honey is an excellent choice for pre and post workouts.
Look for a local beekeeper if possible. Local raw honey is your best choice when in the market for honey. Try avoiding processed sugar as much as you can. Dates are also a good sugar substitute in recipes and smoothies. They are also in a whole food form with other ingredients besides straight sugar.
Thanks for reading. To your health!
Many blessings, Brian.
I am making no claims that honey will cure any condition. It is food. Food is able to help the body in many ways by offering your body nutrition. Proper nutrition has the ability to turn back cellular damage in many people. Everyone’s body reacts differently to natural foods, as it also does when given medication by doctors. There is a whole lot more going on behind the scenes, that we as people, can not possibly know.