The Wonders of Raw Natural Honey
Honey is one of nature’s purest foods and is far more than just a natural sweetener.
It’s a “functional food,” which means it’s a natural food with health benefits.
Raw honey nutrition is impressive. Raw honey contains 22 amino acids, 27 minerals and 5,000 enzymes. Minerals include iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and selenium. Vitamins found in honey include vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and niacin. In addition, the nutraceuticals contained in honey help neutralize damaging free radical activity.
Did you know that, one tablespoon of honey contains 64 calories, yet it has a healthy glycemic load around 10 for one tablespoon, which is a little less than a banana. Raw honey does not cause a sugar spike and elevated insulin release like white sugar.
What Is Raw Natural Honey?
It’s a liquid sweetener made by bees from the nectar of flowers, that has been unfiltered, unprocessed. The majority of the honey consumed today is processed, it has been heated and filtered, which means it gets stripped of its incredible nutritional value and health powers. It can help with everything from low energy to sleep problems to seasonal allergies. Switching to raw honey could help weight-loss, especially when compared to diets containing sugar.
Did You Know This About Raw Honey?
- Throughout history honey has been an important food. God used honey to motivate the Israelite people when He told them to, “Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey.” (Exodus 33:3)
- Raw honey has been used as medicine since ancient times.
- For centuries, honey was considered sacred due to its wonderfully sweet properties as well as its rarity. It was used in religious ceremonies and to embalm the dead.
- Apiculture, or the practice of beekeeping to produce honey, dates back to at least 700 B.C.
- Honey was used by runners in the Olympic Games in ancient Greece as an energy source.
- The health benefits of honey depend on the quality of a specific honey.
- Raw honey contains small amounts of the same resins found in propolis as well as bee pollen.
- When raw honey is overly processed and heated, the health benefits are largely eliminated.
Can Consuming Raw Honey Lead To Healthy Weight Management?
Many research studies have linked honey consumption with weight loss. The results also suggest, honey may lower serum triglycerides, in comparison to sugar
Further studies, found that raw honey can activate hormones that suppress the appetite. In a double-blind randomly assigned study, appetite hormones and glycemic responses were measured in 14 healthy non-obese women after consuming a breakfast containing either honey or sugar. Overall, researchers concluded that honey consumption offers potential obesity protective effects.
Could Raw Honey Help Counters Pollen Allergies?
Raw honey contains bee pollen, which is known to ward off infections, provide natural allergy relief and boost overall immunity. Honey’s ability to prevent allergies is based on a concept called immunotherapy. How so? Bees in your neighbourhood go from flower to flower collecting pollen that causes you to suffer, but when a you consume local raw honey, you also consume that same offending local pollen. Hopefully after some time, an allergy sufferer may become less sensitive to this pollen that previously caused problems and experience less seasonal allergy symptoms. Many seasonal allergy sufferers have found local, raw honey to be helpful because it desensitizes them to the fauna triggering their allergic reaction.
In 2013 study found that eating honey at a high dose (one gram per kilogram of body weight of honey daily) can improve allergy symptoms over a period of eight weeks. Researchers absorbed that the honey consumption improved overall and individual symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis is an allergic response that causes itchy, watery eyes, sneezing and other similar symptoms.
Rumour has it, that a daily tablespoon of honey can actually act like an allergy shot. The type of honey is key though since pasteurized honey does not contain any pollen. For possible seasonal allergy relief, you need to consume raw honey with pollen in it.
Consult your Doctor before trying this.
A Natural Energy Source
Did you know, Raw honey contains natural sugars (80 percent), water (18 percent), and minerals, vitamins, pollen and protein (2 percent). That is why it is known as “the perfect running fuel.” Providing an easily absorbed supply of energy in the form of liver glycogen, makes it ideal for energetic morning starts and as a pre- and post-exercise energy source.
Studies at a Sports Nutrition Laboratory have shown honey to be one of the best choices of carbohydrate to consume right before exercising. Additionally, studies have revealed that as a sporting fuel, honey performs on a par with glucose, which is the sugar used in most commercial energy gels.
When raw honey’s is used in athletic endeavours, it is highly recommended raw honey is used for both fuelling and recovery.
Is Raw Honey An Antioxidant Powerhouse?
A daily dose of raw honey raises levels of health-promoting antioxidants in the body, according to recent studies. Antioxidants help block free radicals in the body that cause disease. It also boosts the immune system, acting as a preventative against any number of diseases. Honey contains polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants that have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
One study fed 25 subjects about four tablespoons of honey per day for 29 days in addition to their regular diets. When blood samples were taken at the start and end of the study, researchers found a clear, direct link between honey consumption and an increased level of disease-fighting polyphenols in the blood.
Further studies have shown that honey contains the disease-fighting antioxidant flavonoids pinocembrin, pinostrobin and chrysin. Pinocembrin supports enzyme activity, and many studies have shown that pinocembrin induces apoptosis (programmed cell death) of many types of cancer cells. Laboratory research suggests that chrysin may increase the male hormone testosterone and improve bodybuilding results, but human research hasn’t found any effect on testosterone levels.
Need Better Quality Sleep?
Consuming Raw honey just before bedtime, promotes restorative sleep in two ways. Firstly, it restocks the liver’s glycogen supply and prevents the brain from triggering a crisis search for fuel, which can wake you up. Secondly, eating raw honey fosters the release of melatonin in the brain by creating a small spike in insulin levels, this then stimulates the release of tryptophan in the brain. Tryptophan converts to serotonin, which is then converted to melatonin.
Melatonin also boosts immunity and helps rebuild tissue during periods of rest. Poor sleep, by comparison, has been shown to be a risk factor for hypertension, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and arthritis. As honey is a proven natural sleep aid, it naturally lowers the risk of all these health problems.
Could Raw Honey Help With Wounds and Ulcers?
Honey-infused bandages are known to promote healing. Peter Charles Molan at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, found in multiple studies that honey is a natural antibacterial that had wound-healing effects. He also found that honey reacts with the body’s fluids to make hydrogen peroxide, creating an inhospitable environment for bacteria.
For the treatment of burns and wounds, honey is typically applied directly to the problem area or in a dressing that’s changed every 24 to 48 hours. Sometimes the dressing is left in place for up to 25 days. A combination of honey and ghee has also been advocated and used as dressing for infected wounds since 1991 in four Mumbai hospitals.
Honey has been studied for its use in effectively treating various types of ulcers as well. Honey may reduce the size, pain and odour of problematic skin ulcers.
Raw Honey And Diabetes?
The consumption of raw honey could help to reduce the risk of developing diabetes, whilst helping medication used to treat diabetes. The combination of raw honey and cinnamon are especially beneficial to healthy blood sugar management, as well as many other health concerns such as gingivitis and acne.
According to a study out of Dubai, honey has been observed to cause a lower elevation of plasma glucose levels in diabetics compared to dextrose and sucrose. Some seem to suggest that the insulin-boosting power of cinnamon can counteract this glucose elevation in honey, which would make your honey and cinnamon mixture a low glycemic index food combination.
Raw honey increases insulin and decreases hyperglycemia. Try consuming a little at a time and see how your blood sugar reacts to it and add both raw honey and cinnamon to your diabetic diet plan.
Using Raw Honey As A Natural Cough Syrup?
Raw honey has been shown to be as effective in treating coughs as over-the-counter commercial cough syrups. Increasing scientific evidence shows that a single dose of honey can reduce mucus secretion and coughs. In one study, honey was just as effective as diphenhydramine and dextromethorphan, common ingredients found in over-the counter cough medicines.
For a cough, a half teaspoon to two teaspoons of honey at bedtime is a studied and recommended dosage for anyone over the age of one.
Raw Honey vs Not Raw
Raw honey is a crude form of honey immediately taken out of the cells of the honey combs within a bee hive. This form of honey is far from pure. It commonly contains bee pollen and propolis, which are both two very positive health additions. Raw honey can sometimes contain dead bees, legs, wings, hunks of beeswax and other impurities. Not to worry though, if any of these unwanted items get into the honey they’re strained out long before bottling.
Raw honey cannot be heated above 35 degrees Celsius, which is the normal temperature of the bee hive. While it’s OK to strain raw honey, it’s never filtered or pasteurized. It doesn’t contain any other additives.
Commercial honey is often heavily processed and may even have been chemically refined. Excessive heat destroys the natural enzymes, vitamins and minerals in honey, making honey processing an unwanted thing. Filtering and processing eliminate many of the beneficial phytonutrients, including pollen and enzyme-rich propolis. The only way to achieve sparkling clear honey is by heat, so avoid the golden, syrup-like honey in favour of opaque, organic raw honey.
Non-raw honey or regular commercial honey can be sourced from bees that are treated with antibiotics (such as ciprofloxacin in China’s honey). They also may likely be given winter nourishment in the form of sugar or a low-cost syrup. Hives are made of non-organic materials, which can have pests and be cleaned with non-organic substances. Honey that isn’t raw is pasteurized and filtered, and it can have additives.
Raw Honey Possible Allergies and Potential Side Effects
Honey is considered safe when taken by mouth in normal food amounts or recommended dosages. However, honey should never be given to children under 12 months of age since raw honey is a potential source of botulism spores.
Raw honey is not a danger to older children or adults, just to infants. However, if you have a compromised immune system or are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments for cancer, you should speak with your doctor before consuming raw honey.
If you’re allergic or sensitive to celery, pollen or have other bee-related allergies, you should not consume raw honey. Honey made from plants in the Rhododendron genus can also cause allergic reactions due to toxicity.
Consult your Doctor first, if you want to try to use Raw Honey as a Counter
Although honey is one of the healthiest sweeteners, it still should certainly be used in moderation. Mild honey intoxication side effects can include weakness, dizziness, vomiting, sweating and nausea. Other more serious side effects of honey consumption are unlikely unless you consume way too much.
Manuka vs. Other Varieties
“Conductivity” is an indirect way of measuring the mineral content of a honey. Manuka honey has a higher than normal conductivity with about four times the conductivity of normal flower honeys. The higher the conductivity, the better the nutritional value of the honey.
When it comes to Manuka honey versus other varieties, Manuka always has a unique Manuka factor (UMF), which is a global standard in identifying and measuring the antibacterial strength of Manuka. Essentially, the UMF is a guarantee that the honey being sold is of a medicinal quality. This is a standard of health value completely unique to Manuka honey.The minimum UMF rating recognized is UMF5 — however, it’s not considered beneficial unless it carries a UMF10+ level of antibacterial activity in the honey. Anything ranging from UMF10—UMF15 is a useful level, and anything UMF16 and up is considered a superior quality. While other honeys, like organic raw honey, can certainly have hugely positive health effects, they don’t have this exact measurement or rating like Manuka.