Wondering about the difference between regular ol’ honey and “raw honey”? Let’s take a closer look at the health benefits of raw honey and why you should make the switch!
“‘Well,’ said Pooh, ‘what I like best,’ and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.” ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Pooh Bear, I think the word you are looking for is “anticipation.” And, oh, do I know the sweet feeling well. That moment before I plunge my spoon into the jar of honey… I can barely contain myself now thinking about it!
OK back to the point.
Honey. It’s amazing. Delicious and nutritious all wrapped into one. But not all honey is created equal. In fact, not all “honey” is even real honey…
Guess what? Most of “honey” sold at supermarkets isn’t the real deal!
Honey is one of the most commonly mislabeled foods. Last year, Food Safety News found that 75% of store-bought honey was ultra-filtered and did not contain pollen. Without pollen, it’s impossible to identify the honey’s source. Plus, the US FDA states that any “honey” that no longer contains pollen cannot technically be considered honey.
Even more concerning, a third or more of all “honey” in the US was found to have been smuggled in from China or India, and tainted with illegal antibiotics and heavy metals. According to Food Safety News, millions of pounds of honey deemed unsafe and banned from dozens of foreign countries is being imported and sold in the US.
Additionally, a number of ingredients are added to “honey”, and even sometimes constitute the main ingredient. These include sucrose syrup, sugar syrup, partial invert cane syrup, corn syrup, glucose syrup, beet sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, as well as artificial sweeteners. Any “honey” that contains these ingredients is therefore not real honey, but a blend. And some of these ingredients — like high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners — are really darn unhealthy!
On my trip to the grocery store, I took a little and most of the honeys for sale listed high fructose corn syrup as the first ingredient! Which means they contained more high fructose corn syrup than honey.
Real honey — raw honey — is a pretty nutritious sweet little treat!
Raw honey comes straight from the honeycomb, and is honey in its purest form. It is unfiltered, unheated and unpasteurized, processes which can destroy the natural vitamins (high in vitamin C and B vitamins), minerals and enzymes found in honey.
The health benefits of raw honey are seemingly endless:
- Anti-viral and anti-fungal properties
- Contains polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant
- Helps ward off allergies
- Soothes sore throats and is a natural expectorant (i.e. is great to eat when you have a cold)
- Stabilizes blood pressure and balances blood sugar levels
- Boosts immune function
- Helps heal skin conditions and wounds when applied topically
- Promotes digestive health
- As an alkaline-forming food, helps combat chronic illness
Oh! And it makes for a great, hydrating and gently anti-bacterial face mask 🙂
So how can you make sure you’re buying the real deal?
When looking to buy raw honey, look for a product from a local producer, preferably one you know or know of. Local honey offers particularly great protection from seasonal allergies.
[Please note that pediatricians caution against feeding honey to children under one year old due to concern that it may contain botulism spores.]