Honey is far more than a natural sweetener. It is a “functional food”, which means it is a natural food with health benefits. It contains natural antioxidants, Raw honey contains up to 80 different substances important to human nutrition. Besides glucose and fructose, honey contains: All of the B-complex, A, C, D, E, and K, minerals and trace elements: magnesium, sulfur, phosphorus, iron, calcium, chlorine, potassium, iodine, sodium, copper, and manganese. The live enzyme content of honey is one of the highest of all foods. Honey also contains hormones, and antimicrobial and antibacterial factors.
Why Raw Honey?
Researchers tested 60 honey products from supermarkets and grocery stores and found that 76% contained no trace of pollen. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains that any honey products that have been ultra-filtered, as these have, are not actually honey and therefore the health benefits of honey cannot be assumed.
Commercial honey is often heavily processed and may even have been chemically refined. Excessive heat destroys the natural enzymes, vitamins, and minerals in honey. Filtering and processing eliminates many of the beneficial phytonutrients including pollen and enzyme-rich propolis. The only way to achieve sparkling clear honey is by heat.
Honey contains many antioxidants including flavonoids to maintain the body’s health balance. Pinostrobin supports enzyme activity while the antioxidant-rich organic acids maintain an optimal slightly acidic pH in the body. Pinocembrin is an antioxidant flavonoid thought to be unique to honey while the amino acids in honey are the body’s building blocks of protein.
Honey provides a ready supply of energy in the form of liver glycogen, making it ideal for energetic morning starts and as a pre- and post-exercise energy source. It also boosts the immune system, acting as a preventative against any number of debilitating diseases.
Studies have already shown that replacing sugar with honey in the diet results in less weight gain and lower blood sugar levels. Switching to honey may even aid in weight loss when compared to diets containing sugar or HFCS.
Honey promotes restorative sleep as it slowly releases the glycogen needed for essential bodily functions during sleep. Adding honey to milk at bedtime helps the body release melatonin into the brain which is necessary for deep sleep.
Uses of Honey:
Honey contains antioxidants, a wide array of vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Heals wounds, burns, cataracts, skin ulcers, sores and scrapes.
Provides a protective barrier for wounds.
Kills bacteria and germs.
It's amino acids and vitamin C speed the growth of healthy tissue.
It's a natural source of energy. It enlivens the body, makes muscles stronger, refreshes nerves, cheers up, sharpens the mind, and gives sound sleep.
Soothes sore throats.
How to Select and Store
Raw honey that has not been pasteurized, clarified, or filtered - provided it is of the highest organic quality - is your best choice. Look for honey that states “100% pure.” While regular honey is translucent, creamy honey is usually opaque and is made by adding finely crystallized honey back into liquid honey. Specialty honeys, made from the nectar of different flowers, such as thyme and lavender, are also available. Remember that the darker the color, the deeper the flavor.
It is important to keep honey stored in an airtight container so that it doesn’t absorb moisture from the air. Honey stored this way in a cool dry place will keep almost indefinitely. One reason for this is that its high sugar content and acidic pH help to inhibit microorganism growth. Honey that is kept at colder temperatures tends to thicken, while honey that is kept at higher temperatures has a tendency to darken and have an altered flavor.