With the rise of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and other medical problems due in a large part from processed and refined foods such as white sugar, many people began looking to sugar free “alternatives” to get their sweets without the health problems.
Unfortunately, each of these sugar “alternatives” is also processed and some posed even greater health risks to the consumers, including multiple forms of cancer.
Honey, however, was found to be a natural sweetener. It gave a richer flavor than processed sugar and avoided additives and artificial sweeteners.
As this became well-known, demand for honey increased dramatically. In an effort to match the demand and take advantage of an opportunity, honey producers in China began to offer a low quality honey that was cheaper to make and sell.
To make this honey cheaper, they began to process it in a way that reduced costs, at the expense of the honey quality.
After being exposed to extreme heat, filtering, pressure, being harvested too early as well as being watered down to make it a smooth texture, this “honey” wasn’t true honey at all.
In fact, most if not all of the nutrients that made honey desirable were completely removed or destroyed by this processing, and bad things like antibiotics were showing up in the honey.
A recent study from Texas A&M university examined the honey found on the shelves of supermarkets and grocery stores.
They looked for the nutrients that raw honey has, and found that more than 75% did not contain these nutrients.
These included every major brand of supermarket and grocery store, and every major brand of honey.
In the wake of this discovery came the emergence of many different types of honey.
Natural honey, pure honey, raw honey, and organic honey all claim to be better than regular processed honey.
What’s the difference? It is important to know. Here at Go Raw Honey we offer only pure, raw, unfiltered honey, which contains all the natural nutrients and is not processed or refined in a harmful way.
What is Raw Honey?
It has all of the nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and pollen still within it.
There are a few important items in the processing phase that make raw honey the healthiest honey available.
Raw Honey Temperature
One of the major aspects in the large companies’ processing activities is the temperature. In order to make the process of filtering and bottling the honey easier, they raise the temperature of the honey significantly, which results in pasteurization.
Pasteurization happens when a product is heated hot enough and long enough to kill and destroy bacteria.
While this is often useful for killing germs and other harmful bacteria in questionable products, honey does not necessarily need this. It can contribute to a loss of “good” gut bacteria that raw honey consumers value.
Raw honey, while still heated at times to enable it to flow into jars/honey sticks, is not heated to the level of pasteurization (161F). Raising the temperature of honey slightly does not destroy the good bacteria. Even in the bee hive, the honey is kept warm, or re-warmed during winter.
Raw Honey Filtering
Another aspect of processing that determines the quality of the honey is filtering.
When honey is harvested from the hives, it isn’t smooth. It has chunks of beeswax, smaller particles like pollen, propolis, royal jelly, and small bits of bee wings or legs.
In order to create a smoother, clearer product – and to increase the time before crystallization – large companies use an extreme form of filtering called ultra filtering.
They heat the honey, which makes it thinner and easier to filter. They then pressurize the honey through a very fine filter, removing all of the “non-honey” items.
The result is the clear, smooth honey found on the shelves of supermarkets and grocery stores.
While this may give honey a more appealing appearance and texture, it isn’t a beneficial or necessary process for the honey.
Part of the components that give honey its unique flavor and appeal are contained within the pollen filtered out.
The intense filtering removes them from the honey, leaving the honey without the pollen gathered and deposited by bees in the honey making process.
Raw honey is thus not heated above a normal hive temperature and is strained less rigorously. It still removes the chunks of honey comb, but seeks to leave in the pollen. This preserves the flavor and unique quality of raw honey.
Raw Honey Dilution
Another common problem in processing methods is when companies dilute their honey with other ingredients to enhance the product.
Oftentimes, they add harmless components like water to make the processing quicker and easier.
Diluting the honey with water helps to give it a clearer look and a thinner texture.
This affects the taste, purity, and the quality of the honey.
However, there have been some companies that have been caught putting other chemicals and additives in the honey to enhance the flavor, color, and texture of honey.
Raw honey is pure and not diluted.
It does not have any added substances of any kind.
Raw honey is honey just as it comes out of the hive.
This means that it is not heated above a normal hive temperature, it is only strained to remove large chunks of beeswax and it is not diluted with any other substance or ingredient.
What Are The Health Benefits of Raw Honey?
What kind of health benefits does raw honey actually provide?
Is it really that much healthier than regular honey?
Glad you asked!
There are a lot of fantastic claims on the internet concerning what raw honey can do.
You could read some blogs and think that honey can even cure cancer!
As a honey retailer, we can only make claims that are backed by authoritative scientific research bodies or accepted by the FDA, USDA, NIHS and other govt groups.
The following claims of health benefits are similar to what is accepted by the USDA-funded National Honey Board and other accredited organizations.
Raw Honey Has Antioxidants And Vitamins
Honey DOES contain a wide array of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants in varying percentages based on floral source. You will also find flavonoids and phenolic acids, which act as antioxidants, in raw honey.
It is not possible to say that honey has a “high” amount of these antioxidants however, as it can vary in percent based on the individual bee hive or harvest season!
There’s no way to know an exact percent every time because we are dealing with a product made in the ‘wild’ by bees themselves, and not in a controlled factory. It’s better that way though!
Raw Honey Is A Natural Energy Source
We all know honey is sweet. Raw honey derives its sweetness from natural sugars that are carbohydrates used to fuel your bodies muscle activity.
With 17 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon, honey is a high source of carbs that can give you energy to keep going!
Raw Honey Is A Natural Cough Suppressant
Raw honey can be a effective, natural homeopathic alternative to common over the counter cough medicine. It can act as a natural cough suppressant.
Raw honey can also help soothe irritated sore throats. A spoonful can go a long way in helping kids (always over 1 year of age though) endure a painful sore throat.
Raw Honey Is An Effective Antibiotic For Wounds
While most of us want to eat our raw honey, sometimes it can be even more useful on top of cut or burn to help with healing!
The US National Institutes of Health published a landmark study in 2011 stating that:
- Laboratory studies and clinical trials have shown that honey is an effective broad-spectrum antibacterial agent
- The wound healing properties of honey include stimulation of tissue growth, enhanced epithelialization, and minimized scar formation
- Honey was found to lower prostaglandin levels and elevate nitric oxide end products
- Honeys from different geographical areas have considerable therapeutic effects on chronic wounds, ulcers, and burns
This group of scientists proved in their clinical studies that honey has the right as a natural and safe wound healer.
Next time your kids get some cuts and scrapes, why not try putting some raw honey on the bandage too!
Time To Go With Raw Honey
From just eating a spoonful plain, to using it as a sweetener in your coffee or tea, to dribbling it on a warm bagel or muffin, to using it in your baking recipes, raw honey fits into almost any diet easily.
When you consider the benefits of raw honey, the tastiness and versatility in eating it, and compare it with the alternatives – processed, refined white sugar or processed, refined regular honey – there really isn’t a reason not to choose raw honey.
You can shop for some raw honey today, and see the results for yourself.