Top 10 Health Benefits of Raw Honey You Should Know
Raw honey is good for your health. It's that simple. But before explaining why, let's pause to learn about "raw honey." Not all of the honey sold in stores is the same. To increase honey clarity, and to prevent the honey from crystallizing, some companies will heat the honey to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and then use high pressure to force the honey through dense filters. This over-processing either kills or removes a lot of the good stuff in honey such as pollen, propolis, enzymes, vitamins and minerals. What a waste. Only raw honey (unpasteurized and unfiltered) boosts your immune system and provides other health benefits. In truth, eating raw honey and healthy living go together like summer and sunshine.
Is it safe to eat raw honey?
Absolutely - with only one caveat. Raw honey is much better for you than over-processed and pasteurized honey. This article explains why. But raw honey should not be given to children under 1 year old. Raw honey may contain bacteria for which infants have not yet developed immune system defenses. But for the rest of us, a spoonful of honey every day is good for you.
Raw honey is packed with beneficial nutrients
David Wolfe, the author of "Superfoods" explains that "Bee products are considered to be one of the most spiritual and magical foods on the planet, as well as one of the top superfoods and sources of concentrated nutrition." Raw honey contains natural sugars (glucose and fructose) plus additional beneficial nutrients such as amino acids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals. So is raw honey good for you? It sure is. Democritus, a Greek philosopher who lived to the age of 109, explained: "The secret of my health is applying honey inside and oil outside."
An immune system booster and source of antioxidants
According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, the natural chemicals found in food we get from plants (known as "phytonutrients") have beneficial properties that can help to boost your immune system and fight sickness. One way honey improves our immune system is through providing antioxidants. Poor diet, stress, cigarettes and alchohol can cause the body to release too many reactive molecules called oxidants. These oxidants can then attack healthy cells, resulting in the release of free radicals. If these free radicals are not contained, it can result in cellular damage and then disease. Antioxidants are compounds that slow or stop the oxidation process. Raw honey contains at least sixteen known antioxidants which search, target and destroy free radicals.
Raw honey can help calm your cough
To relieve the irritations of a sore throat, eat a spoonful of raw honey. The honey will soothe your throat by coating your mucous membranes with a thick and naturally sticky covering. The raw honey will also send anti-bacterial agents to the problem location, where it will promote healing. Raw honey has also been used for generations as "Nature's Cough Suppressant." Recent studies have shown that honey performs even better than over-the-counter cough syrups for reducing cough severity and frequency.
A natural energy source
For a natural energy boost before, during or after exercise, honey is a great option. Honey provides 17 grams of carbs per tablespoon. Since carbohydrates are the primary fuel that the body uses for energy, honey provides a quick and all-natural boost when you need it. An added benefit of honey is that it promotes steady blood sugar levels, and does not lead to spikes in blood sugar, which you get from sugar and other sweeteners. Clinical trials support the conclusion that honey is an effective pre-workout energy source that does not lead to hypoglycemia.
Raw honey promotes better sleep
The brain needs a steady supply of fuel to sleep through the night. The primary fuel that is needed is a compound sugar called glycogen, and it is produced by the liver. If the liver stops releasing a sufficient supply of glycogen during the night, then the brain becomes agitated and this can disrupt restorative sleep. By taking a spoonful of honey at bedtime (straight or with a glass of warm milk), the liver is restocked with sufficient glycogen to ensure a full night's sleep.
An antibacterial agent
Raw honey has two properties that fight bacteria. First, honey is hydroscopic. This means that it attracts water. If bacteria come into contact with honey, the honey will essentially draw the moisture from the bacteria and kill it through dehydration. Second, honey is mildly acidic with an average pH level of 3.9. Many bacteria are acid intolerant and prefer a neutral pH level of around 7.0. So far, researchers have identified more than 250 different strains of bacteria that honey kills. One of these is the super-bug MRSA, which is resistant to clinical antibiotics.
Improved digestion and gut health
Probiotics are a class of beneficial bacteria and yeasts that help to keep your stomach and gut functioning and healthy. In 1995, a French scientist identified a type of fiber compound that he named a prebiotic. Prebiotics feed and nourish beneficial probiotics, and also help to inhibit the growth of bad bacteria that may be present in the digestive system. Raw honey, as it turns out, is a good source of prebiotics and it also has strong anti-bacterial properties.
Natural allergy relief
Seasonal allergies flare up when your body reacts negatively to plant pollen. Unfiltered honey contains some of the same pollens that cause these allergic reactions. But the pollen found in raw honey is at relatively low levels. In addition, raw honey contains various beneficial enzymes, vitamins and minerals. In this harmonious combination, over time and with repeated exposure, some people become less sensitive to the pollen and therefore experience less severe seasonal allergies.
Honey for wound care
Before the advent of modern medicine, raw honey was often used for treating cuts and wounds. Raw honey contains small amounts of the enzyme glucose oxidase which, under the right conditions, can convert into hydrogen peroxide (a common disinfectant). The two elements needed to complete this conversion are water and sodium, which are both present in body fluids. So, inside of a wound, raw honey continually converts into minute doses of hydrogen peroxide, which wards off infection as the wound heals.
Soothing relief for burns
Raw honey has been shown to be effective for treating minor (first degree) burns. Run cool water over the affected area for 5 minutes and then pat dry. Gently rub some raw honey over the burned skin and then wrap with sterile gauze to keep the honey in place. Change the dressing and reapply new honey on a daily basis until the burn has healed.
What is honey good for? Lots of things, as it turns out. Raw and unfiltered honey is a tasty AND functional food with a number of significant health benefits. As part of your daily diet, raw honey (in moderation) is good for you.