All-Natural Raw Honey from Florida and Beyond
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    All-natural, raw honey has been aptly named a super food: "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." Wolfe, David, Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future (2010). Unfiltered and unpasteurized honey is a rich and highly nutritious blend of bioactive compounds, including simple sugars, enzymes, antibiotics, probiotics, vitamins and minerals. Raw honey is a powerful antioxidant, and helps to fight the buildup of "bad" cholesterol in your arteries. It has antimicrobial properties that are effective against many bacterial pathogens and fungi. At the same time, honey promotes the growth and activity of "friendly" bacteria (bifidobacteria) which are found in your gut and which help with good digestion. Raw honey is a natural immune enhancer and anti-inflammatory agent. For some people, raw honey helps to reduce seasonal allergy symptoms, especially when local raw honey is used. Raw honey is great for athletes, providing easily absorbed carbs from glucose and fructose, which increases performance and accelerates post-exercise recovery. For skin care, raw honey contains strong anti-bacterial properties and has been used for centuries to treat burns and cuts. Raw honey is indeed a "functional food" that provides good nutrition plus other important physiological health benefits. So why aren't we all using more raw honey and other products from the beehive?

    Before farm subsidies significantly lowered prices for white sugar and corn syrup, Americans used far more raw honey in their daily diet. In 1947, there were 5.9 million managed beehives in the US (as compared to 2.7 million hives today). Just about every family farm had some beehives for both pollination purposes and honey production. Many of our parents and grandparents were consuming much more raw and unfiltered honey in their daily diets. But when the number of beehives in the US fell by over 50%, and prices for white sugar and corn syrup also dropped, the switch was on. Today, we eat way too much refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup. The average American now consumes over 25 teaspoons of sugar and corn syrup EVERY DAY. This translates into more than 650 calories per day from sweeteners. Much of this sugar intake comes from processed foods, carbonated beverages, and fruit drinks. This over-indulgence in sweeteners is linked to increased rates of obesity,diabetes, liver disease, heart disease, and cancer. Dr. Aseem Malhotra recently observed that sugar is currently the biggest threat to our healthMalhotra, Aseem, "Sugar is now enemy number one in the western diet," The Guardian (Jan. 11, 2014). Dr. Malhotra is not some lone voice in the wilderness. We Googled "dangers of sugar" and got back over 1.5 million results. 

    Even though raw honey is an amazing superfood, it is still a sweetener. Raw honey should be consumed in moderation, and it is only one part of a healthy diet and lifestyle. But the evidence is clear - raw, unfiltered and unpasteurized honey is far superior to processed white sugar and high fructose corn syrup in almost every way. At least 1 to 2 tablespoons of raw honey should be part of your daily diet. Two excellent ways to consume raw honey are in herbal tea and fruit smoothies. For herbal tea, make sure that the water is not too hot, or it will degrade some of the nutritional benefits of the honey. Also, for an added kick of nutrition, add a teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar to a full bodied herbal tea (Rooibos tea is great for this). This tea/honey/vinegar blend will supercharge your immune system. For a wonderful fruit smoothies, place a cup each of frozen strawberries and blueberries in a blender, add coconut milk to cover, add 1 tablespoon of raw honey and then blend until smooth. You can also add some ginger (fresh or ground) or cinnamon for an added zip of flavor and nutrients.

    You should take care to ensure that you are buying quality raw honey. Much of the "real" honey sold by large food retailers is pasteurized and ultra-filtered.This over-processing removes all of the beneficial pollen and propolis, kills all of the beneficial enzymes, and degrades or destroys most of the vitamins and minerals. This harmful processing results in a clear, shelf stable, and bland product that is no better for you than white sugar. And in some cases, dishonest suppliers have even cut their honey with sugar water or corn syrup. This is called "adulterated honey" and it can be revealed only through expensive lab testing. A better approach is to get to know your honey supplier, and buy from companies you trust.

    Honey is not the only special product made by bees. Propolis is a type of natural glue made from plant resins and saps. Bees use propolis to seal up cracks in the hive and to stick parts of the hive together. But propolis is much more than a simple building material. It is also loaded with natural compounds that give propolis strong anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. So not only does it keep out cold air, but propolis also helps to disinfect the hive. Recent studies have demonstrated that these same anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties of propolis can be very beneficial to humans as well. In some studies, gum disease (periodontitis) has been successfully treated with propolis extract.  Adding propolis to throat sprays and cough syrups can significantly increase the effectiveness of these products. And at least one study found that a lip balm containing 0.5% propolis was a better treatment for cold sores than man-made medications such as acyclovir cream.

    Beeswax is another wonder product from the hive. Young bees secrete this wax from special glands on their abdomen. When initially formed, beeswax is a clear, thin flake that is mostly oval in shape. As the bees then work with these flakes to make comb, the wax is mixed with pollen, which then gives the beeswax its distinctive yellow color. People have been using beeswax for centuries for making candles, for waterproofing leather, cloth and tools, for furniture polish and wood care, and for skin care and cosmetics. Because beeswax is naturally waterproof, it makes excellent skin products which protect and moisten skin and do not come off the first time you wash your hands. When combined with honey and propolis, beeswax skin care products take on additional healing properties.

    For more information on specific health benefits of raw honey and other bee products, please click on the following links:

    NOTE: The information provided on this website is provided for information only, and should not be used as personal medical advice. The FDA has not evaluated any of these statements. None of the information or products discussed on this site are intended to diagnose, treat, mitigate or cure any disease. Always consult your doctor or licensed health professional for specific questions regarding your health.

    Raw honey should never be given to children under 1 year old. In rare cases, raw honey may contain botulism spores. The immune systems of infants are not sufficiently developed to handle botulism, and this can lead to severe illness and even death.