Honey, the stuff that bees make in their hives, is harvested, then processed for sale and ends up in your tea. Did you know that it is actually healthier eaten raw? Fresh from the hive? Let me convince you to try raw honey instead of regular honey.
What is honey? How honey is made?
To start right at the beginning, bees make honey through floral nectar found in flowers and store this in honeycombs in their bee hives. Beekeepers take this honey after which it is processed and sold. This type of honey is called regular honey and is probably the most common and familiar form of honey. Honey has many amazing health benefits, it improves healing wounds, treating coughs and helps control blood pressure and cholesterol. But most of these health benefits are related to raw honey due to the higher nutritional levels compared to regular honey.
Raw honey is processed differently, it is taken from the bee hive and instead of being processed it is immediately strained and poured into bottles. This makes raw honey more nutritious than regular honey, but also comes with a side effect.
For instance, spores of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum could be found in raw honey. This bacterium could cause botulism poising and leads to life-threatening paralysis. Most adults and children have developed a strong enough gut to stop these spores from growing and is therefore very rare. Unfortunately, pregnant women, babies and children under the age of 1 and people in ill health are at risk and should avoid eating raw honey. On a quick side note, regular honey could also contain spores of this bacterium and should also be avoided by pregnant women, children under the age of 1 and babies.
Honey benefits - what is honey good for? What honey is the best one?
Regular honey loses a lot of nutrients through pasteurization and bypass filtration, whereas Raw Honey keeps all its nutrients. Raw Honey contains roughly 31 different minerals and 30 types of bioactiv
e plant compounds which act as antioxidants. Antioxidants are believed to have awesome health benefits such as lowering the risk of heart disease. Furthermore, raw honey contains 22 amino acids and many vitamins and enzymes. One of the reasons of raw honey having more nutrients is because it still contains bee pollen. Due to processing methods bee pollen can be removed from regular honey. Bee pollen has great health benefits for example, to fight inflammation, improve liver function, heart disease and strokes.
Another great benefit of raw honey is that it does not contain any hidden sweeteners or sugars which are sometimes added in regular honey. But raw honey is still a sweetener of which 40% fructose and 30% glucose, the rest is water, pollen and minerals. Ordinary cane sugar is 50% fructose and 50% glucose. A teaspoonful of raw honey is 21 calories compared to 16 calories in a teaspoonful of table sugar. Although honey does taste sweeter, so less can be used. Please remember over indulging honey and other sugars can cause weight gain and dental decay!
Important to know is that raw honey is not the same as organic honey. Organic honey is based on the living conditions of the bees on the bee farm and can still be processed. Whereas raw honey can only be classified as raw honey when it has not been pasteurized or processed. Therefore, organic honey possibly still loses some of the nutrition values which remain in raw honey.
- Regular honey and organic honey can lose nutrients during processing. However, organic honey is made from healthier bees and flowers because they are not allowed to come in contact with chemicals and pesticides.
- Raw honey is not processed which means it keeps most of its potential nutrients.
- Raw honey has many benefits because it still contains bee pollen, many amino acids, vitamins, minerals and bioactive plant compounds which act as antioxidants.
- So when you choose a honey, choose Raw Honey or a honey type which has had minimal processing.
- Do not forget that honey is best to be avoided by babies, children under the age of 1 and pregnant women and people in ill health due to the bacterial risk it carries.
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Written by Sven Nicholson | Online Personal Trainer at www.healthychanges-pt.com