Raw honey is an amazing gift from nature. It contains 22 amino acids, 27 minerals and 5,000 enzymes. Minerals include iron, zinc, postassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and selenium. Vitamins found in honey include vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and niacin. It also contains polyphenols which are antioxidants.
When you buy honey from the grocery store, you are getting ultra-filtered honey – a high-tech procedure where honey is heated, sometimes watered down and then forced at high pressure through extremely small filters to remove pollen, in order to prevent crystallizing. Usually they also add high fructose corn syrup or other sweeteners that are cheaper than the natural honey which enables the distributors to get more product for their money, and sometimes even harmful antibiotics have been found. So you are basically left with fraudulent, unhealthy honey. But as long as it looks pretty, that’s all that matters right?
The American Beekeeping Federation is a group representing U.S. producers of non-ultra-filtered honey. They believe that real honey must have pollen. They petitioned the FDA to set a legal standard for honey, but they were denied. According to the FDA, honey is described as: “a thick, sweet, syrupy substance that bees make as food from the nectar of flowers and store in honeycombs.” (They literally took this straight from Webster’s Dictionary). The USDA stepped things up a notch by creating a voluntary grading system that lets producers put Grade A, Grade B, or Grade C on their labels, with zero enforcement. There are no existing programs that require the official inspection and certification of honey. Enforcement is based solely on responding to complaints. So if no one complains to the USDA about the quality of their honey, then manufacturers can continue putting whatever additives they want into their honey and still slap a Grade A label on it because they believe it’s worthy of Grade A.
China was illegally filling U.S. shelves with adulterated honey which contained chloramphenicol, a powerful antibiotic that can lead to a potentially fatal bone marrow disorder. It is not approved for food use in the United States, which is why the import of Chinese honey has been banned. You would think this means that we are safe, but if the honey has been ultra-filtered with the pollen removed, we now can’t track where the honey is from. Fraudulent manufacturers are still getting the cheaper honey from China and sending it to other countries first such as Indonesia, Malaysia and India, then importing to the U.S.
According to truththeory.com, “There are well over 30 commercial producers of honey that have no traces of pollen and lack beneficial vitamins and enzymes among a host of other natural constituents which are removed due to pasteurization and processing.”
1. Leaving it raw and unheated keeps the enzymes ,vitamins and minerals and amino acids in tact. These amino acids increase the growth of healthy tissue. Once it is pasteurized and ultrafiltered, the beneficial enzymes are destroyed and the pollen is removed and you are left with liquid fructose and glucose. This is what you are buying at the grocery store. The process of pasteurization began in order to kill the possibility of Clostridium botulinum spores that can develop in raw honey. Botulism spores are in air, soil, water and plants so it can be in the honey that the bees produce. The CDC recommends that people with compromised immune systems and babies under the age of one year should not consume raw, unpasteurized honey because their digestive system cannot handle this bacteria. Anyone over the age of one has a more mature digestive system where this bacteria will not thrive.
2. Desensitizes Allergic Symptoms
Natural, unfiltered, raw honey contains pollen. Consuming small amounts of honey from a local bee keeper (within 50 miles of where you live) means that you will be consuming some of the pollen from plants around your area. By exposing your body to small amounts of this on a regular basis, your body becomes desensitized and will no longer produce a “histamine response” or allergy symptoms. A 2013 study found that eating honey at a high dose (one gram per kilogram of body weight of honey daily) can improve allergy symptoms over a period of eight weeks. The honey consumption improved overall and individual symptoms of allergic rhinitis. (1)(If you’re allergic or sensitive to celery, pollen or have other bee-related allergies, you should not consume raw honey.)
3. Disease Fighting Polyphenols
Researchers say honey contains varying concentrations of polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants that are thought to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer Back in 2004, Researchers did a study with 25 participants. They each took about 4 tablespoons of buckwheat honey per day for 29 days. The more polyphenol-containing honey they ate, the higher the levels of antioxidants were in their blood. (2) An anti-oxidant called pinocembrin in unfiltered honey improves brain performance.
4. Fights Infection
It also has antibacterial, antiseptic properties inhibiting disease causing micro-organisms. It has been very helpful in treating skin infections, wound healing, burns, urinary tract infections, throat irritations, colds and coughs. A Pubmed study published in July, 2010 said honey has been shown to be a more effective cough suppressant for children ages 2-18 than dextromethorphan or diphenhydramine, 2 common ingredients in over-the-counter cough syrups.(3)
5. Promotes Better Sleep
Eating honey before bedtime re-stocks the liver with glycogen and ensures getting through the night before the brain triggers a crisis search for fuel, which would normally wake you up. (4) Having honey and cinnamon in hot water before bed is a delicious way to get a good night’s sleep and to also boost your metabolism!
I hope you find this information useful and decide to find a local beekeeper in your community to support. Check out “The Honey Traveler” Blog with a list of United States Beekeepers – Click Here