Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Benefits of Raw Honey for Your Health

Raw honey, natural honey, refined honey, flavoured honey, manuka honey or clover honey. Oh Honey! With so many types of honey, it can be confusing which one to opt for.

Well, long story short- always choose raw honey. If the word raw appears on the packaging label, you’re good to go!

Aside from being delicious, raw honey is also good for you. Historically known to heal wounds and be an all in one cure, people have used raw honey in traditional medicine for hundreds of years. Many of these health benefits are specific to raw honey. Most of the honey you find in grocery stores have been pasteurised and processed. Raw honey is hard to come by but it’s the healthiest form of honey to consume. So it’s worth the hunt.

What is raw honey?

The sweet liquid gold straight from the hive of the honeybee is called raw honey. Raw honey is honey that hasn’t been filtered or pasteurised. Raw honey also contains bee pollen and bee propolis, which serves as the perfect blend of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients and many other nutritional compounds. Regular, pasteurised honey does not contain the same levels of bee propolis and bee pollen as raw honey.

How can you identify raw honey?

First things first, always read the label. Words like raw, organic or natural should pique your attention. Raw honey is thick, sticky and caramelises when heated, never leaves its spot and forms a lump inside the water

Here are some health benefits raw honey has to offer —

  1. Raw honey is a good source of antioxidants

Raw honey is bursting with plant chemicals which act as antioxidants. These antioxidants help protect your body from cell damage caused by free radicals. Raw honey contains a range of compounds that act as antioxidants like phytochemicals, flavonoids, and ascorbic acid. Research has shown that antioxidant compounds called polyphenols found in raw honey have anti-inflammatory effects that can protect you against a number of conditions caused by oxidative stress. If raw honey has bee pollen and bee propolis, consider it honey with added benefits. Some varieties of raw honey even have as many antioxidants as fruits and veggies.

  1. Raw honey is full of nutrition

The nutritional value of raw honey is unmatched. Calcium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, amino acids, enzymes, zinc, you name it and its found in every spoonful of raw honey.

  1. Raw honey is anti-pathogenic in nature

This means that raw honey has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Raw honey can be used as an internal as well as a topical treatment. Honey contains hydrogen peroxide, glucose oxidase and has a low pH level, which means that it can kill harmful bacteria and fungi. An added bonus is that honey does not help yeast or bacteria to grow because of its unique chemical composition.

  1. Honey can instantly boost your energy

Natural sugars present in honey taste good and provide a healthy energy boost to the brain unlike processed sugar which creates an imbalance in your blood sugar levels and leads to cravings. A spoonful of honey can give you instant energy and regulate your cholesterol levels by lowering the levels of bad “LDL” cholesterol and raising good “HDL” cholesterol.

  1. Raw honey can effectively soothe a sore throat and cough

I’m sure we can all remember our grandmothers shoving a spoonful of honey in our mouths with the slightest appearance of a cough or sore throat. Well, it’s time we believe this home remedy can work. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of raw honey help relieve a sore throat and cough. To squeeze out all the nutritional goodness raw honey has to offer, take a teaspoon of raw honey and slowly swallow it. Avoid other liquids or foods for a little while afterward to allow the honey to coat the throat and work its magic.

  1. Raw honey heals wounds

Raw honey has antimicrobial properties which can heal wounds. Honey that contains propolis and royal jelly is best for wound healing. Be sure to consult your doctor before using honey for any medical purposes.

  1. Raw honey is a sleep aid

A tablespoon of honey just before bed can work fabulously in treating insomnia. This quick remedy restocks the liver’s glycogen and prevents hunger cues from the brain, it slightly raises insulin levels and helps tryptophan to enter the brain cells which allows your mind and body to rest.

  1. Raw honey is often used to treat skin and hair issues

Raw honey is packed with compounds that are marvellous for healthy skin. These  components hold onto water and keep the skin well-hydrated and oil-free thus effectively acting as a skin moisturiser and antibacterial toner that slows down ageing. Some enzymes found in raw honey even act as an exfoliator and remove dead skin cells leaving you with glowing skin. Honey can also relieve a dry and itchy scalp and even help with hair fall.

  1. Raw honey aids in weight loss

Raw honey before bedtime can help your body burn more calories while you sleep. Raw honey contains essential hormones that can curb your appetite and help in healthy weight loss.

  1. Raw honey is a phytonutrient powerhouse

Phytonutrients are compounds found in plants that help protect the plant from harm. The phytonutrients present in honey are responsible for its antioxidant, antibacterial and antifungal powers. These phytonutrients are also thought to be the reason raw honey has shown to benefit our immune systems and have anti cancer properties.

  1. Raw honey is great for your digestive system

Honey is often used to treat digestive issues such as diarrhoea, the H. pylori bacteria, stomach ulcers and soothe your digestive system. Honey contains beneficial prebiotics, which nourishes the intestines with good bacteria and is great for your overall digestive health. Be sure to avoid having too much honey because excess sugar can make diarrhoea and other stomach issues worse.

  1. Brain benefits of raw honey

Raw honey is often referred to as the brain booster. It has cognitive benefits thanks to its antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties. Regularly eating raw honey can help with memory, boost neuroprotective functions and even treat dementia and other neuroinflammatory diseases.

When does raw honey turns to ‘sugar’?

Raw honey may crystallise and become grainy after a few months of storage but it’s still safe to eat and full of all its nutritional goodness. Be sure not to microwave raw honey or put it directly in boiling water or on a hot stove top, as this may destroy some of its nutrients.

How should I store raw honey?

Honey doesn’t expire very easily but it can become contaminated in some cases. Make sure to keep your honey in a tightly sealed container away from light and extreme temperatures. After a while, your honey may crystallise. This is completely safe. In case the honey has drastically changed its colour or smells funky , throw it out.

In a nutshell, raw honey should definitely be a part of your diet.

Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

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