Believe it or not, that cute plastic honey bear might not contain honey at all…. But if it does, it’s likely that the honey inside does not have the healthy benefits that real, raw honey can provide. Here’s what you need to know before you buy honey.
You see, commercial honeys you can buy at the supermarket are heated and ultra-filtered to achieve a certain level of clarity and to keep them from crystallizing at room temperature. Unfortunately, this removes the pollen (which contains some very important benefits), and also destroys many of the healthy enzymes and other healing properties contained in honey.
And some honey is even not real honey at all! Tests have found high-fructose corn syrup in some commercially sold honeys, so you’re not even getting what you think you’re buying…
So how can you make sure you’re getting the real thing? Make sure to choose organic, unfiltered raw honey. Not only is it the real deal, but it’s the only honey (and one of the few sweeteners out there) that’s actually good for you! (Keep in mind that raw honey may cause allergic reactions in those with bee allergies, so it should be consumed with caution. Honey should also never be given to infants under 1 year.)
Here are some of the surprising health benefits that raw honey can provide:
Whether ingested or used topically, raw honey does a body good. Studies have shown that honey exhibits potential for cancer prevention and treatment. If that doesn’t speak to its potent healing powers, then what will? If you need more convincing, here are few more ways honey can be beneficial to overall health.
Cold and flu
According to the World Health Organization, honey works just as well as dextromethorphan (DM), the active cough suppressant in many over-the-counter cold medications. Try a natural cough syrup in lieu of store bought medicine:
- Simmer 1 cup honey, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 2 teaspoons sage over medium heat.
- Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Strain, cool, and drink one to two ounces a few times throughout the day to help soothe coughs.
- Store in a mason jar in the refrigerator up to one month.
Some members of the natural health community also believe that locally sourced raw honey may help combat seasonal allergies, but the research is limited.
Before there was penicillin, there was honey. “Honey was used to treat infected wounds as long ago as 2000 years before bacteria were discovered to be the cause of infection,” wrote Peter Charles Molan in the electronic journal World Wide Wounds. He also states that honey has been found to inhibit around 60 species of bacteria. Since there is a growing global issue of antibiotic-resistant microbes, the therapeutic properties of honey are being more closely explored in recent years.
Honey may also treat minor burns more effectively than some antibiotic ointments.
As an antibacterial, ingesting honey can help soothe diarrhea symptoms and ulcers caused by bacterial infections.
Manuka honey is a special type produced in New Zealand when bees pollinate the native manuka bush. Honey naturally contains hydrogen peroxide—which is where it gets its antibiotic properties—raw manuka honey possesses that and then some, including a higher concentration of methylglyoxal from dihydroxyacetone found in the nectar of manuka flowers, giving it even greater antibacterial strength. Eat it regularly to experience to treat your insides to manuka’s healing power.
Digestion and weight
Practitioners of traditional Ayurvedic medicine believe honey can boost digestion. And although it’s considered a simple carbohydrate just like sugar, it has a lower glycemic index, so it won’t spike blood sugar levels the same way. Therefore it can add a lovely sweetness to drinks and dishes without the same deleterious effects as regular sugar.
Intrigued? Try mixing up a metabolism-boosting tonic with these ingredients:
One study also found that honey may help regulate LDL cholesterol when subbing it in for sugar. Bear in mind, it hasn’t been proven to actually lower LDL levels, but serves as a heart-healthier alternative to regular sugar.
Anecdotal evidence has linked honey with improved sleep, presumably by providing adequate glycogen to the liver while the body is at rest, preventing the brain from activating a stress response. Try adding a bit of honey to a cup of warm almond milk—a classic comforting beverage.
For more on the amazing properties of raw honey, as well as several delicious recipes for using honey in your kitchen, check out the full article at Thrive.com.