Winnie the Pooh said: “A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey in it”.
Since ancient times, honey has been used as both food and medicine. Raw, organic honey contains pollen. This pollen is known as a superfood that has many health properties and benefits. Sadly, the food industry has over the years processed raw honey with heat and filtration, leaving the end- product with far less nutrients. Studies have found that 77% of honey bought in supermarkets contains no pollen at all. There is also a growing concern of honey being fortified with sugar such as sucrose and corn syrup to keep up with the high demand of buyers and consumers.
Honey, good or bad?
Honey is definitely good for you and is a great alternative to refined sugar if you eat it raw and unprocessed. The pasteurisation of honey destroys the yeast with high heat treatment to extend shelf life. The filtration of honey removes the impurities and makes the honey smooth and transparent, but also destroys pollen, enzymes, anti-oxidants and the protein found in honey.
What are the nutritional benefits of raw honey?
Raw honey is a nutrient-powerhouse and contains 22 different amino-acids, 31 different vitamins and minerals, many anti-oxidants, different enzymes as well as essential fatty acids.
The health benefits of raw honey
- Pollen in honey helps to strengthen the immune system and helps to fight allergies.
- Honey aids in wound healing and burns.
- It fights bad bacteria and is anti-fungal.
- Honey contains natural sugars named fructose that are, if eaten in moderation, better tolerated by people with Diabetes.
- It helps with digestion.
- Honey is known to soothe and heal sore throat and coughs
- Studies have found that it can lower total cholesterol levels by reducing LDL, the “bad cholesterol” and increase HDL the “good cholesterol”. Studies have also shown a lowering of Triglyceride-levels in the blood when cane or processed sugars are replaced with raw honey.
- It can lower blood pressure, as well as lower the risk of heart disease.
- Honey helps to reduce inflammation in the body.
- It improves liver function.
Is raw honey safe for everyone?
Some honeys may contain traces of Clostridium Botulinum, a bacteria that is harmful to babies. It is generally advised not to give honey for children under one year of age, as their immune systems and digestive tracts are still developing.
Pooh must have known something about the health benefits of honey when he said: “If everything is honey, and I am what I eat, I must be made of honey….and life is very sweet!”