“If everything is honey and I am what I eat, I must be made of honey and life is very sweet” – Winnie the Pooh
It is a rare and wonderful thing when something very good for you also happens to be delicious. Raw honey is one of those special superfoods; packed full of natural antioxidants, nutrients and healthy enzymes, honey’s many health benefits include being effective in the treatment of allergies, healing wounds, helping with digestive issues, giving a natural energy boost and can even help to relieve hangovers!
Most of the honey we find in our supermarkets has undergone a number of processes, such as heating of the honey to make it appear more golden and remove any crystallization. This is the honey most of us are used to – golden, syrupy looking honey which can be easily drizzled and dripped over almost anything for a sweeter flavour. Unfortunately, this ‘prettying up’ process destroys many of the beneficial antioxidants and healthy bacteria which make honey such an effective natural medicine.
Raw honey isn’t processed or pasteurised. It is honey made by bees from the nectar of flowers, taken straight from the hive and packaged as it is – raw, natural and fully organic. It has a different appearance and texture to processed honey, often appearing creamy rather than clear, with a firmer texture. It tastes just as great, if not better, than processed honey and is still perfect to eat straight from the jar, to use with teas, to add sweetness when baking, with fruits, yogurt, salad dressing, desserts, or even just on bread or toast. There are even some delicious raw honey products that have been slowly infused with other natural flavours at a low temperature to keep all of the goodness in, like vanilla, chocolate and cinnamon which are, as unbelievable as it may seem for such delicious treats, fully organic and actually good for you!
Raw honey has a number of surprising benefits, including:
Raw honey contains particular antioxidants callednatural phenolic compounds, which play an important role in cancer prevention and treatment. These antioxidants help to protect your body from cell damage due to free radicals, which are molecules, atoms and ions in our bodies that contribute to the aging process and to the development of chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease
Raw honey provides natural allergy relief and boosts immunity because it contains bee pollen. This works in a way similar to vaccinations, as the raw honey also uses a type of immunotherapy. As bees travel from flower to flower, they collect pollen, which in turn sets of allergic reactions for many of us. Sufferers of Hay fever can attest to how utterly uncomfortable and frustrating it can be to live with some of the symptoms; usually red, watery eyes and painful overactive sinuses that feel impossible to relieve.
By ingesting raw honey, especially if it comes from bees near your local area, you’re also consuming the very same pollen that sets off your allergies. While this may seem counterintuitive, over time the raw honey will help you to build up an immunity to the pollen, making you much less sensitive to its effects.
Healing of Wounds
Types of raw honey are often used to treat wounds as they contain natural, germ killing antibacterial properties which help to speed the healing process and reduce infection in wounds.
A Natural Energy Boost
Raw honey contains natural sugars, minerals, vitamins and protein, providing an easily absorbed supply of energy. This makes raw honey ideal for giving you that extra boost you may need before and after exercise, or just to help you get going in the morning.
A Hangover Cure
Raw honey is said to be a surprisingly simple but effective hangover cure. Thanks to its powerful antioxidant properties, raw honey is able to help your body neutralise and break down some of the toxins that are created by alcohol. It has even been claimed that consuming honey before drinking could just help you avoid that next morning headache altogether!
Are there Risks to Raw Honey?
While raw, unpasteurised honey is packed with beneficial bacteria and nutrients, there is a small risk that the honey might also carry some harmful spores, such as Botulism. However, the chances of contracting the bacteria from raw honey are very low. While Botulism is unlikely and its effects are curable, it is advisable to avoid feeding honey to infants younger than 12 months to err on the side of caution.