THE BENEFITS OF ORGANIC RAW HONEY
“The taste of things recovered is the sweetest honey we will ever know” – Paulo Coelho
Working on our health or getting over an illness is not the easiest thing in the world to do and sometimes it is a long journey from a body that feels dis-ease to a body that feels nourished and vibrant, but when we focus all our efforts on recovery, with the positivity of a no matter what it takes attitude, the rewards truly are as sweet as honey.
Once we begin a clean healthy lifestyle, there is always going to be a lot of attention given to every piece of food we eat or liquid we drink. If we want to reduce inflammation in our body and heal, ensuring we get processed sugar out of the diet is a very big part of that.
At the beginning, our sugar cravings can be especially bad, as we re-train our brain to a different thought process. Our hunger hormones leptin, ghrelin and insulin send signals to the hypothalamus in the brain to give it food and sugar. This can make us have moments of weakness and normally we give in and pick up that bag of candy or tub of ice-cream and while it feels great at the time, we usually feel bloated, heavy and tired afterwards, as the sugar crash sets in.
So, what’s the solution? We need to find a more guilt free alternative, a natural healthier version of sugar, in order to calm that craving. The perfect and simple replacement is raw organic honey. Not the highly processed, supermarket sugar filled “honey like” syrup, but real raw honey with one process – farm to table. This version not only tastes great, but it has a whole host of benefits and today we are going to look at what they are and how they may help your body.
Raw honey has been used as a folk remedy throughout history and has a variety of health benefits and medical uses. It’s even used in some hospitals as a treatment for wounds. While excavating Egypt’s famous pyramids, archaeologists found pots of honey in an ancient tomb. The honey, dating back approximately 3,000 years, is the world's oldest sample – and still perfectly edible.
There was obviously a very good reason why they thought raw honey was so important and necessary in the afterlife. They knew the health benefits specific to raw or unpasteurized honey and how much healing it can bring. Unfortunately, most of the honey you find in the supermarket is pasteurized. The high heat kills unwanted yeast, improves the colour and texture, removes any crystallization, and extends the shelf life, but sadly many of the beneficial nutrients are also destroyed in the process and you are left with nothing but processed syrup, very high in the bad type sugar.
If you’re interested in trying raw honey, buy it from a trusted producer. You’ll taste the difference straight away compared to the supermarket version and if you are like me, you’ll never buy another processed honey again. Just be sure to never heat it up, use it for cooking or put in very hot drinks, because all the beneficial properties will be destroyed.
Here are some health benefits raw honey has to offer:
- Antioxidant Source
- Anti-bacterial & Anti-fungal Properties
- Wound & Ulcer Healing
- Digestive Aid
- Sore Throat Remedy & Natural Cough Syrup
- Counters Pollen Allergies
- Sleep Promotor
Rich Source of Antioxidants
Studies have shown that a daily dose of raw honey raises levels of health-promoting antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants help block free radicals in the body that cause disease. It also boosts the immune system, acting as a preventative against a number of diseases. Honey contains polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants that have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. One study fed 25 subjects about four tablespoons of raw honey per day for 29 days in addition to their regular diets. When blood samples were taken at the start and end of the study, researchers found a clear, direct link between honey consumption and an increased level of disease fighting polyphenols in the blood. Other studies have shown that raw honey contains the disease-fighting antioxidant flavonoids pinocembrin, pinostrobin and chrysin. Pinocembrin supports enzyme activity which induces apoptosis (programmed cell death) of many types of cancer cells.
Anti-Bacterial & Anti-Fungal Properties
Raw honey can kill unwanted bacteria and fungus. Due to the enzymatic production, it naturally contains hydrogen peroxide, an antiseptic. Its effectiveness as an anti-bacterial or anti-fungal varies depending on the honey, but it’s clearly more than a folk remedy for these kinds of infections. Indeed, medicinal importance of honey has been documented in the world's oldest medical literatures, and since the ancient times, it has been known to possess anti-microbial properties.
Wound & Ulcer Healing
The healing property of honey is due to the fact that it offers anti-bacterial activity, maintains a moist wound condition, and its high viscosity helps to provide a protective barrier to prevent infection. Its immunomodulatory property is relevant to wound repair too, therefore Honey-infused bandages are known to aid healing. For the treatment of burns and wounds, honey is typically applied directly to the problem area or in a dressing that’s changed every 24 to 48 hours. Sometimes the dressing is left in place for up to 25 days. Raw honey has also been studied for its use in effectively treating various types of ulcers. Honey may reduce the size, pain and odour of problematic skin ulcers.
Raw honey is a potent prebiotic, meaning it nourishes the good bacteria that live in the intestines, which are crucial not only for digestion but overall health. It contains compounds called oligosaccharides which are not digestible in the small intestines. They reach the large intestine where the good bacteria utilise them to make nutrients that we can use. Another thing that makes raw honey special is that it is a non-dairy probiotic product. This is a huge advantage if you are lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy products. Since dairy products are the ones that typically have probiotic/prebiotic properties, raw honey is an excellent alternative source for prebiotics.
Ways you can incorporate raw honey into your natural protocols to help with digestive issues you may have are;
- Ingest one to two tablespoons of raw honey to counteract indigestion since it doesn’t ferment in the stomach.
- Mix honey with ginger and lemon juice to help counteract nausea.
Sore Throat Remedy & Natural Cough Syrup
Raw honey is an old sore throat remedy shown to be very effective. Add it to lukewarm water or herbal tea with lemon when you catch a cold virus. It also works as a cough suppressant. Research has suggested that one single dose of raw honey is as effective as dextromethorphan, a common ingredient in over-the-counter cough medication in reducing mucus secretion. For a cough, a half teaspoon to two teaspoons of honey at bedtime is a studied and recommended dosage for anyone over the age of one.
Counters Pollen Allergies
Raw honey contains bee pollen, which is known to ward off infections, provide natural allergy relief and boost overall immunity. Honey’s ability to prevent allergies is based on a concept called immunotherapy. How so? The bees in your neighbourhood go from flower to flower collecting pollen that causes you to suffer, but when you consume local raw honey, you also consume that same offending local pollen. After some time, an allergy sufferer may become less sensitive to this pollen that previously caused problems and experience less seasonal allergy symptoms. Many seasonal allergy sufferers have found local, raw honey to be helpful, because it desensitises them to the fauna triggering their allergic reaction. Some people say that a daily tablespoon of honey can actually act like an allergy shot. The type of honey is key though since pasteurised honey does not contain any pollen. For possible seasonal allergy relief, you need to consume organic raw honey with pollen in it.
Raw honey promotes restorative sleep in two ways. By consuming honey before bedtime, it restocks the liver’s glycogen supply and prevents the brain from triggering a crisis search for fuel, which can wake you up. Secondly, eating raw honey fosters the release of melatonin in the brain by creating a small spike in insulin levels, which stimulates the release of tryptophan in the brain. Tryptophan converts to serotonin, which is then converted to melatonin. Melatonin also boosts immunity and helps rebuild tissue during periods of rest. Poor sleep, by comparison, has been shown to be a risk factor for hypertension, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and arthritis. As honey is a proven natural sleep aid, it naturally lowers the risk of all these health problems.
Raw honey is the most natural form of honey you can purchase, because it’s unfiltered and unpasteurized, which means there is no processing or heating to decrease its natural vitamin and mineral content. It contains disease preventing and disease fighting flavonoids, has propolis and bee pollen, so you get the benefits of those natural powerhouses as well.
These are just a couple of the benefits organic raw honey has to offer, there are many more, but there is no doubt in my mind if you want to get rid of refined sugar from your diet, then making the switch to organic raw honey is a change for the better. Here’s to eating more natural raw honey and less processed, sugar filled “honey like” syrup!
For a selection of high quality Organic Raw Honey & Homemade Jams made in Mexico, check out our store and start making those healthy food choices today.
Remember…YOUR PATH TO HEALTH STARTS HERE…a small change today can mean a big impact tomorrow.
Healthy Options Market...helping you begin your journey to a healthier new you, with the best superfoods and health products that Mexico has to offer.
The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Healthy Options Market. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright. They are solely intended to spark discussion and the thought process behind issues pertaining to general health, wellness and are for sharing knowledge and information on research only. They are not medical advice. Always seek the advice of a Professional Healthcare Provider when making any decisions regarding your health.