We are all familiar with honey. This thick, sweet, golden syrup made by honeybees, but did you know there are two major groups of honey?
Ever heard of “raw honey”?
Coming straight from the beehive, it is made by extracting honey from the honeycombs. A real raw honey contains bee pollen, bee propolis, beeswax, and plenty of antioxidants.
With the pasteurization and filtration, the making of regular honey diminishes many of the beneficial elements. During pasteurization, a lot of the yeast cells are killed to increase regular honey’s shelf life; while in the process of filtration, regular honey is further refined to make it more transparent and smooth, which removes pollen, enzymes and antioxidants. For this reason, raw unfiltered honey provides much more health benefits than regular honey as it preserves most of the nutrients.
So, which is the best raw honey? Among all the different exotic honeys displayed on the shelves, you can start with strawberry tree honey, honeydew honey, or manuka honey, they are praised as the most nutritious raw honey in the market now.
Difference Between Raw Honey and Regular Honey
Here is an easier way to tell the difference between raw honey and regular honey:
Pasteurized and filtered
Clear and smooth
Over 250 substances and pollen
Might contain sweetener and comes without pollen
Nutrition Facts of Raw Honey
Honey is composed primarily of fructose (fruit sugar) and glucose. In fact, sugar accounts for 95 to 99% of honey and water is the second most abundant component.
The sugar in honey is generally sweeter in taste, and provides more energy than artificial sweeteners.
Calories in raw honey are approximately 60 kcal, with 17 grams of carbs and 16 grams of sugar (one tablespoon). It also contains many amino acids, vitamins, minerals and enzymes. The exact composition of raw honey depends on the plants the bees collect nectar from, but can roughly include these elements:
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
Health Benefits of Raw Honey
Nutritionally, raw honey contains no fat, protein or fiber.
It is high in antioxidants, these include organic acids and phenolic compounds like flavonoids. Next time when you see a honey, take a look at its color, it is said the more antioxidants it has, the darker the color should be.
The antioxidants in raw honey also lower the risk of heart diseases, this is because the compounds are linked to lower blood pressure.
What’s more? Studies have shown that raw honey also helps improve cholesterol levels, lower triglycerides, and ultimately lead to moderate weight loss.
Needless to mention that honey can also be used to suppress or cure coughs. Next time when the kids are throwing tantrums at the cough syrups, try a full spoon of raw honey, it can also improve their sleep better than common cough medications.
(Nevertheless, honey should never be given to children under one year of age due to the risk for botulism)
Let’s also not forget that back in ancient Egypt, raw honey is used to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, simply by applying a layer on the affected area. It is as well considered effective to treat burn wounds.
Beauty Hacks with Raw Honey
If raw honey can help soothe skin irritation, can it be used as a beauty product?
Obviously a yes!
Raw honey can balance the bacteria on your skin, which makes it great to use for acne. Putting raw honey on your face will activate your immune system and help with inflammation, as well as heal blemishes.
If your skin is in need of a hydrating boost, you might want to consider making your raw honey face mask, take a tablespoon of raw honey and spread a thin layer on damp skin, leave it on for 20 minutes and rinse off. You'll find your skin is left instantly nourished.
Apart from being a pimple saver and hydro mask, you can also use raw honey for your hair, as exfoliant or cleanser.
A Wrap-up and Q&As about Raw Honey
Q: Is raw honey good for you?
A: Of course! Combined with all the points mentioned above, it is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. All of which are proven to be beneficial to our immune system and can lower the risk of heart diseases.
Q: What does raw honey look like?
A: It varies from the flowers and plants the honeybees choose. Generally speaking, it should be cloudy and opaque compared to those refined, clear ones.
Q: Can pregnant women eat raw honey?
A: Although raw honey can be dangerous to babies under the age of 1, studies have shown that the adult gastrointestinal system has bacteria that protect against botulism, and the molecule is unlikely to pass through placenta. Hence, eating raw honey during pregnancy is totally fine to both the baby and the mother.
Q: Is raw honey good for diabetics?
A: People who have diabetes or are on sugar-restricted diets may choose to eat raw honey to avoid significant changes in their blood sugar levels. Raw honey has a glycemic index (GI) of 58, meaning it has a medium effect on blood sugar levels. However, a moderate consumption is suggested.
Q: Does raw honey expire?
A: 100% pure and raw honey should last indefinitely if stored properly, meaning in air-tight containers as well as stowed away from heat.
Q: How to store raw honey properly?
A: Be sure to store it in an air-tight container (ideally glass jar), it is essential that the lid of the jar is fully secured to preserve the quality. Store in a cool environment, avoid direct sunlight and heat.