People have been using honey for centuries for both food and medicinal purposes. However, controversy seems to exist around whether natural or processed honey is better for you. Many believe that the raw variety provides more health benefits, while others argue there's no distinction between the two. Discover the reasons why raw honey is healthier than processed honey.
Raw vs. Processed Honey
To understand the health benefits of raw honey, you first have to know the main distinctions between raw and processed honey.
The best way to describe raw honey is “fresh from the beehive.” Beekeepers remove it from the hive and pour it onto nylon or mesh cloth to separate impurities such as beeswax, pollen, and bits of dead bees from the honey.
It appears cloudy and dense because it hasn't gone through pasteurization, but it's still good to consume. After this simple process, it's ready for packaging and enjoyment!
On the other hand, the production of processed honey requires several more steps before it's bottled. These steps are:
- Pasteurization is a process that destroys yeast that affects the flavor of honey using high temperatures of heat, which makes it smoother and extends its shelf life.
- Filtration works to remove debris and air bubbles to create clear, aesthetically appealing honey.
- Ultrafiltration is an additional filtration process that works to refine the honey further. However, this process may also remove the beneficial nutrients and antioxidants typically found in honey.
The process of making processed honey is somewhat different from the raw process, which leads to distinct variances between the quality levels of each type.
Benefits of Raw Honey
Raw honey encompasses a wide variety of nutrients, including specific elements that provide health advantages. Pasteurization and filtering processes remove or diminish specific components as a result of exposure to high temperatures, including:
- Bee pollen and propolis
- Minerals and vitamins
- Amino acids and enzymes
Raw honey offers more robust health benefits for repairing wounds and combating infections than processed honey.
The advantages of bee pollen are plentiful, and the pasteurization process removes it from the honey. Some of the benefits include:
- Antifungal and antibacterial properties
- Pain-relieving capabilities
All of these factors make bee pollen a crucial part of natural honey and contribute to its natural capacity to heal abrasions and destroy bacteria.
Bee pollen also contains several minerals such as calcium and magnesium, various vitamins, and amino acids.
Bee propolis is an adhesive material bees use to construct their hives and keep everything together. Many people believe this sticky matter is beneficial for people as well.
Bee propolis also has anti-inflammatory and antifungal effects, but it may also hold anti-ulcer and anti-cancer potential. It contains potassium, magnesium, and several other vitamins and enzymes.
How Processing Destroys the Benefits of Honey
Antioxidants lessen oxidative stress in the body. Raw honey holds flavonoids and phenolic acids with antioxidant properties. The types of antioxidants found in raw honey vary based on the flowers that the bees pollinate.
Many people think that pasteurization eliminates most of the nutritional components of honey. However, there's no formal research on exactly how pasteurization affects the antioxidants in honey, but studies prove that heat processes diminish the antioxidant concentration in several different foods.
Many manufacturers also include sweeteners and other additives in their honey during processing. You'll see several honey products in stores that aren't 100 percent natural honey because they contain added sugars, such as brown rice syrup or high fructose corn syrup.
You can't guarantee that your honey doesn't contain extra additives unless the label indicates "raw." Raw honey doesn't have any additional ingredients other than what it takes from the hive, which is the main reason why raw honey is healthier than processed honey.
Does Raw Mean Organic?
In short, no. Raw honey isn't always organic. Some organic products still undergo pasteurization and processing.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic seal appears on the labels of organic products. The seal simply indicates that the bee farm it came from follows the USDA guidelines for organic honey.
The appearance of the honey product helps you determine whether it's raw. Processed honey looks extremely clear and smooth, but raw honey has a mixture of colors and a cloudy or milky appearance. Therefore, if you're seeking honey that encompasses nutrients like bee pollen, you need to be sure the label declares "raw."
Raw honey is generally available in stores and at farmers' markets. You may also choose between brands of raw wholesale honey online for possible discount rates.
Risks of Honey
Both raw and filtered honey is safe for people to ingest, though it's beneficial to avoid those that include additional sugars. Still, those allergic to bee pollen should stay away from bee products, including raw honey.
However, all types of honey may contain small volumes of bacteria called clostridium botulinum. This bacteria can cause an unusual type of food poisoning known as botulism. Therefore, it's safe for the majority of people over one-year-old. However, infants one year and younger shouldn't consume any honey because their digestive tract hasn't adequately developed to combat the bacteria.
Those with a major pollen allergy might react to raw honey in rare cases. For that reason, you should consider speaking with your doctor or allergist before using or consuming raw honey if you have allergies.
Since raw honey contains authentic natural ingredients without processing, it may be a better option for people using honey for health benefits. Raw honey sometimes comes in crystal form rather than liquid. Additionally, raw honey already in liquid form tends to crystallize more swiftly than other honey.
To decrystallize, put the honey jar in a bowl of boiling water to soften the crystals and change it to liquid again. However, be cautious not to cook it, as you may destroy its healthful properties.
After learning about all the benefits raw honey has to offer, you may be searching for the best place to get it. Search no further; visit Crystal's Honey online for more information or to purchase raw honey today!