You’ve come across different types of honey, but Why is Raw Honey better than Regular Honey? Let’s find out all about raw honey in this post.
What if I told you that the first sweetener used by man was also considered a currency or a valuable gift? Yes, honey was all this and much more! Being used since 2100 B.C., honey his considered the nectar of the Gods, and rightly so.
We know that honey is thick, sweet and amber colored, and that it’s made by bees. But there’s a lot more to honey than that – in fact, there are many different kinds of honey, based on where they’re sourced from and how they’re processed. Today we look at two of the most common kinds of honey – raw honey and regular honey you find in stores.
Difference between Raw Honey and Regular Honey
Raw honey is honey exactly the way it was in the beehive. Raw honey is extracted directly from honeycombs. The honey is then poured through a mesh or nylon cloth to catch impurities like honeycomb chunks, beeswax and bodies of dead bees. Once that’s done, the strained honey is ready to consume.
Raw honey is usually thick and cloudy and its appearance is subject to temperature. Raw honey tends to crystallize at lower temperatures, although it’ll turn liquid again if the honey jar is placed in hot water.
Regular honey, also known as commercial honey is what we get in stores and supermarkets. Regular honey is obtained when raw honey is subject to several processes like pasteurization and filtration. Pasteurization involves applying high temperatures – up to 70 degrees – to destroy microorganisms in the honey. Filtration removes other impurities and makes the honey clear and almost transparent. In some cases, the honey also undergoes ultrafiltration, which refines the honey even more.
All these processes result in extending the shelf life of honey and making it look more uniform and attractive. Regular honey is also more liquid, and is often diluted with water or extra virgin olive oil. Regular honey may also have other flavors and additives added to it.
Honey has been used as currency, as food, as beauty treatments and even as medicine. However, most of these benefits came when people used raw, unpasteurized honey. Do you get all these benefits with regular honey too? Let’s find out.
Why is Raw Honey better than Regular Honey?
1. Raw Honey has antioxidant benefits
Raw honey is a treasure trove of nutrients, most importantly plant compounds and antioxidants like polyphenols, ascorbic acid and flavonoids. These antioxidants reduce oxidative stress and help prevent against serious illnesses like cardiac illness and cancer. Depending upon the kind of flowers pollinated by the bees, the antioxidant profile in the honey may vary.
On the other hand, regular honey contains very few antioxidants, if any, due to all the processing. Studies have found that raw honey contains more than 4 times more antioxidants than regular honey.
2. Raw Honey contains pollen
Bees carry pollen back to the hive which is how they get integrated into the honey. This pollen is very nutritious, containing many antioxidants, amino acids, fatty acids and micronutrients. Bee pollen fights inflammation of all kinds, promotes liver and heart health and also prevents stroke. Pollen is also known for its pain-relieving properties. In fact, bee pollen is so good for health that it is considered a medicine by the German Federal Ministry of Health.
However, when honey undergoes filtration and pasteurization, the bee pollen is destroyed. In fact, quite a few studies have found that three quarters of the regular honey sold contain no pollen, making them devoid of all these valuable benefits. In fact, the FDA in the United States goes so far as to state that honey that does not contain pollen can’t even be termed as honey.
3. Raw Honey has bee propolis
Bee propolis is also referred to as bee glue, and is a sticky substance used by bees to seal and hold the hive together. They make the propolis using plant resins and their own secretions, and it contains a host of nutrients like Vitamins B, C, E as well as magnesium and potassium. What’s more, bee propolis contains various phytonutrients and antioxidants that have many benefits including fighting cancer.
Propolis is what gives honey its healing properties but when honey is processed under high temperatures and processed multiple times, all the valuable nutrients including bee propolis are destroyed. This is the reason that regular honey contains no bee propolis at all, unlike raw, unpasteurized honey.
4. Raw Honey has antimicrobial properties
For centuries, honey has been used to heal wounds, treat burns and even as medicine for sores and ulcers. All this is because raw honey possesses powerful antimicrobial properties, due to some special enzymes like glucose oxidase and hydrogen peroxide. This helps raw honey kill bacteria and fungi, preventing infections and hastening healing.
What’s more, raw honey is acidic and has a low pH level which is not only a bad breeding ground for pathogens, but also releases oxygen to encourage healing of wounds. Raw honey contains antioxidants like pinocembrin, which can protect against common bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Candida albicans. Unfortunately, these enzymes and antioxidants are destroyed in the filtering process, making regular honey useless in terms of healing and microbial action.
5. Raw Honey is a prebiotic
Gut health and digestive health have recently come in the spotlight as digestive issues like ulcers, GERD and inflammatory bowel disease get increasingly common. A good cure for this is the consumption of probiotics and prebiotics. Raw honey is a good prebiotic. Prebiotics nourish the bacteria in the large intestine, which contribute to healthy digestion as well as overall health.
Raw honey does all this and also reduces inflammation in the esophagus. What’s more, raw honey turns alkaline in the digestive system, countering acid reflux. On the other hand, regular honey forms acids and tends to ferment in the stomach, aggravating any inflammation.
6. Raw Honey contains no added sugar
Honey consumption has been increasing around the world, and India is no exception. Marketers and brands respond to this demand by increasing their supply. In just 12 years, India’s production of honey grew by 200%, while honey exports grew by 207%. It is extremely difficult to meet this whopping increase in demand, which is why companies resort to processed honey that contains a large quantity of additives.
Most regular commercially available honey is diluted with water or olive oil and they are sweetened with sugar or high fructose corn syrup. In fact, some experts go so far as to say that regular honey contains only 1/3rd of real honey. On the other hand, raw honey is only hone – just as it was in the bee hive – with nothing else added to it.
It is important to know that raw honey is not the same as ‘pure honey’ or ‘organic honey’. Pure honey simply means that the honey contains no additives – but it can be filtered and pasteurized. Organic honey only indicates that the pollen is from plants grown organically – it can be processed, and it may contain additives. Always be sure to look for the label ‘raw’, which shows that the honey is straight from the beehive, has not been processed at all and contains no additives whatsoever – just the way honey should be!
Please remember that it is not recommended to give honey to babies under one year of age.
Wondering how to get Raw, wild forest honey? Don’t worry, we’ll deliver it straight to your doorstep.