One of the many great things about Farmers’ Markets is that you can find unprocessed honey, also known as raw honey, for sale. Most of the honey sold in grocery stores has been pasteurized and sometimes even blended with cane sugar or corn syrup. However, raw honey is naturally antiseptic and does not need pasteurization.
People have been using raw honey for its health benefits for millennia. Raw honey contains pollen, enzymes, antioxidants and many other beneficial compounds that researchers are just beginning to discover. These compounds largely disappear during processing. The general rule is the darker the raw honey, the more nutritious it is.
Recent research supports the theory that local honey– obtained as close as possible to where you live–may help build an immunity to seasonal allergies. Honey made by bees in the vicinity of an allergenic plant will contain tiny amounts of pollen from that plant. This honey will act as a sort of vaccine if taken in small amounts–a few teaspoons per day–for several months, and can provide relief from seasonal pollen-related allergies.
Raw honey contains powerful cancer-fighting antioxidants, while pasteurized honey does not.
Raw honey contains many enzymes that can help some people digest food more easily so it may also help treat ulcers and diarrhea.
Vitamins and Minerals
The nutrient content of raw honey varies (darker honey is more nutritious), but a 1-ounce serving contains very small amounts of folate as well as vitamins B2, C, B6, B5 and B3. Minerals including calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc are also found in raw honey.
Wound and Skin Care
Honey has anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antiseptic properties. It is used by the medical profession to treat wounds, burns, and various other skin conditions including acne.
Honey is also useful in treating upper respiratory infections. Studies have shown that a small dose of raw honey was more effective than an over-the-counter cough treatment. Be sure not to give any honey, either raw or treated, to a child under the age of 12 months.
Blood sugar regulation:
Even though honey contains simple sugars, some researchers believe it does not affect the body in the same way as white sugar or artificial sweeteners. Honey’s exact combination of fructose and glucose may actually help the body regulate blood sugar levels.
In addition to its health benefits, it is a scientific fact that cooking with honey makes food taste better. Honey contains gluconic acid, a completely safe and natural flavor enhancer. According to the National Honey Board, honey “balances and enhances the flavor profiles of other ingredients used in a recipe.”
A little honey makes everything better!