Is Raw Honey Pure Honey?
Honey- a golden, syrupy liquid, produced by bees using pollen and nectar from flowers, has been used as food and medicine by humans for over 8,000 years. Over time, it has been used as a cure for several health problems and also as a replacement for artificial sweeteners, making it an indispensable ingredient in every other household in today’s world.
From giving a delicious twist to our toasts to being a sweetener for our tea, honey adds an interesting edge to everything it’s added to. Apart from holding several health benefits, it also has a delectable flavor and a smooth texture.
It is likely that the honey people consumed originally was raw and pure, but we cannot say the same for ourselves. The honey we pick up from the supermarket shelves is usually processed through pasteurisation unless there is a ‘raw’ tag on it.
The process of pasteurisation involves intense heating that destroys many minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and amino acids present in the honey, and hence decreases its nutritional value. Many of these processed honey products might contain added sugar as well. This is the reason why health advocates promote raw honey over any commercial honey- it retains all its nutrient content, and therefore has several health benefits.
So what exactly is raw honey? Let’s find out.
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Raw Honey and its significance
Best described as “straight from the beehives”, raw honey is the kind of honey that does not go through any pasteurisation. It is obtained by extracting honey from the honeycomb of a beehive. After being extracted, the honey is then poured over a mesh cloth to filter it from impurities such as beeswax and dead bees. Once is it strained, it is bottled and distributed as raw honey.
Raw honey contains 22 amino acids and 31 different minerals that are excellent for our health. But what really makes it distinguishable from the rest is the presence of 30 different bioactive plant compounds. These compounds are called polyphenols, and they tend to act as antioxidants. Several studies have associated these antioxidants with several health benefits, including a lowered risk of heart issues and reduced inflammation.
Raw honey is also an excellent source of carbohydrates, which stimulates the brain and muscle function. It contains 17 grams of carbs and 64 calories per tablespoon approximately.
The process of pasteurisation kills all the naturally occurring bacteria and enzymes in honey that are actually beneficial for us. The heat, as mentioned above, largely reduces the honey’s nutritional properties. Since raw honey does not go through any pasteurisation, it is intact with all its nutrient content.
Interestingly, a study compared the amount of antioxidants in both raw and unprocessed honey. According to the study, it was found that raw honey contains up to 4.3 times more antioxidants than processed and pasteurised honey, and hence is significantly more beneficial than it’s other counterparts.
If your honey is raw, it naturally means it is pure, natural and unpasteurised.
Is all Pure Honey Raw too?
The word pure indicates the absence of additives such as sugar, corn syrup, or artificial / natural flavoring in the honey. While this means that pure honey is free of any additional flavors, it does not necessarily mean it’s not processed.
In fact, most of the honey products being sold in the market today, including the ones with ‘Pure’ and ‘Natural’ tags on them, are treated in order to avoid any fermentation and crystallization and also to be preserved in a liquid state. It is safe to assume that bottles that do not have the ‘unpasteurised honey’ label have undergone processing.
In short, we can say – every raw honey is pure but every pure honey is not necessarily raw.
What is Regular Honey?
Regular honey is usually processed through the methods of pasteurisation and ultrafiltration. Pasteurisation strips the honey of its actual nutritional content, and filtration removes the bee pollen.
Although bee pollen contains over 250 nutritious substances, including vitamins, essential fatty acids, amino acids, antioxidants and micronutrients, most honey manufacturers filter the honey to get rid of the pollen and make the final product more refined-looking.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that any honey product that has been ultra-filtered cannot be categorised as honey as all the elements that makes it beneficial for our health have been removed.
Why Prefer Raw Honey?
Most of the health benefits associated with Honey are usually attributed with raw honey, because of the higher content of antioxidants and the various beneficial components it holds.
Another striking characteristic of raw honey is the presence of bee pollen. Bee pollen is an excellent source of protein and has several health benefits for your body, so much so, they are sold as edible food products in the market. They are used to treat respiratory infections, boost athletic performance, and improve unbalanced nutrition.
In terms of taste, raw honey has been claimed to have a better taste than pasteurized honey.
- Excellent source of antioxidants: The numerous plant compounds present in raw honey act as antioxidants. Antioxidants provide protection to our cells against free radicals that are molecules produced by our body when food breaks down, or when we are exposed to radiation or smoke from tobacco. These free radicals are capable of fueling the ageing process and can also be a reason for several heart diseases.
- Antibacterial and antifungal properties: Raw honey contains hydrogen peroxide, which is an antiseptic. Its presence gives raw honey antibacterial and antifungal properties, and aids it in killing unwanted bacteria and fungus.
- Eases digestion process: Raw honey is a potent prebiotic, which basically means that it fosters the good bacteria that live in the intestines. The nourishment of these bacteria is crucial for the digestion process and for the betterment of overall health as well. It can also be consumed to treat digestive problems such as diarrhea.
- Soothes sore throat: Raw honey acts as a cough suppressant and is said to be as effective as a few cough medications. If you are affected by a cold virus or have an irritation in your throat, adding a few droplets of honey in your tea will help provide relief.
- Protects the brain: Studies suggest that raw honey potentially has both antioxidant and antibacterial properties that can benefit our brains in several ways. A specific study on animals discovered that the rats that were fed honey developed protection against brain damage caused by exposure to lead.
Raw honey has a lot to offer us- It has several health benefits, has a better taste and is more powerful when compared to the other variants. When it comes to making a choice about the kind of honey you purchase or consume, you can buy raw honey without hesitation. All its characteristics and benefits are promising. What could be better than having access to something that has not been manipulated by humans or technology, and is a direct product of nature?
There are several different types of raw honey available for consumption. If you are confused about which raw honey will best suit your requirements, Multifloral Raw Honey would be a good choice. Its unique mix of flora gives it a recognisable flavour that distinguishes it from all its other variants, and is probably one of the best kinds of raw honey you could find out there.