Most people don't know this, BUT - raw, local honey is a natural remedy that can be MORE effective than most over-the-counter medicine or prescriptions you'll find at your pharmacy. It has been used as a form of medicine for thousands of years. It should absolutely be a part of your routine during the winter, particularly when you're fighting a cough or cold. Not only is honey a delicious natural sweetener but it also packs a punch when it comes to healing your body. Like I always say, FOOD IS MEDICINE.
What exactly is raw honey? It is honey in it's pure form. It's not heated, processed, or pasteurized, which ensures that all of the naturally occurring phytonutrients, vitamins and enzymes are still present. Unfortunately, most of the honey you'll find in grocery stores isn't raw and is also HIGHLY processed. If it's processed, you won't get all of the awesome health benefits that honey has to offer. So if you're looking to purchase it in store, check the label and look for the word "Raw". You will also be able to see the difference between the two, raw honey will have more of a creamy appearance, whereas processed honey will be more golden and syrup-like. Another great place to purchase honey is from a nearby farm, but again - be sure to ASK if it's raw or processed. (Some beekeepers heat up their honey).
Like I mentioned above, raw AND local honey will offer you the most health benefits. The honey being local to you plays an important role. You can purchase raw, local honey from another part of the US or another country, but it won't provide you with the same benefits as purchasing it from your own town (or surrounding towns). Why? Because the honey is coming from the environment you already live in. Your body has adjusted to your surroundings, meaning it can boost your immune system and overall health.
Let's dive into the health benefits that raw, local honey has to offer:
1) Natural Source of Energy - you can consume it pre or post workout, as it is a natural form of fuel. It's a pure source of honey, made up of water + sugar, as well as vitamins, minerals, protein and pollen. It's also easily absorbed by our bodies.
2) Helps Heal Wounds - studies have shown that bandages slathered in honey have been an effective wound treatment. Why? Because honey has natural anti-bacterial properties. Research has also shown that it effectively treats a variety of ulcers.
3) Cough Treatment - Honey has been shown to be just as effective as conventional cough syrup. Why? Honey has the ability manage your cough by reducing the secretion of mucus and in turn, decreases the amount of time you spend coughing.
4) Weight Management - studies have found a link between honey consumption and weight loss. Replacing white sugar with honey can have a positive impact on your health. Why? Because honey is more easily absorbed by your body + doesn't cause spikes in your blood sugar levels, therefore it can help you lose weight!
5) Natural Treatment for Diabetes - eating raw honey can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes AND even helps the medication that people with diabetes take work more efficiently. It increases insulin and decreases hyperglycemia, meaning it has a positive effect on your blood sugar levels.
6) Combats Pollen Allergies - this health benefit ties into the importance of the raw honey you consume being local to you. Honey naturally contains bee pollen which can provide seasonal allergy relief during the Spring, Summer and Fall months. Some people even say that consuming raw honey daily is as effective as an allergy shot!
*Of Note: conventional, pasteurized honey DOES NOT have bee pollen in it, in order to get the health benefits you need to consume raw (and local) honey.
7) Jam-packed full of Antioxidants - Raw honey naturally contains polyphenols, pinocembrin, chrysin and pinostrobin, which are all powerful antioxidants. Consuming it daily raises antioxidant levels within the body. What do antioxidants do? They block free radicals from occurring (free radicals can cause disease). Eating foods that increase the antioxidant levels within your body can prevent those diseases.
8) Promotes Restful Sleep - Eating raw honey before bed causes two things to occur within the body: 1. it restocks your liver's supply of glycogen and 2. helps release melatonin in your brain. Melatonin boosts your immune system and helps rebuild tissue while you sleep. (Studies have shown that poor sleep can lead to numerous health problems).
Can you believe all of the health benefits honey has to offer? It's crazy, but also awesome that it can natural heal our body in so many different ways. A couple things to mention while we're on the topic of honey:
- pay attention to WHERE your honey is sourced from (local is obviously best, but sometimes it can be sourced from areas where the bees are sprayed with pesticides or given antibiotics)
- purchase RAW (and local) honey if possible (conventional honey doesn't have much to offer except for the sugar found within it, it can also be full of fillers or other ingredients)
- high heat (anything above 95 degrees F) rids raw honey of it's health benefits (if you are going to cook, bake or add honey to your tea, make sure it is cooled down before you add it)
- raw honey should not be consumed by children under 1 or people who have received any sort of transplant (due to the risk of bacteria growth found within it)
I hope you guys learned something from this blog post! I'll be posting one of my favorite ways to use honey next Wednesday!