It is sweet. It is sticky. It is natural, and it is delicious. I’m talking about raw honey. When busy bees are hard at work, we enjoy the fruits of their labor.
As you know, I’m a huge fan of unprocessed foods. Raw honey is full of live bacteria and enzymes that are good for your health. It doesn’t get much better when your honey is sourced straight from the hive into a jar.
Let’s say you don’t have your own apiary in your backyard. If you want to buy raw honey, make sure it is raw and unpasteurized. Read your labels. When commercialized honey is sold, it usually goes through a filtering and pasteurizing process to increase shelf life. This process removes those bacteria and enzymes, like gifts from the bees themselves.
But if you do have access to an apiary or a farmer’s market with raw honeycomb, you are in for a delicious and nutritious treat. Let’s take a look at some of the amazing health benefits of raw honey.
Raw Honey Health Benefits
Can Help with Cholesterol Levels – Since honey contains zero cholesterol, it makes for a good snack without worrying about heart health. But the antioxidants and vitamins found in raw honey may help stabilize cholesterol levels within the body.
Promotes Wound Healing – If you have a cut or a slight burn, raw honey can help. It contains antiseptic and antibacterial properties to clean minor wounds and promote healing. Simply dab a small amount of raw honey into your wound and cover it with a bandage. Repeat several times a day. The honey will flush the wound while nourishing the skin to promote healthy skin regeneration.
Eases Acid Reflux – Acid reflux is no picnic whether you’re suffering from pregnancy heartburn or nighttime heartburn. Fortunately, the anti-inflammatory components of raw honey can reduce acid reflux symptoms. Simply eat a teaspoon when you feel symptoms arise.
Calms Coughs – There is a reason why many drug store cough drops contain honey as a key ingredient. In fact, one or two teaspoons of raw honey is an age-old cough remedy for children over a year old. The sweet treat can not only help calm a cough but may also help your child fall asleep when they’re not feeling well since it boosts melatonin production. But remember crunchy mama, you shouldn’t give raw honey to infants or children under one because even though honey is safe, children under one have not fully developed their immune systems. That means the relatively harmless bacteria in raw honey could make the little ones sick.
If you want to take it a BIG step up in combating the cough, try manuka honey. It has the most potent medicinal benefits. We actually take this honey at the first signs of any illness, especially a cough. You have to be sure to get the right kind (from New Zealand) in order to get the most benefit. Methylglyoxal is its active ingredient and likely responsible for these antibacterial effects. If you do a search for “methylglyoxal” on PubMed you will find all sorts of studies about its benefits. Everything from diabetic ulcers to its use as an alternative to antibiotics. We buy ours from BeeNZ because they have a high-grade UMF (see image below). The best is the 829, I keep this one hidden deep in our cabinet to pull out when I hear anyone cough. If you want to give Manuka honey a try from BeeNZ, use coupon code REALFOODRN419 to save 10% off your purchase.
A Buzz of Energy – One of the benefits of raw honey is a nice energy boost. Honey is packed with carbohydrates, which our bodies convert into energy. Once you consume raw honey, the sugars, glucose, and fructose start breaking down. This gives your body a little jump start, causing you to feel more awake and have added energy. You can even enjoy honey before a vigorous workout. If you’re feeling sluggish, consider grabbing a glass of green tea with a serving of raw honey. This antioxidant potion will leave you feeling ready to take on your next task without the crash and burn of other caffeinated options.
Combats Cold Sores – If you feel a tingle on your lip that turns into irritation, you may have a cold sore. Looking for a natural remedy to speed the healing process and reduce the risk of an unsightly scar? Turn to honey. Since it promotes wound healing, it can also promote wound cleaning, making it a great topical treatment for the cold sore blister. Honey will draw the fluid out, helping the blister dry out faster.
And Acne Too – Raw honey can also help dry out acne pimples on your skin. It works the same way as it does for cold sores. The honey reduces inflammation and draws liquid out of the pimples, drying them out and reducing their longevity.
Let’s Not Forget Hair – From immunity to the skin to diet, honey has it all. And yes, let me tell you, raw honey can work wonders for your hair. It can reduce dandruff while helping restore dry and damaged hair by moisturizing your locks.
Using Raw Honey
Raw honey is a wonderful sugar substitute, and it also boasts plenty of health benefits. Aside from the different health benefits of honey’s antimicrobial, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties—enough to speak to natural, health-minded mamas—honey is so darn delicious in baking. When I started looking at why the honey for sugar substitute was so popular among bakers, I found that many amazing recipes prefer honey for the flavor alone.
Now, honey is basically sugar. But it is far sweeter than your run-of-the-mill white sugar, meaning you can use less in your favorite recipes. You can also include a teaspoon of honey in your favorite tea or even coffee to sweeten up your beverage. Also, have you tried plain yogurt with a honey drizzle? If you haven’t, you are missing out on a nutritional and delicious component of a power breakfast! Melting raw honey for cooking purposes is super easy, too! You just need a big pot and boiling water.
Choosing the Best Honey
Okay, the absolute best honey comes straight from the raw honeycomb. But if you’re looking to incorporate raw honey into your diet and lifestyle, you can visit your local health food store, farmer’s market, or even look online. Read the labels carefully to determine where the honey is sourced. Now, the cute teddy bear containers look adorable in the pantry, but those types of honey are typically processed and pasteurized. The clearer the honey, the more pasteurized it is. So, the best choice is foggy honey with clear labels and no gimmicky ingredients.
I’ve said it before, but when I switched from sugar to honey, this is the honey I stuck with. That’s my go-to grab. You’ve gotta check this stuff out for yourself, mamas. When I spend time making special treats for my littles or a church gathering, it’s never let me down.