Wellness Encyclopedia: The Benefits of Raw Honey

The golden wonder that is raw honey can help keep you at the top of your game this season…

It’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s true: Cold and flu season is almost here. While I’m celebrating the arrival of fall like the best of them, it took one 30°F morning this week to remind me that along with picking pumpkins and brainstorming Halloween costumes, ensuring healthy immunity should be at the top of my to-do list. I love this time of year, so the last thing I want is to be sidetracked by a cough or sore throat. Luckily my first line of defense just happens to be delicious and all natural: Organic, locally-sourced raw honey. The cloudy variety that comes straight from happy bees tended to by a kind keeper. Why honey? The benefits are almost too numerous to list, but today I’ve tried. Read on to learn why raw honey could help keep you at the top of your game this season.

What’s the difference between raw honey and regular honey?  

Regular, commercial honey, the kind that typically comes in a bear-shaped container and runs clear and easy from the jar, is filtered and then pasteurized at a high temperature to kill off any yeast that may be present. Raw honey is unprocessed and unpasteurized to preserve the beneficial nutrients present. While commercial honey still tastes amazing and is an adequate substitute for liquid sweetener in recipes, it lacks the same incredible benefits of raw honey. To see whether or not the raw honey you’ve purchased is truly raw, take a spoonful and place it in a glass of water. If it settles to the bottom, it’s raw. However, if it dissolves easily and sticks the the edges of the glass, it could be processed and even counterfeit (yes, counterfeit honey is a thing).

Benefits of raw honey.

So, what are all these incredible nutrients available in raw, unprocessed honey? If you’re prone to seasonal allergies, local raw honey could help! Raw honey contains bee pollen, which could help your body adjust to the pollen in the air when consumed. By eating honey produced locally, you consume trace amounts of the same pollen that could be wreaking havoc via allergies, helping to regulate your body to the pollen in the air. By regularly eating raw honey, your body could build up antibodies and produce less histamine when allergy season rolls around.

Trouble sleeping? A little raw honey before bed could help you sleep by helping to promote the production of melatonin. Similar to sugar, raw honey generates a rise in insulin, which produces serotonin, which is eventually converted to melatonin. Try adding a small amount of honey to a mug of tea before bed to help you relax and ready your body for rest.

As cold and flu season fast approaches, raw honey should be at the forefront of your seasonal sickness arsenal. Soothe a sore throat and suppress a cough with a spoonful of raw honey, which not only soothes but contains antibacterial properties to shorten the lifespan of a cold. Raw honey has been found to be as effective as traditional cough syrup in treating a sore throat and reducing mucus production (gross, but true). Honey is naturally antibacterial and antifungal, meaning that not only will it not go bad (as long as it’s kept pure and free of contamination from water and other factors), but the same antibacterial and antifungal properties can benefit the body by supporting immunity and warding off minor colds and seasonal illnesses. These same antibacterial properties are incredibly beneficial for acne-prone skin and raw honey has long been used as an ingredient in masks and even as a cleanser.

How to use raw honey.

Raw honey is incredibly versatile, but in order to harness its full range of benefits, it’s best consumed straight from the jar (tough, I know). However, it makes a great substitute for processed sugar if you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of its nutritional power. Sub honey for corn sugar in most recipes where it’s called for, or add a small amount to coffee or tea in place of white sugar. Tough workout ahead? Take a spoonful of raw honey beforehand to power through. Or, put some of our favorite tried and tested raw honey recipes to work:

DIY Honey Rose Lip Scrub

Apple Ginger Honey Spritzer

Honey Face Mask

Honey Ginger Throat Drops

 

+ Be sure to check out more Wellness Encyclopedia posts!

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