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Raw Honey: 8 Splendid Benefits Of This Guilt-Free Sweetener
Let’s face it: Everyone loves sweets. Great-tasting food is part of what makes life worth living; however, past a certain point, they can make your life shorter. Most people wouldn’t believe the average adult in the United States eats an estimated 150 pounds of sugar each year, and that the numbers around the the world are comparable. Excessive sugar consumption is very unhealthy and has been linked to a plethora of diseases, including diabetes. But what if we told you there was a natural sweeter with an amazing taste that not only lacks the harmful properties of refined sugar, but was actually healthy as well?
It’s not a myth. Raw honey is one of the best-kept secrets of health-conscious eaters worldwide. Raw honey is packed with antioxidants, phytonutrients and has anti-inflammatory qualities. It contains varieties of B vitamins, as well as minerals like iron, potassium, zinc, magnesium, and more.
Raw honey is a traditional food in hundreds of cultures, used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. The Greek physician Hippocrates, considered by many the “Father of Western Medicine,” was especially fond of using honey as a treatment for various ailments. We’ll break down why honey is so beneficial in a moment, but first it is important that you know how to pick the right kind.
Not all honey is created equal. In order to reap the benefits of consuming honey, you need to be sure you are purchasing the right kind — pure RAW honey.
Most honey sold in stores is clear with a bright golden hue. It looks wholesome and delicious, but unfortunately, the only way honey attains this appearance is through extensive heating and filtering. These industrial processes are used in most cheap, mass-produced honey brands, and while the resulting product does taste good, it’s robbed of all its nutritional value. By the time it arrives on the shelf, it is little more than sugary goo with barely any health benefits.
Real, raw honey does not undergo any filtration or heating. It has a darker, opaque color and still contains the bee pollen that is naturally occurring in honey. It usually costs a little more, but think about what you’re getting by paying a little extra. The difference between heated and treated honey and raw, unprocessed honey is comparable to that of real maple syrup versus fake syrup filled with high-fructose corn syrup.
Now, let’s break down the specific reasons why raw honey is so beneficial, and how you can best use it to improve your health.
1. Improves digestion
Raw honey helps the stomach process food more effectively and helps prevent various digestive issues like indigestion, stomach cramps, and constipation.
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2. Helps fight and prevent cavities
Raw honey is unique among sweeteners in that it actually isn’t bad for your teeth. This is because it contains bee propolis (also called “bee glue”) which is part of what gives the honey its consistency. Bee propolis has proven effective in fighting gingivitis and helps prevent the formation of plaque. Of course, like any sweetener, raw honey must be used in moderation.
3. Filled with antioxidants
Antioxidants help fight free radicals in the body, slow down the aging process, and fight cancer. Raw honey contains antioxidants called phenolic compounds, which help prevent cell damage and maintain optimal health.
4. Shows antibacterial and antimicrobial properties
Honey has been used as a traditional remedy in the past for cleaning wounds. Raw honey has natural chemical properties that allow it to be used to disinfect minor wounds, scrapes, or burns. Recent trials in European hospitals with Manuka honey showed promise in treating patients with treatment-resistant staph infections or MRSA. (Note: While raw honey has a lot potential for preventing illness, the honey used in medical trials was kept in sterile conditions, so you should not expect to get these same benefits from honey off the shelf at the store.)
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5. Helps you get deeper sleep
Raw honey is an excellent source of glycogen, which the liver supplies to the brain. Glycogen helps the brain fall into a deeper, more restive sleep at night. Raw honey also helps the body produce more melatonin, which is essential for regulating sleeping patterns and getting a good night’s sleep.
6. Soothes sore throats
Even most non-health enthusiasts are aware that honey is great for treating a sore throat. Try mixing some raw honey with warm water and sipping on it next time you have a throat infection.
7. No blood sugar spikes
Raw honey has a lower glycemic profile than most sweeteners, so when used in moderation, it will not cause the massive increase in blood sugar levels — or the accompanying crash afterward.
8. Great for your skin
Raw honey can be used on the skin as an exfoliator (think about all the artificial skin creams with “honey extracts” in them. Why not just use the real thing?) It has also been proven effective as an alternative treatment for dry skin, eczema, and even acne.
Pick up some raw honey today, and start enjoying this traditional and delicious treat.