Benefits of Raw Honey: The Alberta Honey Difference
Like most things, honey comes in different qualities. Most of the honey that can be found in the grocery store is heavily processed, mixed with corn syrup, preservatives, and a mixture of lower-grade honey, which makes a bland, uniform product that retains none of the natural unprocessed Canadian honey benefits. Natural enzymes are destroyed. Natural preservatives no longer function. Distinct, individual flavours are absent. Whatever was once natural is now a commercial product, similar to refined sugar. What is the point?
Most honeys that you will find in the store are low-grade, often sourced from places such as China or South America. Sometimes, honeys labeled Canadian are mostly mixtures of high quality Canadian honey with lower grade honeys from other parts of the world.
There are so many natural benefits of raw honey. Real, unprocessed raw Canadian honey is full of flavour, inherent vitamins and minerals, and natural preservatives. This alkaline food behaves similarly to fruits and vegetables in your digestive system and is very easy to digest, even for those with sensitive stomachs. The live enzymes within honey (amylase) actually aid digestion, making raw Canadian honey a tasty way to soothe an upset stomach. Amylase also predigests starches, which makes it the perfect topping for toast and other carbohydrates. Unheated and unpasteurized, raw honey contains all the nutrition that nature intended.
Just the way you like it.
Why is Raw, Unprocessed Alberta Honey More Expensive Than Honey in the Store?
When it comes to honey, if it seems like a deal that is too good to be true, it probably is. Quality honey is a completely natural product that is made by bees in an instinctive process. Honey is not made in a factory or processing plant, like corn syrup and other sweeteners. As such, it requires time and bees to produce. Increasing production means breeding and keeping more bees, which are facing challenges of their own in our modern society. Good quality Alberta honey is a limited natural resource that cannot be made en masse in a factory.
With raw honey from Alberta, you are paying for that time-intensive process and all the natural goodness inside. Contrary to what the advertisers have been trying to tell us, you just can’t mass-produce real nutrition. If you want the natural benefits of raw honey, you need to get it from a pure source.
Why can’t you find natural honey in a supermarket?
In our society, people expect their honey to be clear, golden, and liquid. These properties are not indicative of raw, unprocessed honey in its natural state. Natural honey is mostly solid or crystallized at room temperature, has a cloudy appearance, and can sometimes contain tiny fragments of natural honeycomb and other small irregularities within it. Since most companies out there count on a uniform, cheap, and aesthetically-pleasing product, most supermarkets come to carry only that “honey” which makes the cut. Unfortunately, this pure-looking product is anything but. While it may have a consistent look, that is the only thing pure about refined honey.
Natural Benefits of Raw Honey
Honey in its natural state has numerous health benefits, and is a highly valued substitute for sugar, corn-syrup, and other nearly toxic sweeteners. There’s no need to sacrifice the sweetness that you love, simply swap it out with something healthier and more natural.
Here are just a few of the many natural benefits of raw honey:
Honey has a unique taste
Depending on where the bees get the nectar that they make their honey from, the resulting honey will have a distinctive taste. You may even notice a subtle taste difference from one season to the next. This is where you get the different types of honey, such as alfalfa clover honey or wildflower honey.
Honey contains digestive enzymes
Honey naturally contains amylase, which is integral to the digestion of starches. These natural enzymes are destroyed by heating over a certain temperature, making the enzymes in pasteurized honey no longer viable.
Honey includes high levels of antioxidants
Honey may just be the sweetest defense against disease you’re going to find. Raw, unprocessed Alberta honey contains polyphenols, similar to those found in olive oil, fruits and vegetables, and tea. These powerful antioxidants may protect against heart disease and cancer. Why not take your honey in a natural tea for an extra antioxidant boost!
Honey has a lower GI index than most sweeteners
While honey is very sweet, raw honey has a lower glycemic index (GI) than most other sweeteners. The glycemic index is a numerical index from 0-100 that compares the rate at which foods are converted to glucose in the bloodstream. Lower GI foods (those closer to 0) take a longer time to be absorbed into the blood, which means they will make you feel full for longer and are unlikely to produce a blood sugar spike. Low GI foods are recommended for those managing diabetes, interested in losing or maintaining weight, and those seeking a healthier lifestyle. At 55, honey’s moderate glycemic index is comparable to brown rice or oatmeal.
Honey is naturally sweet
Honey is naturally very sweet, which means that if you are adding it to coffee, tea, or baked goods, you need much less of it than you would a sweetener such as sugar.
Honey is an excellent baking substitute
There are many delicious recipes that use honey as a main or complementing ingredient. The delicate flavour of raw honey enhances and pairs well with many different foods. Your traditional recipe may require a little work to substitute honey for sugar or other sweeteners, but it can yield excellent results.
Honey has many naturally occurring nutrients
Studies show that most vitamins and minerals are better absorbed by your body when they naturally occur in foods. Vitamin and mineral concentrations in honey depend upon the type of honey or the flowers that the nectar is drawn from. Honey generally contains the vitamins niacin, riboflavin, Vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, choline, betaine, and Vitamin C. It contains traces of all essential minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, and fluoride. Though low in protein, honey also contains traces of all essential amino acids.
Honey is both antimicrobial and antifungal
Naturally antimicrobial and antifungal, unadulterated honey is unique in that it does not technically “go bad”. True, unprocessed raw honey in a sealed container has an unbelievable shelf-life – capable of lasting centuries, and, theoretically, indefinitely! Commercial honey only has a shelf life of about two years. Take that, preservatives!
Honey has first aid applications
Raw honey can be used topically on minor wounds to aid healing time. Its natural antimicrobial properties have been found to improve the healing of wounds and ulcers significantly. Honey can also be used topically to ease the symptoms of both labial and genital herpes (though not as a cure).
Honey soothes a sore throat
Skip the spoonful of sugar; take a spoonful of honey and you may not even need the medicine! This paper from the World Health Organization names honey, along with tea and lemon, as a natural demulcent, which can provide relief for sore throats. Honey can be a particularly helpful remedy for young children, who are recommended not to use many over the counter cough and cold medicines.
Honey moisturizes a dry scalp
You may have noticed that honey is often included in hair products, though the type of honey often found in these products is unlikely to have a noticeable effect. Raw, unprocessed honey contains vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin E, which is known skin moisturizer. When diluted in warm water (with 90% honey), raw honey can aid dry, flaky skin. One study showed sufferers with seborrheic dermatitis found that when this simple dilution was applied daily to their scalp, the itching and scaling was reduced within a week and the lesions disappeared after two weeks.
Honey can reduce allergy symptoms
Since honey contains small amounts of pollen, which is a common allergen, honey has been sought after as a potential cure for certain seasonal allergies. To date, the results are not definitive, although there has been a study that shows a positive correlation between eating moderate amounts of honey and a reduction in allergy symptoms.