8 Health Benefits of Raw Honey | Keeping Heart Healthy

Written by
Joan Weisman @ 8fit
Health Benefits of Raw Honey - jez-timms-unsplash
Written by
Joan Weisman @ 8fit
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A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down, but a spoonful of raw honey can be medicinal on its own. Valued by people since ancient times, raw honey provides enzymes, amino acids, and antioxidants. Studies show that the health benefits of raw honey range from an antioxidant boost to memory support. Honey demonstrates how, in nature, as with the 8fit Pro app, simplicity has power.

What is Raw Honey?

Raw honey comes straight from the honeycomb. The beekeeper usually filters it, but does not heat or pasteurize the honey. This process keeps all of its natural properties intact. The taste, color, and smell of raw honey reflect the flowers the bees pollinated to make it, so there is more variation than in pasteurized honey. For example, wildflower honey may range from light to dark gold, while buckwheat honey is a rich, deep brown.

With natural antibacterial properties, unprocessed honey is one of the most shelf-stable food products you can find. Thanks to its powerful antibacterial properties, it’s been historically used for wound treatment. Pasteurization of honey does not keep it from spoiling eventually. In contrast, raw honey will crystallize over time, but is still good. Heating and pasteurizing honey maintains a smooth texture longer, but also destroys or removes important elements like bee pollen and bee propolis. These elements in raw honey contribute to its surprising, powerful health benefits, including the eight we’ve listed below.

1. Raw Honey is an Antioxidant Powerhouse

Too many free radicals contribute to aging and illness. Antioxidant-rich foods fight free radicals to make you healthier from the inside out. Some types of raw honey have as many antioxidants as fruits and vegetables. White sugar, on the other hand, has none.

In studies in which participants were given honey every day while maintaining all other aspects of their regular diet, bloodwork showed that their antioxidant levels increased significantly in less than a month.

2. Digestive Health Benefits of Raw Honey

Healthy digestion is about more than being able to eat our favorite foods without regret. The right balance of gut microbes improves health and reduces inflammation. Many people eat yogurt or naturally fermented salads like kimchi to boost good gut bacteria and overall health. Bifidobacteria, a type of bacteria known to enhance digestive and immune health, is found in raw honey.

Unlike processed sugar, which can reduce helpful gut bacteria, raw honey can act as a prebiotic and nourish the good bacteria that live in the intestines. Over time, this increases the population of good bacteria in your intestines.

3. Rich with Nutrients

For a sweet treat, honey offers a staggering amount of nutritional value. With about sixty calories per tablespoon from fructose and glucose, nutrients found in honey include riboflavin, folate, betaine, manganese, potassium, copper, zinc, calcium, magnesium, selenium, fluoride and phosphorus. Honey, which is made from flowers, is nature’s nutrient-rich gift.

Raw honey also contains traces of amino acids, enzymes, and antioxidants. Because it converts to energy so easily, some people use it as a nutrient-rich, pre-workout fuel.

4. Heart Healthy Honey

Nature’s premier superfood may also play a role in preventing heart disease. Research shows that the antioxidants in honey, called polyphenols, may improve cholesterol levels by reducing LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, and improving HDL, or “good” cholesterol.

It’s also healthy for your heart to know you’re doing good things. By purchasing raw honey, you support local bees and beekeepers. Each jar of local, raw honey represents a positive action for your body and the environment. Bees are essential for pollination of many crops we take for granted, including apples. Large urban spaces with few flowers make survival for bees difficult in many areas. By supporting local beekeepers, you are participating in a global restoration project.

5. Brain Support

With its anti-inflammatory powers, raw honey may help protect the brain. In animal studies, rats exposed to lead who ate honey had better resistance to neurotoxicity and displayed fewer anxiety behaviors.

Honey’s antioxidant powers support brain health and can also help us retain our memory. Too many free radicals cause oxidative stress. Reducing oxidative stress in the brain can help improve memory. Honey’s free-radical-fighting antioxidants help keep us both physically healthy and mentally sharp.

6. Sugar Substitute

With a healthy glycemic index, honey is an excellent choice to sweeten any shake recipe and can substitute for sugar in any recipe. It adds a great, sweet taste without the spike of white sugar. Of course, to get the full health benefits of raw honey, consume it raw or only lightly heated.

To use raw honey with tea, add it right when you’re ready to drink rather than when you pour the hot water. Raw honey also makes a wonderful sweetener for salads and other dressings and adds rich flavor when drizzled over baked goods.

7. Natural Sleep Assistance

A good night’s sleep contributes to good health, mental sharpness, and a positive mood. Nothing can knock you off balance like irregular or infrequent sleep. Consuming a small amount of raw honey before bedtime can help with restful sleep in two ways:

  • It restocks the liver’s glycogen supply and prevents the brain from waking you up in a crisis search for fuel.

  • It fosters the brain to release melatonin, which supports immunity and rebuilds tissue during periods of rest.

Not surprisingly, natural sleep and cold remedies commonly include honey. However, raw honey should never be given to an infant less than a year old. Without the care of a doctor, it is also not recommended for people with severe pollen allergies.

8. Skin and Hair Care

A staple in some beauty products, applications for raw honey include as a dandruff wash, acne treatment, and cuticle conditioner. It’s also used in face masks and skin cleansers.

You may be surprised to learn of some of the cosmetic benefits raw honey can provide. It can:

  • Attract and retain moisture in shampoos and conditioners

  • Combat acne by both drawing moisture from the skin and acting as a topical antibacterial agent

  • Reduce dark circles by acting as an anti-inflammatory

  • Its rich antioxidants help slow signs of aging used as a skin treatment

  • Stimulate and exfoliate skin for a complexion boost

Manuka honey may help balance your skin’s pH level as well. Overall, raw honey is a simple and beautiful addition to any skincare regime.

A Simple Switch: A Big Difference

While all sweeteners are best enjoyed in moderation, not all are the same. You can get more benefits per each calorie by choosing wisely. As a substitute for sugar, raw honey is deliciously sweet, but also provides enzymes, minerals, antioxidants, and several other health benefits. As an added plus, when you buy locally-produced raw honey, you get the additional benefits of allergy relief and an immunity boost.

When it comes to sourcing your honey, aim for local raw honey. Farmers’ markets, co-ops, and natural stores like Trader Joe’s are good places to look. If you live near a bee farm, visit and talk to the beekeeper. That’s as local and fresh as it gets!

Over time, a simple change from sugar to honey can produce remarkable results. If you are ready to lose weight, get fitter, or build muscle, we, at 8fit, want to be part of your transformation.

Start your transformation todayGet Your Meal Plan

Featured photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

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