5 Amazing Raw Unfiltered Honey Benefits & Possible Risks
There are some additional advantages of raw honey, mainly because it is not processed and has a higher concentration of nutrients as compared to honey that has undergone chemical processes. Here is a sneak peek at some of its beneficial qualities of raw, unfiltered honey vs. processed honey.
Honey is a natural sweetening agent that has been in use for more than 8000 years. Made naturally by bees, honey is mostly found in the supermarket and that too in a processed form in today’s age, in today’s age. This method of processing honey is called pasteurization, and many of these processed products contain added sugar, consequently increasing its sweetening capacity also lowering its beneficial nature. Consuming raw and natural honey has many health benefits. Ayurveda experts have believed all along that honey is better than white sugar, and now people across the world are accepting this too.
In comparison to white sugar, natural honey is unprocessed and contains antioxidants responsible for most of the health benefits associated with consuming honey. So, what is raw, unfiltered honey? And, how is raw honey different from the one that’s processed? Let’s find answers to all these questions.
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Well, raw honey is directly delivered to your doorstep after being extracted from the honeycomb. Some external elements such as beeswax and the parts of the dead bees are filtered out, but still, it appears cloudier and opaque as compared to the one that’s processed. This is because raw and unfiltered honey is much thicker.
While we are all aware of the many health benefits of honey, it also matters what type of honey you are consuming. A bottle of raw, unfiltered honey is more beneficial than a bottle of processed honey. So what are the specific benefits of raw, unfiltered honey over its processed variant? Let’s find out.
Want to buy a best honey for your home? This buying guide on honey has all you need to know.
Advantages Of Raw Honey Over Processed Honey
There are some additional advantages of raw honey, mainly because it is not processed and has a higher concentration of nutrients as compared to honey that has undergone chemical processes. Here is a sneak peek at some of its benefits of raw unfiltered honey vs. processed honey.
1. Contains More Antioxidants
The process of pasteurization, which involves intense heating and is used to process honey, can significantly reduce the overall antioxidant concentration of the honey. And since raw honey is not processed, it contains just the same amount of antioxidants as extracted from the honeycomb.
This property of raw honey makes it a tremendous free-radical scavenger, as antioxidants when consumed, react with free radicals (free oxygen atoms) in the bloodstream and prevent them from attacking the healthy cells in your body.
2. Contains Bee Pollen
If there is any other substance that the processed honey lacks, it would be bee pollen. Again, the process of pasteurization is responsible for its removal. But, these pollens consist of many nutrients that can help in the overall betterment of your health.
Vitamin A and vitamin C are some of the constituents of bee pollen, which are further responsible for adding up to the honey’s antioxidant characteristics. In addition to that, bee pollen also includes minerals such as calcium and magnesium, both of which are extremely useful for strengthening your bone structure.
3. Contains A Healthy Amount Of Bee Propolis
You need to note that honey is not the only substance that bees produce. Propolis is the thick green-brownish fluid that they use to coat their hives. This compound, evidently found in raw honey, has different types of polyphenols (types of antioxidants), making it highly beneficial and, even medicinal to some extent.
This glue-like product has shown anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties, and it also contains a significant amount of vitamin B, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium.
4. Soothes Sore Throat
Honey is an age–old remedy for the cold. As per some studies, honey is considered to be as effective as dextromethorphan – a common ingredient in most over-the-counter cough and cold medication.
Honey works best as a cough suppressant. Having Antibacterial properties naturally, honey immediately reduces inflammation and offers relief from pain.
Are you having a cold or sore throat? Take one or two tablespoons of raw honey a day to soothe a sore throat. Or, have a warm tea with honey and ginger for quick relief.
5. Rich in Phytonutrients
Phytonutrients are natural chemicals that are obtained from plant foods.
Just as vitamins and minerals, phytonutrients are much needed for healthy living.
Raw honey is the powerhouse of Phytonutrients. This chemical protects us from external pathogens. Phytonutrients present in honey are responsible for honey’s antibacterial, antifungal and anti-oxidizing properties.
Tips To Buy Raw Honey
Most of the honey that one finds in the supermarket is not raw. Since pasteurized honey is more in demand, and also cheaper, it makes one’s search for raw and unfiltered products more difficult. Raw and unfiltered honey, best sourced directly from a bee farmer, appears to be cloudier, as it could contain bee propolis, hints of pollen, and some might even have the wings of bees.
It is also important to note that unpasteurized honey gradually crystallizes and thickens as it gets old, thus its unappealing texture normally drives people to search for clean and pasteurized honey.
Side Effects of Raw Honey – What are the Risks Involved?
The risks and side effects involved in the consumption of raw honey are somewhat similar to those involved in the consumption of the ones that are processed and pasteurized.
1. Botulism in Infants
One of the most common side-effects of honey consumption is botulism, especially in infants. It is caused when a baby ingests C. Botulinum which may lead to difficulty in breathing or muscle weakness.
Thus, children below the age of 12 months must be prevented from consuming any form of honey, as their immune system is too weak to fight external pathogens that might attack their system.
2. Food Poisoning
Raw honey contains a nominal quantity of bacteria known as clostridium botulinum, which can cause a rare form of food poisoning upon being consumed. It can even be toxic as C. Botulinum produces the toxin on the ingestion. It can cause blurry vision, trouble speaking, feeling tired, and even dizziness or nausea.
3. Pollen Allergy
Unlike processed honey, this popular sweetening agent’s raw and unfiltered variant contains a significant amount of bee pollen. Thus, people who are suffering from pollen allergy should refrain from raw honey consumption. Some of the common symptoms of raw honey allergy include swollen throat, difficulty in breathing, rashes, and swollen lips.
All that being noted, you must consider the benefits of raw unfiltered honey and raw honey health risks before adding it to your diet. A healthy lifestyle is not the one that includes all the healthy ingredients, but it is the one that also takes into account all the precautions to follow a balanced diet.
Frequently Asked Questions
As we saw, the benefits and raw honey risks. Here we are answering some of the frequently asked questions by our readers.
1. Which is better raw or regular honey?
If you choose to select, always go for raw honey or unfiltered honey over regular honey. Raw honey is best for your health, and you can taste honey in its purest form.
Raw honey is different than pure honey as raw honey is not heated to pasteurization. Due to this, it contains natural enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. The benefits of consuming raw honey are that you get all the beneficial properties, vitamins, and minerals from it, which are lost when any further purifications are done.
On the other hand, regular honey is processed honey. It is filtered to remove all the unwanted particles such as debris of honeycomb from the honey to maintain the quality of honey.
Which to select? Always go for the honey that does not contain any added sugar.
2. Is it good to consume honey daily? What is the safe limit?
Yes, we know that honey is a healthier alternative to sugar, but excessive consumption of it can be harmful to the body.
The overconsumption of raw honey may lead to obesity, high blood sugar levels, stomach issues, irregular blood pressure, and also cause dental problems.
The safe limit of consuming honey is 50 ml, but if you have any other ailment, it always a good idea to consult a physician before including anything in your diet.
3. Is raw honey fattening?
Yes, it may cause weight gain. Honey is delicious but high in calories. One tablespoon of honey nearly has the same calories as 1 tablespoon of sugar. So, if you are on a weight loss diet, make sure to have an eye on the amount of honey you are consuming.
Another factor to consider in this is that always buy honey from quality brands. Some low-quality brands add some amount of sugar syrup to it, leading to a high amount of empty calorie intake.
So, when consuming raw honey or any regular honey, just know that high consumption can lead to weight gain and other side effects.
4. Does raw honey smell bad?
Raw honey can smell bad sometimes, but most of the time, this is normal.
As raw honey is not pasteurized, it contains moisture and 18-19% water in it. So once raw honey comes in contact with temperatures above 21 C, it starts to ferment. Due to the moisture present in it, yeast and enzymes will develop.
If your raw honey is getting fermented, don’t throw it away. Instead, put the jar of honey in warm water for 20-25 minutes. This process will stop the fermentation process. After heating, immediately cool the honey. Now, the honey is pasteurized. Pasteurization stops the fermentation process, but there may be some changes in its taste and aroma.
5. Is raw and unfiltered honey good for you?
Raw and unfiltered honey is safe to consume. But this honey could be dangerous for people with pollen allergies. On consumption of unfiltered honey, people with pollen allergy can get symptoms such as swollen throat, breathing difficulties, rashes, and swollen lips.
In addition, infants should be kept away from unfiltered and raw honey as the chances of getting botulism are high.