Have You Ever Wondered How Raw Honey Is Made?
You’d probably think that it’s a pretty simple process. Bees collect pollen, next, they regurgitate it in the form of nectar that is then collected by farmers who package and sell it to you.
But what if we told you that the majority of store-bought honey is heated, watered down, refined, and loaded with extra ingredients?
Well, that’s the reality of modern-day honey. The kind that you buy in the big supermarket chains at dirt cheap prices.
And whilst the industrialization of food has brought us a host of benefits, it is worth asking the question: Should you buy raw organic honey or processed honey?
On the one hand, processed honey is affordable and some consider the health benefits to be limited. But do the economic gains compensate for the health benefits?
Read on to find out.
What Is Raw Organic Honey?
Let’s start at the beginning.
Honey has been consumed by humans for thousands of years. For some reason, a long time ago, some guy went up to a beehive and decided to steal the sticky golden slime that the bees were producing and storing.
We don’t know what motivated this man, but we’re glad he did it.
The delicious reward for this endeavor was a sweet and gooey substance that we now call honey.
That’s raw, organic, honey. It’s raw since it was not pasteurized or processed. It’s organic, as the flowers that the bees took the pollen from were not grown using pesticides, fertilizers, or any other chemicals.
Fast forward to today, honey has been transformed to mean something else entirely.
The processed honey industry has taken control of the whole ecosystem.
Flowers, bees, and hives are grown in controlled environments, often using pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals.
But it doesn’t stop there. Once harvested, the honey is heated for a period of 30 minutes, which is known as pasteurization, thus killing all the yeast cells, plus a bunch of important enzymes, antioxidants, minerals, and helpful compounds.
It is then filtered through a very fine filter that removes most pollen. This is called ultra-refined honey.
The resulting paste is often watered down, mixed with some other conservatives, and packed, finally making its way to your kitchen.
This type of honey is a far cry from the raw organic unfiltered honey that we’ve been eating for thousands of years.
We’d go so far as to consider it something entirely different – some kind of sugar paste disguised as honey.
In fact, a study by Food Safety News recently concluded that three-fourths of grocery store sold honey doesn’t even contain pollen!
Raw Organic Honey vs Regular Honey
If the previous section wasn’t enough to convince you to stay away from processed honey, you really ought to know the health benefits of eating processed honey vs consuming raw organic unprocessed honey.
The first major difference between these two types of honey is that “regular” honey is pasteurized and/or refined.
In the refinement and pasteurization process, a lot of the key minerals, flavonoids, antioxidants, and enzymes are lost.
Glucose oxidase, for example, is an enzyme that when combined with water produces hydrogen peroxide, which has strong antibacterial properties.
This enzyme, however, cannot resist the high temperatures of pasteurization and is thus eliminated in this process, remaining present only in raw organic unpasteurized honey.
Furthermore, according to a 2019 study, raw honey contains more than 4 times the amount of antioxidants than processed honey.
These antioxidants boost the immune system and keep your cardiovascular system in good health.
And finally, pasteurizing honey eliminates most digestion-facilitating enzymes.
Honey has been used as a natural digestion booster for centuries but heating it up for long periods of time counters this property by eliminating these enzymes.
There are too many studies on the lost nutrients and minerals resulting from the refinement and conservation process of honey to mention in a single article, but the verdict amongst academics seems to be clear: refining and pasteurizing raw honey doesn’t seem to bring any health benefits.
Why Is Raw Honey Better?
If we haven’t convinced you yet to switch up your honey consumption, consider one final argument.
Pure raw organic honey simply tastes better. As is the case with Manuka honey, the flowers from which honey is collected strongly impact the taste of the honey.
If you allow flowers to grow free from pesticides and chemicals, they will produce tastier pollen that has a stronger flavor.
We could talk all day about the taste of raw organic unpasteurized honey, but it would never do it justice. You might as well just try it yourself.
Health Benefits Of Raw Organic Honey
To summarize, the major benefits of pure raw organic honey are:
- Immune system booster
- Great natural antibacterial benefits
- Anticarcinogenic properties
- Helps with a good night’s sleep
- Helps with digestion and Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Tastes better
We’ll grant that the last point is subjective, but even without it, it’d be hard to argue against the consumption of raw organic honey.
You can only be certain that all of the natural benefits that humans have been taking advantage of for years are present in raw organic honey.
If you’re consuming processed honey, most of these natural compounds have likely been eliminated as have been all the benefits associated with raw organic unprocessed honey.
As you might have guessed, raw organic honey is absolutely worth the investment.
The dollar difference is negligible if you look at the larger picture. Your health is way more valuable than a couple of bucks.
In addition, honey has one of the longest shelf lives of all-natural products so you can safely buy in bulk and slowly work your way through it.
We hope that we’ve helped to shed some light on why you should buy raw organic honey. If we haven’t, feel free to voice your opinion or concerns in the comment box below.
I’m a Manuka honey enthusiast and creator of Manuka Honey Organic, a blog where I share my journey with authentic Manuka honey from New Zealand. I want everyone to learn about the healing powers of Manuka honey.