Honey is one of nature’s purest foods and is far more than just a natural sweetener. It’s a “functional food,” which means it’s a natural food with health benefits.
Most golden honey you see at your local grocery is dead and far from the health promoting powerhouse of its raw unpasteurised counterpart. It is highly processed, beginning by heating the honey to a very high temperature which destroys the natural enzymes, vitamins and minerals in honey and then filtering out many of its healthiest parts.
Filtering and processing eliminate many of the beneficial phytonutrients, including pollen and enzyme-rich propolis. Often fillers and even antibiotics may also be added.
Non-raw honey or regular commercial honey can be sourced from bees that are treated with antibiotics (such as ciprofloxacin in China’s honey). They also may likely be given winter nourishment in the form of sugar or a low-cost syrup. Hives are made of non-organic materials, which can have pests and be cleaned with non-organic substances.
In the end, processed honey is nothing more than high-fructose sugar and if you desire any kind of health benefits, you must stick to the real stuff.
Raw honey is a crude form of honey immediately taken out of the cells of the honey combs within a bee hive. It cannot be heated above 95 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the normal temperature of the bee hive. While it’s OK to strain raw honey, it’s never filtered or pasteurised. It also cannot have any other additives.
Raw honey's nutritional profile is impressive. It contains 22 amino acids, 27 minerals and 5,000 enzymes. Vitamins found in honey include vitamin B6, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and niacin, resulting in a multitude of health benefits.
Next time you're at the store, beware of low cost 'sugar substitute' honeys found on the shelf that can do just as much harm as normal sugar. Instead opt for raw honey and start reaping the health benefits of this superfood.