Showing posts with label Raw honey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Raw honey. Show all posts

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Honey Heresy–How Honey Producers Are Ripping You Off

Other than the clarity or purity of the honey, is there any real difference between the main brand honeys you find in major grocery or pharmacy stores and the “unfiltered” style of honey that you might buy at a farmer’s market?  Apparently, lots. 

As you might guess, one difference is the spoon-for-spoon health value.  But new research has revealed some murky politics going on in honey imports that not only threatens the finances of U.S. beekeepers but may also endanger your health.  August 17 is National Honey Bee Day – the right time to learn more about this problem and to increase your knowledge on the different kinds of honey.


Is all honey alike?


There are differences you should be aware of when choosing honey.  Here are the main types of honey and what you should know about each.

Whole comb honey
Whole-comb honey and raw, unfiltered honey
Whole-comb honey and raw honey are about as close as you can get to buying honey in its natural state. 
  • Whole-comb honey is not just the honey but also the honeycomb from the bee hive which it came.  If you want your honey completely unprocessed, buy it this way. 
  • Raw, unfiltered honey is the kind of honey you often find at a local farmer’s market or possibly in a heath food store. It’s out of the comb and into a jar, but is still raw (not heated or treated).
Many of the benefits of buying honey in the comb are the same as the benefits of buying raw honey.  With either:
  • Being raw, these kinds of honey still contain live nutrients and the maximum amount of vitamins in their most natural state.
  • Expect a healthy dose of potassium, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc.
  • Heal a wound with raw honey.  Honey can kill microbes and dry up a wound.
Any downsides or risks with raw honey or honeycomb? A couple, yes. 
  • First, if you and your children are used to the purified style of honey, such as those you find in a plastic honeybee-shaped squeeze bottle, it may take some mental adjusting to buying honey that has been unfiltered, as it will appear cloudy and often with specs in it. 
  • If you can get past the cloudiness, the other downside of raw honey is the possibility of Clostridium botulinum spores.  The risks are minute, but substantial enough for infants under 12 months that the CDC recommends against giving them raw honey (in fact, infants under 12 months should avoid all foods containing honey).  Once a child’s digestive tract has matured beyond the first 12 months, their systems are able to prevent botulism spores from growing.
Raw unfiltered honeyIf you buy either form of raw honey, in the comb or in a jar, you can benefit even more by buying it from a local beekeeper.  Raw honey contains pollens from your area that, when introduced to your system gradually through honey consumption, can help you build up protective tolerances against plant allergens.
Filtered honey
Filtered honey is a bit more refined than raw honey, as it has been heated beyond the point where it can be called raw.  The heating is done to enable filtering of small particles or impurities.  The vitamin content and healthy pollens remain essentially intact.  Being filtered, this honey is more pure and a bit cleaner.
The main downside to filtered honey is that, because of the heating process, filtered honey will no longer contain any live  nutrients.
Pure honey or liquid honey
Pure honey is by far the predominant kind of honey sold in the U.S..  If you get a honey packet at a restaurant, or buy honey in a plastic bee-shaped container, odds are that you’re consuming pure honey.  Advantages:
  • Pure honey is usually a lighter color and flavor.
  • Pure honey is more crystallization-resistant than raw honey or filtered honey.
  • Pure honey stores longer than other kinds of honey.
  • Because pure honey has been heated to high temperatures, it is the type of honey least likely to contain any microorganisms.
While all that purity sounds like a good thing, it often is the result of ultra-filtering.  If honey is ultra-filtered, then what you’re getting is not real honey, as defined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  According to FDA standards, honey must contain pollen to be considered honey.  But any bee product that has been ultra-filtered will no longer contain pollen. 

Pure liquid honey

One problem with honey that has been ultra-filtered is that most of the nutrients have been cooked out. But the biggest problem is that, with the pollens removed from the honey, it is no longer possible to identify where the honey came from.  The source is important to know for two reasons:
  • China has a glut of honey and has been dumping its honey surplus on the world market, which results in severe undercutting of honey prices, effectively pricing American beekeepers out of the honey market.
  • The health standards for honey production in other countries – most notably China – are much less stringent.  Thus, any of these unregulated and untested pure honeys may contain harmful substances, such as antibiotics and heavy metals.
You can read up on the honey ultra-processing downsides and risks at NPR.org, Huffington Post, or FoodSafetyNews.com.
Spun honey
Spun honey, also known as crystallized honey, has had some of the honey’s moisture content removed, turning it from a liquid into creamy paste.  It is popular with those who like to spread honey on bread or toast.  It’s biggest disadvantage is that it is even more processed than pure honey, which means that the vitamin content is likely gone.


Celebrate National Honey Bee Day


If you like honey as much as most Americans, you can still make plans for the 2013 National Honey Day.  Spread the honey, yes, and even spread the word about National Honey Bee Day with a National Honey Bee Day Bumper Sticker.  Make the day fun for the whole family with this music video about honey bees
Have a honey of day!


Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer



Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hey Honey


Fresh Is Best

health benefits of honey
Bees the makers of honey
Did you know that honey is freshest in the summer and fall when it is harvested? You will get the most health benefits from honey if you get it fresh and raw. Another option is pasteurized honey. However, many health benefits of honey are lost when it is pasteurized. I highly recommend buying local raw honey. Why local honey? The bees in your area are harvesting pollen from the plants in your area. Nature, in its beautiful wisdom, provides the foods and plants your body most needs for “life support” for you in that space and time. So when you can; eat fresh, local, and raw!


Fill Yourself Up With Fabulous Fuel

Honey benefits have been known and used throughout the ages. However, we have stopped using honey for nutrition, and replaced it with processed sugar for low cost and ease. But, food is fuel to our bodies, and the nutrients and vitamins we get from fresh food can greatly increase our good health. That is why I am such an avid supporter of spreading the word to eat nutrient dense foods. Many health experts feel that eating fresh and raw ingredients has a positive effect on our overall health.

Let’s live life to the fullest, by enjoying the positive benefits of eating delicious, colorful, nutrient rich foods. The benefit of honey is just one way we can do this.

Honey health benefits

Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits honey has to offer to YOU:
  • Allergy remedy: Many people report that using a spoonful of honey in tea, or right out of the jar has relieved their allergy symptoms. There may also be benefits from adding bee pollen supplements to the honey.  Some people report that they are able to stop using over the counter medicines after finding that honey has helped relieve their symptoms. How Stuff Works.com explains in detail how honey might help as an allergy remedy. 
  • An Energized Workout:  Honey can boost the quality of your workout! The natural sugars in honey may help in preventing fatigue while you exercise. Try a “spoonful of honey” before your next work out and see if it boosts your energy!
  • Boost your Immune System:  Honey has anti-bacterial properties.  Since bacteria does not grow on honey, it might help your body kill off bacteria and help boost your immune system. I once asked a lively and healthy 92 year old woman, named Doris, what she felt was one of her most effective health regimens. She told me that every morning she started her day with honey and lemon in a cup of warm water. A doctor had told her in her forties that it would help to boost her immune system, and she used it every day after that. 
  • A Natural Home Remedy:  I come from Amish country and I am grateful for the influence that culture has brought into my life. One of my favorite books is, “Home Remedies from Amish Country.” One remedy from this little gem of a book is said to be good for arthritis pain. But always check with your doctor before stopping or changing any medications. There are different types of arthritis and it's important to know which type you are dealing with before using any remedy, natural or otherwise.
    • Mix equal parts honey and apple cider vinegar.
    • Take two dessert spoons (about one tablespoon) of this mixture each morning and evening.
Health benefits from honey are numerous, whether you use it inside or out. Livestrong.com is just one internet resource that talks about the many benefits from raw honey. If you are unsure of the benefits honey could have for your condition, check with your skilled health care provider first. Always discuss changes in treatment with your doctor before stopping any prescribed treatment or medication. Also, honey should never be given to infants under the age of 12 months. It may contain botulism spores that can lead to botulism poisoning. Infants under 12 months should avoid all foods containing honey, whether it is raw or processed.

Let me share with you a few nutrition facts so you can feel even better about enjoying this delicious, golden syrup.

Honey Nutrition Facts

How many calories are in honey? Well there are about 64 calories in a tablespoon of honey.

I was taught that to live a long healthy life eat mineral rich foods. You can't go wrong with honey.
  • Potassium-heart, kidney, muscle and digestive functioning.
  •  Calcium-bone health, dental care and prevention of colon cancer.
  • Phosphorus-hormone balance, bone and protein formation and digestion.
  • Sodium-helps balance fluid in the body, especially during workouts.
  • Magnesium-aids over 300 biochemical reactions in the body.
  • Iron-carries life giving oxygen to human blood cells.
  • Copper-if there is an anti-aging nutrient, this one would be at the top of the list!
  •  Manganese-helps in building bones.
  • Zinc- immune system, wound healing, improved stress levels, and much more.
raw honey
The benefits of honey are many.
I hope this helps enjoy more of the benefits from this wonderfully rich and tasty gift from the bees.

Have some happy honey filled days ahead!

Gwendolyn
Contributing Writer