Whether one places a dollop in tea or drizzles some in a yogurt smoothie, honey is the sweet finish that can make various foods and beverages taste that much better. In fact, honey is perhaps Mother Nature’s most natural sweetener.
While honey in any form can provide its share of healthy offerings, raw honey – which is unprocessed and taken straight from a honeycomb – may be even healthier than the alternatives. According to a 2019 report in Medical News Today, some people believe that processing honey, which often involves pasteurization, removes many of its natural beneficial elements. But honey taken straight from the beehive contains bee pollen, bee propolis and scores of antioxidants.
Individuals interested in trying raw, local honey should consider buying it from a trusted local producer. For those who need more convincing, the following are five beneficial properties of raw honey.
- Antioxidants: Raw honey contains plant chemicals that act as antioxidants. Healthline says some types of honey have as many antioxidants as fruits and vegetables, which can protect the body from free radicals that damage cells.
- Antimicrobial/antifungal properties: Raw honey has antimicrobial properties that could kill certain bacteria, says the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. That is perhaps why honey long has been used as a natural salve for wounds. Honey can soothe a sore throat, and it also can attack bacteria in the throat responsible for certain illnesses. Healthline says raw honey also has been studied for its use against certain Candida-related infections.
- Allergy relief: Raw, local honey is made from local flowers and flowering plants. By ingesting raw, local honey regularly, a person is taking in small, manageable doses of allergens from their area, which can help build up an immunity to these allergens over time.
- Digestive relief: Raw honey has been studied for use in treatment for H. pylori bacteria, a common cause of stomach ulcers. Raw honey also may help people overcome diarrhea. Honey contains prebiotics, which nourish good bacteria that live in the gut.
- Brain health: A 2017 study published in the journal Pharmacognosy Research found ingredients of honey have anti-inflammatory properties that may help fight inflammation in an area of the brain called the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory.
Raw, local honey can help protect the environment because the public has a vested interest in maintaining natural spaces and healthy bee populations. Raw, local honey is available from various vendors, notably small operations at farmers markets who take quality control seriously.