According to Dr. Ron Fessenden, M.D., M.P.H. the average American consumes over 150 pounds of refined sugar, plus an additional 62 pounds of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). In comparison, we consume just one pound of honey per year. Instead, Dr. Fessenden recommends that increasing the intake of pure “raw” honey and drastically reducing the refined sugars and HFCS would reap enormous health benefits.
A report in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine further backs the benefits of raw honey with their opinion:
“The therapeutic potential of uncontaminated, pure, raw honey is grossly underutilized. It is widely available in most communities and although the mechanism of action of several of its properties remains obscure and needs further investigation, the time has now come for conventional medicine to lift the blinds off this ‘traditional remedy’ and give it its due recognition.”
Throughout history honey has been an important food. God used honey to motivate the Israelite people when He told them to, “Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey.” (Exodus 33:3)
What is Honey?
Honey is far more than a natural sweetener. It is a “functional food”, which means it is a natural food with health benefits. It contains natural antioxidants, enzymes and minerals including iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and selenium. Vitamins found in honey include B6, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and niacin. In addition, the nutraceuticals contained in honey help neutralize damaging free radical activity.
One tablespoon of honey contains 64 calories, yet it has a healthy glycemic load around 10 for 1 Tbsp, which is a little less than a banana. and does not cause a sugar spike and elevated insulin release like white sugar. Although honey is an affordable food, bees spend thousands of hours collecting pollen from around two million flowers to make one pound of pure honey.
Why Choose Raw Honey?
Research by the Palynology Research Laboratory at Texas A&M University tested 60 honey products from supermarkets and grocery stores and found that 76% contained no trace of pollen. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains that any honey products that have been ultra-filtered, as these have, are not actually honey and therefore the health benefits of honey cannot be assumed.
Commercial honey is often heavily processed and may even have been chemically refined. Excessive heat destroys the natural enzymes, vitamins, and minerals in honey. Filtering and processing eliminates many of the beneficial phytonutrients including pollen and enzyme-rich propolis. The only way to achieve sparkling clear honey is by heat, so avoid the golden syrup-like honey in favor of opaque organic raw honey.
Raw honey is a concentrated source of natural goodness. Benefits include:
• A rich taste
• High nutritional benefits
• Promotes the growth of good bacteria in the intestine
• Soothes and heals skin wounds
• Blocks free radicals
• Aids sleep
• Counters pollen allergies
• Reduces homocysteine levels to maintain a healthy heart
Best of all, honey does not need special storage or refrigeration – use it by the spoonful straight from the jar.
The Health Benefits of Honey
Honey-infused bandages are known to aid healing. Peter Charles Molan at the University of Waikato, New Zealand found that honey reacts with the body’s fluids to make hydrogen peroxide, creating an inhospitable environment for bacteria.
Research studies have already shown that replacing sugar with honey in the diet results in less weight gain and lower blood sugar levels. Switching to honey may even aid in weight loss when compared to diets containing sugar or HFCS.
Honey provides a ready supply of energy in the form of liver glycogen, making it ideal for energetic morning starts and as a pre- and post-exercise energy source. It also boosts the immune system, acting as a preventative against any number of debilitating diseases.
Honey contains many antioxidants including flavonoids to maintain the body’s health balance. Pinostrobin supports enzyme activity while the antioxidant-rich organic acids maintain an optimal slightly acidic pH in the body. Pinocembrin is an antioxidant flavonoid thought to be unique to honey while the amino acids in honey are the body’s building blocks of protein.
Honey promotes restorative sleep as it slowly releases the glycogen needed for essential bodily functions during sleep. Adding honey to milk at bedtime helps the body release melatonin into the brain which is necessary for deep sleep. Melatonin also boosts immunity and helps rebuild tissue during periods of rest. Poor sleep, by comparison, has been shown to be a risk factor for hypertension, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and arthritis. As honey is a proven sleep aid, it naturally lowers the risk of all these health problems.
Proverbs 25:16 says “Do you like honey? Don’t eat too much, or it will make you sick!” Although honey is one of the healthiest sweeteners, it still should be used in moderation.