You know very well about honey. It is a thick, extremely sweet syrup that the honey bees make. It is full of certain plant compounds that are extremely healthy for you.
However, many people still seem to be confused regarding which form of honey is the most beneficial- the raw form or the regular one.
While some people claim the raw form to be healthier and more beneficial for health, others believe that there lies no difference between the two.
How are Raw and Regular Honey Different from One Another?
The main difference between regular and raw honey lies in the processing. Both types have different processing methods which may lead a number of differences, especially when it comes to quality.
Some of the major differences between raw and regular honey are discussed below for your understanding.
Raw Honey has Higher Nutritious Value
Raw honey consists of a broad range of nutrients.
There are 22 different amino acids, around 31 minerals, and lots of other enzymes and vitamins in it. However, these nutrients are found in trace levels only.
Raw honey also consists of almost 30 different forms of bioactive plant compounds. These are referred to as polyphenols and are antioxidant in nature.
Scientists have linked these polyphenols to a number of health benefits such as reduced risk of cardiovascular complications, lessened inflammation, and lower risk of some types of cancer.
On the other hand, commercially prepared honey has a lesser amount of antioxidant as it has to pass through a number of processing methods.
A study that compared the number of antioxidants in raw and processed forms of honey obtained from a local market suggested that the raw form had almost 4.3 times higher level of antioxidants as compared to the processed type.
The U.S. based National Honey Board has also certified that the type of honey that has passed through the minimal level of processing contains higher levels of minerals and antioxidants.
However, there is a need for more studies that compare and contrast the raw and processed forms of honey. Only then can we be certain regarding the actual impact of processing on the composition of honey.
Regular Honey Lacks Pollen
You are well-aware of the way how bees form honey. These little insects fly from flower to flower to collect pollen and nectar.
Both of these substances are then taken back to the beehive and packed inside the honeycomb. With the passage of time, this becomes a source of food for the bees.
Bee pollen is extremely nutritious as it has more than 250 substances such as amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins, antioxidants, and micronutrients. It is so healthy that the German Federal Ministry has recognized it as a medicine.
Bee pollen has also been used to obtain a lot of health benefits. It can fight inflammation and boost the health of your liver. Bee pollen can even fight heart diseases and may manage stroke really well.
Unfortunately, this bee pollen reduces to negligible amounts as the honey passes through processing methods like ultrafiltration or heat treatments.
As per a study that obtained and examined 60 different samples of commercially prepared honey, more than 75 percent of these samples did not contain any bee pollen.
Regular Honey Might have Secret Sweeteners and Sugars
In the United States alone, more than 400 million pounds of honey are utilized every year.
Because the demand for honey is so high, it is quite difficult to meet it with the help of local suppliers. That is why more than 70 percent of the honey consumed in the United States is imported.
However, a lot of concern has been expressed regarding the regular honey being contaminated with artificial sweeteners such as high-fructose corn syrups.
Raw Honey seems to have More Health Benefits
Honey has undoubtedly been liked by some really amazing health benefits. Studies have even concluded that it can decrease the risk of heart diseases, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol.
However, most of these health benefits are due to consumption of raw honey because it has a higher amount of antioxidants and several other beneficial compounds.
One of such components is an enzyme known as glucose oxidase. This enzyme generates molecules that empower honey with antimicrobial properties.
Unfortunately, this extremely useful enzyme gets destroyed as soon as the honey is exposed to filtration and excessive heat. Therefore, every commercially prepared honey product is less likely to have it in its composition.
It is also not clear if the minimally processed products of honey have the same antioxidant levels as compared to the raw honey. According to an unofficial study, these minimally processed products of honey have a similar antioxidant level as compared to raw honey but have a fewer amount of enzymes.
So, if you want to include honey in your diet for its amazing benefits, be sure to eat the raw form.
Raw Honey and Organic Honey are NOT the Same
If you are considering to get an organic form of honey thinking that it will have the same composition as the raw one, think twice.
Raw and organic forms of honey are usually subjected to different regulations according to the country they are produced in.
Honey that is categorized as raw is not permitted to be processed or pasteurized.
On the other hand, organic honey comes from a bee farm that has successfully met the organic livestock standards set by the United States Department of Agriculture.
This means that the bees, honey, and the flowers are not permitted to come in contact with chemicals, pesticides, or any other thing that has been forbidden by this department.
However, there are no rules that forbid the pasteurization or processing of this honey. This means that if you are buying organic honey in the U.S., chances are that it may be processed or pasteurized.
What are the Risks of Eating Raw Honey?
Raw honey is said to contain the spores of a bacterial species known as Clostridium botulinum.
This bacterium is particularly harmful to children, babies, and women who are expecting. It can lead to botulism poisoning which can cause life-threatening paralysis.
However, the cases of botulism occurring in healthy adults and older children are quite less. This is because as your body ages, the guy develops enough immunity to stop the spores of this bacterium from growing.
That said, if you are experiencing any side effects such as vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea, you must contact a doctor immediately.
It is to be noted here that regular honey may also contain the spores of this bacteria. This means that you must never give it to babies, pregnant females and children under the age of one.
How can you Pick the Healthiest Honey?
As far as choosing the healthiest type of honey is concerned, you must always pick the raw form. This is because they are not pasteurized and have not been processed, so, their nutritional value is intact.
Minimally processed forms of honey are also not bad but it becomes really hard to know which one of them has actually passed through the minimal level of processing.
If you want to buy a minimally processed honey based on its texture, it is better to purchase it from a local beekeeper.