Honey can be a great natural sweetener, but not all honey is created equal. Most of the honey you see at the supermarket is processed and may even contain added sugars. Raw honey contains only the ingredients Mother Nature built into it. While you might already think of honey as being more healthy than other sources of sugar, some of the specific raw honey benefits might still surprise you.
Making the switch from processed honey to raw honey is one simple way to reduce the amount of extra sugar you consume — without totally depriving your sweet tooth. Furthermore, consuming raw honey can supply you with extra nutrients and other benefits that have been removed by the time processed honey hits the shelf.
What Is Raw Honey?
Raw honey is honey that has not undergone pasteurization, a process that subjects it to extreme heat. In short, it’s honey taken directly from the beehive, so it still contains various beneficial ingredients — including bee pollen and propolis, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants — that the pasteurization process tends to remove.
Although you won’t see raw honey on most supermarket shelves, it’s easy to find at farmers markets, online, or from local beekeepers. Keep in mind that “raw” in this case specifically refers to honey that has not been pasteurized. You may find honey labeled "organic" or "pure" that has still been pasteurized — meaning it is not raw honey and may not contain all of the same nutrients.
Raw Honey Benefits
Studies show that raw honey provides multiple benefits and is linked to a number of healthy outcomes. Many traditional home remedies are now backed by health experts, including the use of honey to kill a cough. Potential raw honey benefits include:
Boosted immune system
Maintained blood pressure levels
Improved cholesterol levels
Reduced triglyceride levels
Sore throat relief
However, it’s also important to keep in mind that while raw honey doesn’t contain extra sugar, it’s still a natural sugar on its own. As with any other sugar, it should be consumed in moderation for the best results.
How to Enjoy Raw Honey
The many raw honey benefits aren’t limited to health and fitness. Raw honey also offers a greater range of flavor than processed honey, because the pasteurization process strips away much of that flavor. How a particular jar of honey tastes depends on a number of factors, including where it comes from and what flowers the bees visited for nectar.
You can substitute raw honey anywhere you would normally use regular honey. But with so many flavors out there, you might want to experiment with different honey types and food or drink pairings. Stir some into your tea, use it as a spread on toast, substitute it for sugar when baking — the possibilities are endless!
Say Goodbye to Processed Honey
When you consider the many raw honey benefits — and how many of them are lost in the pasteurization process — there’s really no reason not to choose raw honey over processed honey. Not only does raw honey retain its built-in nutrients, but it also boasts more pronounced flavors and variety.