Raw, Organic Honey:
The Healthiest Natural Sweetener that I Can Recommend
I'm often asked
to recommend a healthy sweetener to add to drinks, smoothies,
salad dressings, cereals, healthy desserts, and nut butters.
My answer is
this: I think it's best to avoid using a sweetener every
day, but if you're going to use one a few times a week,
I think that your best choice is raw, organic honey.
The vast majority of brands of honey
in most grocery stores are refined and pasteurized - these brands provide little
more than liquid sugar.
Honey that's truly raw - not exposed
to more than 118 degrees Fahrenheit - contains the following nutrients that
can nourish your cells and keep you healthy:
of flavonoids, which are antioxidants that can help
keep your cardiovascular system healthy and help prevent
damage caused by excessive amounts of free radicals
Amino acids (building blocks
of protein in your body)
Trace amounts of calcium, magnesium,
iron, zinc, potassium, and a number of other minerals
Healthy, natural sugars (fructose
and glucose) that can help create glycogen stores in your liver and muscles,
and provide a source of energy to your cells
In the United
States, the labeling of honey is governed by the FDA, and
companies that package honey are not required to gain organic
certification in order to say that their honey products
are organic. Because honey is produced by bees that interact
with flowers over large areas of land, I feel that truly
healthy honey should be 100% organic - in other words, the
land and flowers that the bees have access to must be free
of pesticides, herbicides, and other common environmental
contaminants to ensure a healthy honey product.
For this reason, the raw, organic
honey that we use in our home is imported from Australia. Australia has close
to 25 million acres of organic land that is free of the cross contamination
that's found in more densely populated countries. More truly organic and wild
land equals higher quality honey that is as nutrient-dense and pure as possible.
The bees that produce our special
honey are treated with kindness by master beekeepers who feed the bees nothing
but their own honey. The bees are never fed antibiotic-laced sugars and sugar
syrups, which are common practices among many beekeepers.
The quality of honey also depends
on the amount of processing that goes into transferring it from hive to bottle.
When honey is heated and heavily processed, it be can stripped of many of the
health-promoting phytonutrients that are abundant in honey when it is in the
Our raw, organic honey comes straight
from the hives, is handled as little as possible, and is never heated above
112 degrees Fahrenheit. Our raw, organic honey is never filtered or strained
- it's as pure and nutrient-rich as it was in the hives that it came from.
The final bottled
product is a pure, raw, unfiltered organic honey that is
certified 100% organic by the California Certified Organic
Farmers organization (CCOF), which is governed by the USDA-developed
National Organic Program.
organic honey has an almost butterscotch-like flavor - it's
really different from all other honeys that I've tried over
the years. I like to mix it with cashew and almond butter,
chocolate smoothies, and a number of other healthy, dessert
recipes that can be found in our healthy dessert recipes
way to take it is to eat a full teaspoon before I exercise
- I find that my energy is better during and after my workouts
whenever I do this. And I find that eating it straight from
a teaspoon is the best way to appreciate the unique butterscotch
flavor of this special honey.
The shelf life
of honey is hundreds, if not thousands of years, so it's
fine to keep a few bottles of our raw, 100% organic honey
in your pantry. But it's best not to give raw honey to children
under one year of age, so be sure to keep it out of reach
of little ones.
follows are some health benefits that are associated with
raw, organic honey:
Raw honey contains
phytonutrients - caffeic acid methyl caffeate, phenylethyl
caffeate, and phenylethyl dimethylcaffeate - that may have
anti-tumor and cancer-preventing properties. When raw honey
is heavily processed and heated, these phytonutrients lose
most or all of their effectiveness.
out in several Israeli hospitals indicates that honey may
improve the strength of your immune system by supporting
your red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
Honey may help promote optimal build-up
of glycogen stores in your liver, which can help your liver optimally supply
your brain with glucose while you sleep and exercise for long periods of time.
to other sweeteners, honey may improve your ability to regulate
your blood sugar and insulin levels, though you still want
to use raw, organic honey sparingly, as consumption of all
sweeteners, even natural ones, can increase your blood sugar
and insulin levels in the short and long term. Because raw,
organic honey is rich in antioxidants, eating high quality
honey may help support the health of your blood vessels.
From batch to batch, raw, organic
honey may contain some friendly bacteria, which may help you experience optimal
digestive tract health and a strong immune system.
topically, raw, organic honey may accelerate healing of
wounds, including burns and ulcers. The wound-healing properties
of honey may be partly due to glucose oxidase, an enzyme
that naturally occurs in honey. When glucose oxidase combines
with water, the result is hydrogen peroxide, which is a
mild antiseptic. Another possible reason why honey is an
effective ointment for wounds is that the fructose and glucose
in honey attracts water, and by keeping a wound dry, honey
can help prevent growth of undesirable microorganisms.