For the consumer, the main organic honey benefits are that you are not ingesting pesticides or certain antibiotics, and you are supporting sustainable apiculture and agriculture practices.
Organic honey is made from bees that only have access to flowering plants that have not been treated with pesticides. It is also lacking in the common antibiotics that commercial honey producers often use to prevent diseases within the colonies.
In many developed countries, there are strict guidelines in place that must be adhered for the honey to receive the designation of Certified Organic. Let’s take a look at organic honey benefits in more detail.
Main Organic Honey Benefits
Honey is a natural antibiotic. Raw honey contains phenols and natural hydrogen peroxide. Both of these compounds have antibacterial properties. Honey has been used topically on the skin to treat wounds, rashes, and infective cellulitis. PubMed.gov published a compelling paper on the healing properties of honey when used topically.
It can be taken internally to help with infections, such as the common cold, sore throats, and stomach ulcers that are caused by inopportune bacteria. Dr. Josh Axe recommends mixing organic honey with antimicrobial and soothing essential oils as a cough suppressant and upper respiratory tonic.
Organic honey benefits include the ability to increase antioxidant levels in our bodies. Antioxidants are necessary for controlling damaging free radicals. Free radicals are linked to a variety of diseases and with premature aging. Antioxidants are critical for fighting diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and some autoimmune conditions.
The antioxidant properties of honey are also critical for preventing an increase in LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. This is the bad cholesterol this is likely responsible for many cardiovascular-related diseases and conditions. The American Heart Association promotes the use of honey as a preferred natural sweetener in their recipes, such as this one for honey-spiced pears.
Assistance for Diabetes
Raw and organic honey is known to behave much better in people who are predisposed to diabetes than processed sugars. Honey increases insulin, decreasing hyperglycemia. Honey can be used as a preventative measure by helping to manage blood glucose levels. It can also be used by persons with diabetes as an alternative to sugar for sweetening foods. As always, it is recommended that you discuss any potential risks with your healthcare practitioner.
There is some evidence that combining raw, organic honey with cinnamon may be helpful in controlling spikes in blood sugar. Cinnamon is a natural insulin boosting spice.
One of the wonderful properties of raw and organic honey is that it contains natural probiotics in the form of bifidobacteria. These are the good bacteria that we need to maintain the healthy gut flora necessary for immunity and optimal digestion. The natural probiotics inherent in honey are essential for intestinal health.
The digestive system has been referred to as our second brain. Most of the serotonin in our bodies is in our guts, not out brains. Maintaining a healthy environment in our digestive tracts is necessary for our physical and mental well-being. If organic honey benefits our intestinal health, we should be consuming it as our primary sweetener. Combining honey with probiotic rich, organic yogurt or kefir will provide a more comprehensive range of the good bacteria our bodies rely on for digestive health.
Natural Energy Booster
Another of organic honey benefits is its supply of glucose and fructose for improved energy and performance. The natural sugars in honey are well absorbed and do not contain the harmful by-products of commercially processed sugars that are found in sports drinks, gels, and sugary energy bars. For centuries, athletes have supplemented with honey for improved energy and better quality of recovery after sports events.
Honey contains a variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as some protein. Since organic honey cannot be heated to high temperatures during processing, to the extent that commercial honey can be, the vitamins and minerals remain intact. Organic honey is a good source of vitamins A, various Bs, C, D, E, and the minerals calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
Honey is an excellent substitute for white sugar and high fructose corn syrup. It is naturally sweet and can be added to water, tea, and yogurt. It is also perfect in baked goods as a processed sugar replacement. There are many recipes available for healthy energy bars made with honey.
Seasonal Allergy Prevention
There is a lot of merit in the philosophy that we should be eating locally sourced foods. This is especially true for honey. If you suffer from seasonal pollen allergies, consider that one of the organic honey benefits is that it contains traces of locally grown pollen. Ingesting this has been shown to behave similarly to the immune stimulating response that one gets from allergy injections.
A study conducted in 2013 revealed that ingesting high doses of local honey reduced the symptoms of allergic rhinitis such as sneezing, watery eyes, and coughing. To be clear, processed honey will not work because the pollen has been removed, making another point for organic honey benefits.
Organic honey benefits are many and varied. By nature of the raw product and the extraction process, certified organic honey is healthier than non-organic, commercially processed honey. Organic honey is prepared for consumption using lower or no heat, leaving most of the nutrients intact. The bees are not exposed to toxic pesticides or harmful antibiotics. Hence, these are not passed down to the consumer.
It is recommended that you look for locally sourced organic honey. You can generally find this at farmer’s markets. Local honey will be especially helpful with seasonal allergies and in boosting your immune system. You will also be contributing to sustainable practices by buying from local purveyors.