Raw honey is touted by its sellers to have many benefits and uses over regular honey that’s found in grocery stores. While not all claims have been proven, there are definite differences between raw and regular, or commercial, honey, such as certain health benefits, taste, aroma, color and texture.
The main difference between regular and raw honey is that regular honey is pasteurized and filtered. Pasteurization is the process where honey is heated at high temperatures to kill any yeast that may be present in order to prevent fermentation. It’s also done to keep the honey from becoming granulated, making it look better to consumers. Commercial honey is smooth and uniform in color. Raw honey is milky in color and may have granules that can be melted in warm water, if desired. It can be assumed that any honey not labeled unpasteurized has gone through the pasteurization process.
Raw honey contains all of the nutrients necessary for good health: vitamins A, C, D, E and high concentrations of the B-complex vitamins including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid. Raw honey also has beneficial enzymes and other nutrients. High heat kills most of the enzymes and some vitamins, so pasteurized honey doesn’t have as many health benefits as raw honey. One of the enzymes raw honey contains is amylase, which aids in digestion by helping predigest breads and other starchy foods, according to Benefits of Honey. Raw honey also has better taste, aroma and a darker color than its pasteurized counterpart.
Honey has been shown to heal wounds due to its antibacterial properties, provide instant energy, reduce coughs and sore throats, and fight free radicals, among other things. It’s also a good substitute for sugar.
While All Allergy discloses that allergic reactions to honey are rare, it can happen if the pollen an individual is allergic to is present in honey. Honey eaten right from the comb could be especially harmful to those with pollen allergies. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to honey can range from itching to anaphylactic shock. Some people believe consuming small amounts of local honey daily will help prevent seasonal allergies. Honey should not be given to an infant under one year of age because botulism can be contracted from the clostridium bacteria that may be present in honey.