Did you know that organic raw honey doesn’t just taste great but contains so much good … including iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, vitamin B6?
Pure, true honey is one of nature’s purest sweeteners … it’s a functional food with impressive health benefits … it can be medicine. But …
Not all honey is created equal.
Conventional honey (the variety on most grocery store shelves or found in Honey Nut Cheerios) is heavily processed to the point where natural enzymes, vitamins, and minerals are destroyed, is most often chemically refined (or ultra-refined), and has been stripped of beneficial phyto-nutrients.
Bees used to make conventional honey can be treated with antibiotics (just like factory farmed animals), and it is very common for beekeepers to even add pesticides to their hives for mites. In the mass production of honey, bee health is often overlooked, and many are killed in the process of extracting the honey … plus the pollen is removed (that’s what makes honey healthy!). According to Food Safety News, more than 75% of the honey sold in U.S. grocery stores isn’t what the bees produce, one third of all honey sold in the U.S. is smuggled from China, and the FDA had either been told of, or had stumbled upon, Chinese honey contaminated with chloramphenicol and other illegal animal antibiotics which are dangerous (can even be fatal to a very small percentage of the population). Even small producers of honey in China have had problems with lead contamination. Honey is the third-most-faked food in the world, behind milk and olive oil, according to compliance management company Decernis. “Honey launderers” fool authenticity tests by making chemical modifications, making it hard to trace where the honey came from … do you know your beekeeper? You can!
Choose raw, organic honey from kind beekeepers.
Raw honey is not refined after being taken from honeycomb, so it contains bee pollen and propolis (which both have anti-allergen properties and boost immunity), natural enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. Unlike processed honey, raw honey still has incredible nutritional value. When honey is certified organic, it means that the plants (the bees’ source of nectar), their entire foraging area, and their hives are all free of pesticides, antibiotics, and more pollutants … and are most often heavy in pollen.
Small scale beekeepers tend to be much kinder to their bees, and are very gentle when extracting honey to ensure the bees are unharmed. Of course, do your research and ask questions. To see kind beekeeping in action, check out Shoresh’s Bela Farm, which has 30 active, happy beehives in their apiary. Given that there are no true guidelines regarding organic honey (remember, just because it’s on a shelf with claims on the label, doesn’t mean it’s good opt to buy local honey, ideally from a small beekeeper, where you can ask about their production methods … the theme in Empathy Economics is to question everything!
Find our favourite honey and bee friendly tips in The Wellness Intelligence Collective.
For more of our lessons in Empathy Economics click here.