Why Should You Eat Local Honey?

Raw honeycomb and local wildflower honey on top of bee hive.  Raw honey on top of bee hive.

Why Should You Eat Local Honey?

You might have heard that local honey is good for you. Is it? The answer is yes! Local wildflower honey has a number of benefits, as long as it is raw, which means the honey has not been pasteurized.   Pasteurization generally destroys the nutritional value of honey, so it's best to avoid heating honey above 145 degrees. 

So, what are the benefits of local honey?

Antioxidants

Raw honey contains traces of plant matter that contain valuable antioxidants that help protect your body from cell damage and encourage overall health. These include polyphenols, which support digestion, brain health, and help protect your heart.

Treatment for a Sore Throat

If you have a sore throat, whether from a cold or having to talk too much, a spoonful of honey can help soothe a sore throat. It can also work as a cough suppressant, making honey great for feeling better when you have a cold. You can eat it straight or add it to hot lemon juice.

Allergies

If you have pollen allergies, eating honey can help, as long as it's local honey. The closer to your home the better. The way it works is simple; honey contains traces of pollen from the plants the bees have visited. As it's such a small amount it won't trigger your allergies, but it will train your immune system not to "panic" about the harmless pollen, a process called desensitization. The honey does have to contain the plant you are allergic to, and you have to "take" it every day for a few months.

It's also a good idea to get and eat local honey after moving to help your body acclimate to whatever pollen might be in the new area. Make sure the honey you get is wildflower honey featuring nectar and traces of pollen from a multitude of floral sources. Some artisanal hone is made by putting the hive in the middle of a field of a specific plant; this creates honey with a distinctive and reliable taste, but one that will have fewer benefits for allergies.

Digestive Support

There's some indication that honey can have an impact on the population of Helicobacter pylori in your stomach. This is the bacteria that causes ulcers.

It's also a good prebiotic, which means it supports the health and nourishment of your gut flora, which helps you digest your food. An imbalance in gut flora can cause all kinds of health problems. It may help with diarrhea, although no good studies have been done, and too much honey can make diarrhea worse.

Nutrients

Honey contains a variety of amino acids and vitamins. It does contain about 16 grams of sugar per tablespoon, but it also contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and zinc. This means that despite its sugar content, honey is a healthier alternative to table sugar.  To substitute the sugar in a recipe for honey, it's good to keep in mind this sugar to honey conversion: Up to one cup, honey can be substituted for sugar in equal amounts. For example, you can substitute 1/2 cup of honey for 1/2 cup of sugar called for in a recipe. Over one cup, use about 2/3-3/4 cup of honey for every cup of sugar.  If adding honey to drinks, be aware that honey does not break down in cold drinks.  It's best to make a simple syrup with hot water and then add it to cold drinks to ensure proper blending.

To get these benefits, your best option is raw local honey. The honey that is often marketed in plastic containers with the designation: product of Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and the United States, is pasteurized and overly processed. This honey is the cheap, common supermarket varietal, but it's benefits pail in comparison to pure raw local honey. We offer local honey for sale from three different areas: New England Wildflower from New Hampshire, Mid-Atlantic Wildflower from Pennsylvania, and Southern Wildflower from South Carolina. Our regional wildflower honey is raw honey and unpasteurized. We source our honey directly from regional beekeepers, so each purchase supports small apiaries up and down the East coast.

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