Hello! After five wonderful months of baby bliss, I am finally getting my nutrition business up and running again. And that includes reviving this little nutrition blog, which I am really excited about!
Please check out my updated website for new information on my services and new office location.
One of the great things about being a nutrition therapist is the variety of opportunities that come my way. I love working one-on-one with clients; it’s very fulfilling for me, and I think I am good at it. But getting out of the office to give an occasional presentation, educate a group of people, or attend a seminar provides me with a sense of balance and helps me to stay on top of the ever-changing nutrition world.
Last week, I was honored to be a part of a panel of nutritionists to discuss the nutritional aspects of raw, local honey. The panel was hosted by a Denver farm, Ekar Farm, as part of its celebration of National Honey Month. My most loyal readers know that I talk about the health benefits of honey often, and I even had a local beekeeper, Jessica, guest blog about honey two years ago (revisit it HERE).
I will not repeat what Jessica wrote about the health benefits of raw honey. I would, however, like to explain in more detail why honey should be your sweetener of choice.
There is a big difference between the way the body metabolizes table sugar and the way the body metabolizes fresh, raw, local honey. Table sugar consists of two molecules, glucose and fructose, bound together to form sucrose. Sucrose is considered a disaccharide, meaning the two sugar molecules are bound together.
When we consume table sugar, our body needs to use its stores of enzymes to break down the disaccharide sucrose into fructose and glucose. It then needs to metabolize the sugar. Metabolism requires many different vitamins and minerals, and since table sugar contains zero vitamins and minerals, our body must supply them. So, vitamins and minerals are pulled from the stores inside our body in order to metabolize the sugar. For this reason, table sugar is considered an “anti-nutrient”. Not only does it not provide us with any nutritional value, it actually steals nutrients from our body.
Honey, on the other hand, is much more self-sufficient! Like table sugar, honey is made up of fructose and glucose, however the bees actually add an enzyme to the nectar that breaks down these sugars. So, when we consume the honey, our body does not need to use up its own precious enzymes to break down the sugars. This leaves more enzymes to aid in digestion of other foods we consume throughout the day. In addition, honey contains high enough levels of vitamins and minerals to support its own metabolism, and even contribute to the body’s stores in the process. Honey contains B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin E, zinc, iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phytonutrients, amino acids, antioxidants, and more. While some of these nutrients help fuel the metabolism of honey, others are absorbed by the body and used to support our health.
Finally, I want to reiterate the importance of buying your honey locally and raw and unfiltered. Local honey is especially beneficial to people with seasonal allergies. As the bees buzz around different trees, flowers and plants, they leave trace amounts of local allergens in the honey. In this way, eating a tablespoon of local honey is similar to getting an allergy shot from your doctor! Some people believe that for the local honey to help with seasonal allergies, it should be purchased within 50 miles of your home.
Raw honey is important because any type of heating or processing will kill off many of the honey’s nutritional benefits, including its active enzymes, vitamins and minerals. Honey that is not raw has been processed so much that it really is not much different than table sugar. So, it’s definitely worth the splurge!
Need some ideas on how to incorporate raw, local honey into your diet? Try drizzling it on top of your oatmeal or yogurt; topping whole grain crackers with some nut butter and raw honey; using it in homemade salad dressings; or even adding it as a sweetener to your coffee and tea.
Remember: honey is naturally much sweeter than sugar, so you don’t need much!