Eight types of raw honey you must add to your diet for their immense benefits
It’s best to have honey in its natural, raw form instead of the pasteurized version which is readily available in supermarkets.
Also called the nectar of the gods, honey has been used all over the world since ancient times. And why not? It’s a natural sweetener and chock full of benefits you shouldn’t have to do without.
India is one of the world’s largest exporters of honey, with states like West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Bihar, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu producing large amounts of it every year. This makes honey very cheap and easily available in India - and in so many varieties too.
These varieties mostly depend on the source or the flora the honeybees have been feeding on. But the most important thing you need to remember with regard to honey is that it’s best to have it in its natural, raw form instead of the pasteurized version which is readily available in supermarkets.
The perks of having honey
Yes, pasteurization discourages crystallization, improves the colour and texture and increases the shelf life of honey. But many of the beneficial nutrients honey is so famous for also get distilled in the process. Here are some of the benefits you can draw from consuming raw honey:
- Raw honey is full of antioxidant compounds known as polyphenols, which can fight the signs of ageing and keep chronic diseases at bay.
- Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic that’s naturally present in raw honey and can fight bacterial and fungal infections.
- Raw honey is also full of phytonutrients which have immense immune-boosting qualities, and can even flush out carcinogenic elements in your body.
- A potent probiotic, raw honey can improve digestion and relieve symptoms of indigestion.
- Raw honey works as a great cough suppressant and a remedy for sore throat too.
All these health benefits make raw honey a must-have, but you must remember not to feed it to infants below the age of one year. Raw honey can sometimes carry harmful bacteria and infants, unlike adults, do not have an immune system strong enough to fight them.
The following are the most popular varieties of raw honey found in India:
1. Eucalyptus honey
This variety originated in Australia and has a very strong aftertaste of menthol. Definitely, the kind of honey to have when you have a cold or a headache.
2. Lychee honey
This white to a light amber coloured variety of raw honey has a pleasant aroma and delicious flavour. It tends to crystallize when exposed to cold temperatures and is slightly acidic in nature.
3. Sunflower honey
Get a bottle of this raw honey variety and you’ll have sunflowers in a jar, thanks to its beautiful golden yellow colour. This one has a very delightful flavour too.
4. Rapeseed honey
Bees that feed on rapeseed flowers churn out this white to light amber coloured honey which also has a low acidic content. Add it to your tea to sweeten it for the best taste and benefits.
5. Karanja honey
Made from the nectar of Karanja or Pongamea blossoms, this raw honey variety has immense medicinal benefits. Light amber in colour, it also has a very distinct floral aroma and taste.
6. Multifloral Himalayan honey
Extracted from the Himalayan region, this raw honey variety is made by blending the nectar of the wildflowers found in hilly areas and therefore has high medicinal values.
7. Acacia honey
Light, clear and yet heavy-bodied, this variety of raw honey is one of the most popular in the world, especially among diabetics and those with respiratory disorders.
8. Forest honey
Collected from the virgin tropical forests of West Bengal and Jharkhand, this type of raw honey is derived from shrubs and trees instead of flowers. Woody and warm to taste, forest honey is dark, intense and a variety you must try at least once in your life for its flavour and medicinal benefits.
For more information, please read our article on Honey: Nutritional Facts.
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