Why is most honey filtered?
According to USDA Grading Standards for extracted honey, filtered honey is honey that has been filtered to the extent that all or most of the fine particles, pollen grains, air bubbles, or other materials normally found in suspension, have been removed.
Honey that is filtered by packers is filtered for various reasons:
Many consumers prefer honey that is liquid and stays liquid for a long time.
All honey crystallizes eventually. Suspended particles and fine air bubbles in honey contribute to faster crystallization. Filtering helps delay crystallization, helping the honey to remain liquid for a much longer period than unfiltered honey.
Many consumers prefer honey to be clear and brilliantly transparent.
The presence of fine, suspended material (pollen grains, wax, etc.) and air bubbles results in a cloudy appearance that can detract from the appearance. Filtering is done to give a clear brilliant product desired by consumers. For the filtered style of honey, USDA Grading Standards for Extracted Honey give higher grades for honey that has good clarity.
Removing pollen from the honey by the methods of micro filtration with the excuse that the consumers prefer clear and brilliant appearance is wrong. Removing the healthy elements for the sake of the appearance is simplistic and shallow.
Various filtration methods are used by the food industry throughout the world. Ultrafiltration, a specific kind of filtration used in the food industry, should not be confused with other filtration methods generally used in the honey industry. When applied to honey, ultrafiltration involves adding water to honey and filtering it under high pressure at the molecular level, then removing the water. It is a much more involved and expensive process which results in a colorless sweetener product that is derived from honey but is not considered “honey” in the U.S.
HEALTH VALUE OF HONEY
At least 20 percent of all adults in the U.S. suffer from some form of arthritis, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Although this painful, debilitating inflammatory condition is sometimes thought of as a natural part of aging, your diet may play a role in preventing and improving symptoms of arthritis. Folk practitioners have been using honey for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, and honey’s nutritional properties may help it fight the inflammation that causes arthritis.
NUTRITION AND ANTIOXIDANTS
Honey contains the B-complex vitamins, minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc, as well as some amino acids and antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect against harmful free radicals and reactive oxygen species that have been linked to various chronic diseases, including arthritis. A review in a 2003 issue of the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” reported that buckwheat honey increased the antioxidant activity of blood plasma in healthy adults and concluded that substituting honey for other sweeteners could improve antioxidant defences.
HONEY AND INFLAMMATION
Inflammation is your body’s way of protecting itself against injuries, but when that process goes haywire, inflammation can harm the tissues it was meant to heal. This can lead to rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and a host of other medical conditions. Researchers in India performed tests on rats using manuka honey, a honey from New Zealand that contains more nutrition than any other type. The study results, published in “Phytotherapy Research” in 2008, found that the honey led to significant decreases in inflammatory bowel disease in the rats. This research held out promise that honey could be an effective tool at fighting other inflammatory diseases, like arthritis.
HONEY AND ARTHRITIS
Siddha medicine is a traditional Indian practice that uses formulas such as kalpaamruthaa, consisting of a nut milk extract, dried powder from the Indian gooseberry fruit and honey. A study published in “Chemical-Biological Interactions” in 2008 showed that the formula fed to arthritic rats resulted in improvements in symptoms that were attributed to the antioxidant flavonoids, tannins and vitamin C. Another study on rats at the University of Ilorin, in Nigeria, showed that honey consumption reduced arthritis symptoms at doses of 2, 6 and 10 g per kg of body weight. Results were published in the “Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine” in April 2011.
Honey is generally recognized as safe for most adults or children, although children under 12 months should not given raw honey due to a risk for botulism poisoning. Honey is made from a variety of pollen types and may cause allergic reactions if you are allergic to the particular pollens found in a given honey product. Avoid honey made from plants from the genus Rhododendron, often called “mad honey” because it can cause honey intoxication with mild paralysis, dizziness, vertigo, blurred vision and convulsions.
ARE THERE PROBIOTICS IN HONEY?
Probiotics consist of healthy, or “friendly,” bacteria that promote and maintain a healthy digestive tract. Prebiotics, which are non-digestible supplements, help modify the balance of healthy bacteria in the intestines. Although honey is not considered a probiotic, it does serve as a prebiotic. Consult your physician before using honey as a prebiotic to treat certain health conditions.
Probiotics, present in cultured foods and dietary supplements, contain live microorganisms that provide healthy benefits when used on a regular basis. Most probiotics consist of a type of healthy bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus or Bifidobacterium bifidum. Probiotics help replenish healthy bacteria in the intestine, which improves digestion, strengthens the immune system and reduces your risk of bacterial infection. These healthy bacteria protect the gut from bacterial infections caused by harmful bacteria. Sources of probiotics include cultured dairy products, some fermented soy products and dietary supplements.
Although prebiotics are related to probiotics, they do not serve the same purpose. Prebiotics, also known as fermentable fibre, consist of non-digestible nutrients that healthy bacteria need to thrive in your intestinal tract. According to MayoClinic.com, preliminary research indicates that prebiotics may aid in improving digestion issues, calcium absorption and strengthening your immune system. Prebiotics are naturally present in certain foods, including bananas, flax, legumes, barley, berries and honey.
HONEY’S PREBIOTIC BENEFITS
Honey may affect the growth and activity of Bifidobacterium, a probiotic present in the mouth, vagina and gastrointestinal tract, in the intestines. Research funded by the National Honey Board and performed by Michigan State University in 2001 discovered a correlation between honey and the growth of Bifidocaterium cells in the intestines, which may improve the health of the gastrointestinal tract. Additionally, a 2005 study published in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” reveals that honey oligosaccharides seem to increase the growth of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.
Although research shows that honey has potential to serve as a prebiotic substance, evidence using human subjects is lacking. Avoid giving honey to children younger than 1 year of age due to the risk of botulism. Changes in the bacteria of your intestines may cause side effects, including gas, upset stomach and bloating. Consult your physician before using honey or any other food as a prebiotic to treat health conditions.
HEALTH STUDIES OF POLLEN AND HONEY
Ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Chinese, Romans and Greeks used honey to treat a variety of ailments ranging from skin conditions to gastrointestinal problems. Modern apitherapists, or people who prescribe honeybee products medicinally, say honey and pollen possess therapeutic applications. Scientific research suggests these substances might indeed have certain valuable medicinal and health-enhancing potential. As with all natural remedies, always consult a health care professional before using pollen or honey for treatment purposes.
TREATING WOUNDS WITH HONEY
Honey shows promise as a low-cost alternative dressing for diabetic foot ulcers, concludes a 2008 review published in the “Wisconsin Medical Journal.” “Honey is an inexpensive moist dressing with anti-bacterial and tissue-healing properties that has shown promise in the medical literature,” explain the authors. In seven separate studies conducted from 2005 to 2007, honey appeared to expedite the healing of both burns and infected wounds, says a review in “Bandolier.”
HEALTH EFFECTS OF INGESTING HONEY
Honey encourages the growth of healthy bifidobacteria in both fermented dairy products and the human gastroinstestinal tract, according to a 2001 study funded by the National Honey Board. A 2009 study published in the “Journal of the American Dietetic Association” found that eating honey daily in place of refined sweeteners increases your antioxidant intake. Honey also serves as a useful carbohydrate replacement for endurance athletes, says a 2004 study published in “The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.”
In another study published in the December 2007 edition of the journal “Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine,” parents rated honey as the best remedy to treat the symptoms of nocturnal cough and the sleep disorders associated with respiratory tract infections. The study recommends honey as an effective alternative treatment for cough in all children older than 1 year old.
POTENTIAL USES FOR POLLEN
Japanese scientists reported in the November 2009 issue of “Phytotherapy Research” that honeybee pollen can cause anti-allergic effects. Pollen extract proved effective in treating both prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain syndrome, says a September 2009 article appearing in “European Urology.” A 2007 study published in “Phytotherapy Research” says bee pollen holds potential for treating advanced cases of prostate cancer. Bee pollen also possesses “strong antioxidant effects,” according to a 2009 study published in “BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.”
WHY IS HONEY A GOOD FACE MASK?
Any all-natural face mask allows you to avoid exposing your body and your skin to the chemicals that may be found in other face treatments. Honey has many benefits and can be used for any skin type. It is especially suited to be used on sensitive skin that may not tolerate synthetic ingredients.
Most people know that honey contains sugars. However, it also contains B vitamins and minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron, phosphate, and sulfur. It also contains antioxidants and alpha hydroxy acids, which could contribute to slowing the aging process on skin. As a humectant, honey contains ingredients that can moisturize.
FOR OILY SKIN
Honey can be used with other ingredients as a face mask to reduce and control acne breakouts. It can also help to tighten the skin. Using a face mask that combines honey and an egg white can boost the blemish-fighting benefits.
FOR DRY SKIN
Because honey has moisturizing properties, it can be used to moisturize dry skin. This will help to prevent wrinkles and lines on the face. Making a honey face mask with a whole egg can increase the moisturizing effects of the mask. Furthermore, a honey face mask can be used as a gentle exfoliant for the face.
Honey has antiseptic qualities, indicating its use in a face mask to reduce scars or encourage minor wound healing. Honey masks can also help to encourage healing of fungal infections.Always consult with your treating physician prior to using honey on a wound or a fungal infection.
As with most face masks, prepare the skin by cleaning it of all makeup. Test for any allergic reactions by trying the face mask in a small area first. Apply the mask for 10 to 20 minutes and then wash off gently. If you have had an allergic reaction to any ingredients in the mask, do not use that mask.