You've probably heard about the incredible power of honey to improve immunity, treat injuries, boost gastrointestinal health, and fight allergies. What you might not know is that the “honey” you keep in your cabinet may not be honey at all. According to the Food and Drug Administration, any product that is heavily filtered such that the pollen is removed is no longer classified as honey. A review of store-bought honey by Food Safety News suggests that more than 75% of store bought honey products aren't honey at all!
Honey purchasers increasingly want their honey to be clear, mistakenly believing this means it's clean and safe to eat. But the filtering process removes the very nutrients that make honey the superfood honey aficionados everywhere adore. Without the pollen, you're just eating a sugar-saturated treat that rots your teeth. Add that pollen back in, and you have an elixir that can produce a lifetime of good health. Here's how to ensure your honey is real.
Check the Color
Processed foods may be even in color, but real honey certainly isn't. Think about it: pollen spreads unevenly throughout honey, and the bees' behavior ensures that each batch is slightly different. Pure honey is cloudy, and may contain various shades of gold. Cloudy honey is the key to good health, so get past your squeamishness and remember that real honey doesn't look clean. Don't be fooled by a bee comb, since many manufacturers add these later to ensure their honey looks “real.”
Just about anyone can slap an “organic” label on their food, so buying organic isn't an absolute guarantee that your honey is pure. But companies that cater to lovers of organic food are more likely to be mindful of honey and health issues. Steer clear of the honey in a bear jar, and don't buy the generic brand at your local grocery store. Instead, seek out natural brands, and be sure to read up on the specific company from which you're purchasing before you buy.
Buy Untreated Raw Honey
If your honey says it's been pasteurized, purified, or cleaned, the pollen has probably been removed. Instead, look for raw honey that says it's been untreated. Manufacturers that specifically advertise this feature understand the importance of authentic honey and the pollen it contains.
Honey obtained near where you live is far more likely to be pure than honey that was obtained, processed, and shipped halfway across the globe. Retailers that care about buying and eating local are far more likely to simultaneously care about the health value of real honey.