Up until now, the discussion has been about herbs, spices and sweeteners on the Superhuman Food Pyramid that are fully recommended. Now we’ve come to the section where the next series of food types are suggested to be taken only in moderation.
First in line and today’s topic is raw pollinated honey.
Did you know that there’s an 8000 year old cave painting of a person gathering honey? That just goes to show how long humans have been eating this food. That really isn’t surprising as honey on its own can provide your body’s daily energy requirement.
The description “raw” and “pollinated” is used to differentiate this type of honey from the processed kind which is what most commercially available honey is. This means raw honey is not heated or pasteurized. Most of the time, it is only strained so that some debris is removed but most of the pollen remains.
Heat can destroy the beneficial enzymes and other substances that are found in raw honey. But this can also carry some risks.
Take a look at how moderate use of raw pollinated honey can help you achieve Superhuman performance and recovery.
Raw Pollinated Honey Benefits:
Typically the two main sugar compounds found in raw honey are glucose and fructose. Next to that are some small amounts of maltose and sucrose. While too much sugar is certainly not healthy, your body does still need it for energy.
This is why endurance athletes have been known to take it as an ergogenic aid. The often arduous physical exertion of endurance sports requires a lot of energy and that means the body will demand much carbohydrate fuel. The abundant glucose and fructose in honey can sustain an athlete’s blood sugar and glycogen stores at optimal levels. Glycogen is the form in which sugar is stored in your muscles and it is the fuel that’s primarily burned during physical exercise.
Besides the enhanced performance made possible by the sugar compounds, there are trace amounts of vitamins and minerals that raw honey provides. There is the main antioxidant Vitamin C and other B Vitamins such as niacin and pantothenic acid. There are also minerals such as calcium and potassium.
Raw honey has been traditionally used as a topical treatment to heal wounds. Recent research has revealed some of how this works.
First the sugar compounds in it can easily absorb water and this keeps the open wounds free of moisture. As you may know microorganisms thrive well in wet environments. Next raw honey contains a compound called glucose oxidase. When this combines with water the result is a mild antiseptic known as hydrogen peroxide. Finally there is a substance in honey called pinocembrin which has been found to be antibacterial.
Raw Pollinated Honey Risks:
As an alternative to regular sugar, raw pollinated honey is not as completely safe as the sweeteners previously discussed like stevia or xylitol. Its glycemic index can range from 31 to 78 depending on the type of honey. It can increase blood sugar levels and while athletes may generally take advantage of this energy boost, diabetics will have to be more cautious.
Raw honey may also be dangerous for children under 1 year of age because they’re more susceptible to botulism. The spores of the botulinum bacteria are commonly present in unprocessed honey. Older children and adults will have the developed digestive system to deal with the bacteria but infants won’t be able to cope.
There are also cases when the raw honey is inherently toxic. There are certain flowering plants like oleanders and rhododendrons that contain substances toxic to humans but don’t affect bees. The resulting raw honey then becomes unsafe. In the case of New Zealand for example there is a particular plant called tutu which when harvested by bees for nectar results in honey laced with a poison called tutin.
Raw Pollinated Honey Practical Uses:
One of the primary concerns with raw pollinated honey is making sure you get a product that’s authentic but also safe for consumption. Package labels and looking at the honey itself can help. But if you want to be a little more thorough (short of actually taking up beekeeping yourself), you might want to try a local organic honey producer.
Once you have your batch of clean raw honey, it’s important to keep the glass or ceramic jar in a dry and cool location, away from appliances that give off a lot of heat. Don’t transfer it into any metallic containers as this will react with the honey’s acidity. The honey could keep indefinitely with proper storage.
You can use raw pollinated honey just as you would any sweetener, substituting it for the sugar ingredient in any recipe. Some people directly take a teaspoon a day for therapeutic purposes such as a cough remedy. Others mix it in their hot or cold beverages. Remember that the strength of the honey is also based on the plant it’s derived. It’s said that Manuka honey (honey from the flowers of the Manuka plant) is particularly effective as an antibacterial.
If you’re going to the gym or out for a long run, you can put raw honey instead of regular sugar in your home-made power drink.
For topical application to a wound, you can either pour the raw honey directly on the affected area and let it dry or soak the gauze with honey and cover everything up with dry bandages. Some have also used it to treat skin conditions like acne or eczema.
In the next post, I’ll tell you about the pros and cons of organic maple syrup and how it should be used in moderation in your quest to Become Superhuman.
In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the herbs, spices and sweeteners on Superhuman Food Pyramid:
If you have questions, comments or feedback about the pros and cons of raw pollinated honey, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on the pros and cons of pollinated honey.