Honey is one of Mother Nature's sweetest gifts to us. It's a superfood with tons of vitamins such as C, Riboflavans, Niacin, Zinc, Iron, phosphoros and many others. It contains beneficial digestive enzymes that will help improve your digestive system.

Honey was first used by cavemen thousands of years ago. It was used by the Egyptians for everything from sweetener to embalming. Honey became popular in 18th century Europe when they created moveable hives from wicker and mud.

Today honey is sold and harvested in all parts of the world. It's sold in roadside stands and major grocery stores. The question is, which one is healthier for you. Often times honey that's sold is grocery stores is produced by large commercial operations that process it through pasteurization and genetically bred queens to get the most production and to meet health department regulations. Many commercial producers use substances like Diatomaceous Earth to mix in with the honey to bond with the pollens and remove them. The honey is then filtered even further and heated as part of the pasteurization. Although you get a nice pretty, clean looking product, you are missing many of the health benefits.

It's said that the best honey is raw, unfiltered, and harvested within 50 miles of your home.

Most local beekeepers will filter the honey enough to remove unwanted impurities such as pieces of the bees, chunks of the comb and such things that most people would not want to find in their honey. Honey can still be raw without being unfiltered. Beekeepers often filter their honey only enough to get those impurities out, leaving the pollens and beneficial substances in. For bottling they will warm the honey to 95 degrees, which is the same temperature as the inside of an active beehive. This should not be confused with pasteurizing the honey.

Honey found in large grocery stores is usually pasteurized. It's heated to 160 degrees as part of that process. Heating it and finely straining the honey remove most of the beneficial ingredients found in the honey. You usually still get a nice taste and sweetness but that's about it.

Next time you buy honey, think about these things and buy from a local person. You'll be glad you did.

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