Can Local Honey Boost Your Immunity?

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Every spring and summer, you’ll likely see suggestions in the news to use local honey to boost immunity and decrease seasonal allergies. But is there any truth to it?

The sweet side of local honey
The short answer: local honey does have a lot of benefits.

“Some research has shown that local honey can be a good source of vitamins and minerals, amino acids and antioxidants,” says Betsy Oriolo, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at the St. Elizabeth Physicians Weight Management Center. “The jury is still out on if local honey helps prevent or ease seasonal allergies.”

Local honey can also be used in a variety of ways, including:

  • Cough suppressant – it can soothe or coat your throat.
  • Topically – it can be used to treat burns and wounds.
  • Sweetener – honey can be used in place of sugar in baking, cooking or even as a syrup replacement. It can also sweeten plain yogurt.

The not-so-sweet side of local honey
Pasteurized honey, commonly found in grocery stores and typically less expensive, does not have the same nutritional benefits as local honey. Local honey is typically “raw,” meaning it is not pasteurized or processed. However, raw honey can potentially contain bee parts, mold spores or bacteria that can lead to food poisoning. Additionally, local honey could cause an allergic reaction with itching, hives or swelling to the skin, in the mouth and/or in the throat.

From a nutritional standpoint, raw local honey isn’t so sweet. It’s similar to table sugar – both have close to 15 grams of carbohydrate and 50-70 calories per tablespoon.

Raw honey does not expire – you can use it until it’s finished. There are no labeling standards for pure or raw honey, so Betsy suggests looking for bottles labeled “raw honey.” She also cautions to never give honey to an infant under 12 months of age due to the risk of botulism.

Where can I find local honey?
If you are on the hunt for local honey in the TriState area, Betsy recommends looking in your local grocery store. Additional places to try include:

  • School House Bees (“Spille Honey”) in Covington
  • Crigger Farm in Gallatin County
  • Findlay Market in Cincinnati

Weight management: St. Elizabeth has you covered
The St. Elizabeth Physicians Weight Management Center has licensed nutritionists, dietitians, and certified diabetes educators on staff to provide you with customized weight loss and weight management options. We’ll help navigate all of your food-related questions, from where to find local honey to how many calories can be found in your favorite snack.

Our accredited program will give you the necessary tools to achieve your long-term weight loss goals – call us at (859) 212-4625 to make an appointment today.