Is Your Honey Healthy?

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The special healing quality of honey has been acknowledged throughout history. From the Charaka Samhita, the original textbook of Ayurveda, to the Ebers Papyrus of ancient Egypt, to the writings of Hippocrates, honey has been recognized as having significant medicinal properties. Raw honey is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal. It contains significant amounts of: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium chlorine, sulfur, and phosphate. Taken in its proper form, honey is one of nature’s most healing substances.

But honey can also have a toxic effect in the physiology. This happens when we eat honey that has been heated far above the normal temperatures of a beehive. Heating past the maximum hive temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit changes honey’s essential composition and degrades its quality. Many of the healthful organic compounds and enzymes in honey are destroyed or inhibited by heat.

The ancient Ayurvedic texts warn that during the heating (including baking or cooking) process, honey becomes hardened and difficult to digest. The toxin created by heated honey causes the shrotas, or fine channels of the physiology, to become clogged, blocking the flow of intelligence in the body. According to Ayurveda, this specific kind of ama is very difficult to remove by simple detox methods, such as sipping hot water, home oil massage or exercising. If you have a history of eating heated honey, you may want to consider Panchakarma treatments (Ayurveda detoxification treatments).

Given this knowledge, it is best to only buy raw honey (honey that is unheated and minimally processed) and to never use honey when cooking meals or baking. Check carefully breads, cereal or other other packaged foods to be sure they do not contain honey. Many health-conscious bakeries and companies now use honey, thinking it is better than sugar. Also, most commercial honey you see in supermarkets is not raw honey. Read your labels carefully to make sure the honey you purchase has not been heated or pasteurized.

If you like to add honey to tea or milk, don’t do so while it is boiling. Wait until your beverage has cooled to a temperature that is comfortable for sipping before adding honey as a sweetener.

A consultation using Ayurveda pulse assessment can help determine if you have problems with ama. For more information visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa:

www.theraj.com

Soothing Summer Foods

Pomegranate_close_upAccording to Ayurveda, as the temperatures rise, the qualities of Pitta dosha (sharp, hot, penetrating) increase in our physiology. One might assume that that our digestive fire (or “agni”) would also become stronger. But in fact, in an attempt to regulate body temperature, our phyiology does its best to dispense heat and lower its own internal heating mechanisms. As a result, our ability to digest food actually diminishes. This is why we often feel less hungry and want to eat less during the summer months. It is important at this time to follow the body’s impulse to eat lighter and smaller meals.

Summer Food Tips

Increase sweet, bitter, and astringent tasting foods that are light in nature.  Eat plenty of bitter salad greens. Lettuce, arugula, radicchio, basil, and endive are particularly Pitta balancing. Include cool drinks and raw foods in the diet, including cucumber, mango and coconut water. Natural fruit juices without added sugar, mint teas, and raw berries are good choices.

Reduce sour, salty, and pungent tastes

Favor:  coconut water, watermelon, cilantro, leafy greens, okra, zucchini, asparagus, olive oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil, ghee, cucumber, soaked/peeled almonds, kale, broccoli, pomegranate, apples, cranberry, mint, dill, fennel, cardamom, coriander, saffron.

Avoid: tomatoes, eggplant, chili peppers, garlic, dry ginger, black pepper, fermented foods, spicy foods, sour fruits, heavy protein, mustard oil, molasses, coffee, alcohol.

Drink up!

Be sure to drink plenty of water to offset the drying and heating nature of Pitta. Add fresh mint or lime to your water. Cooling herbal teas such as peppermint, licorice, fennel or rose, taken at room temperature, can be extremely refreshing.

Avoid iced drinks. While it is important to keep cool in the summer it is more important to keep our digestion strong. Room temperature liquids will be assimilated into your body more quickly and they will not extinguish your digestive fire.

Remember that incompletely digested foods create toxins and impurities that are eventually absorbed, travel throughout the body, localize in the tissues and disrupt their functioning. This process can play a major role in wide variety of chronic conditions, including insomnia, chronic fatigue, arthritis and heart disease.

Try this easy, Pitta-pacifying dessert:

Poached Peaches with Raspberry Coulee

Blanch peaches in boiling water. Remove skins. Blend raspberries and strawberries together with sugar or honey to taste. Spoon the berry mix over the poached peaches. Serve with a garnish of mint leaf.

(Be sure to always use unheated honey. When honey is heated beyond comfortable “sipping” temperature, it creates a sticky toxin that adheres to the body tissues and is difficult to cleanse. Adding honey to hot tea is fine, as long as the tea has cooled enough to sip comfortable. Never use honey for baking.)

 

 http://theraj.com/ayurveda/ayurvedic-diet.php

 

 

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