Manuka honey has been around for centuries, but it's only in recent years that this elixir from New Zealand has become quite popular in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Just like celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow do, you can get the best out of its benefits by consuming one or two teaspoons of manuka honey each day for good health.
But what exactly is manuka honey? How should you eat it? Let's take a look.
What is manuka honey?
This very special honey is the product of bees that feed on the Manuka tree native to Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia. It is in the same family of trees where tea tree oil, another powerful ingredient to have in your arsenal, comes from.
The main difference between regular honey and Manuka honey is that while regular honey contains hydrogen peroxide, an antibacterial agent, Manuka honey has even stronger properties. Researchers have discovered that manuka honey retains all of its antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial properties, which makes it a powerhouse for treating everything from acne to ulcers, cuts and wounds. Manuka honey contains several special compounds: methylglyoxal (MGO), dihydroxyacetone (DHA), and leptosperin. MGO is formed from DHA, and is antibacterial without producing antibiotic-resistant bacteria long term.
Manuka honey has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, and can encourage the growth of repair cells on small wounds and burns. Additionally, Manuka honey may help to treat certain skin conditions. It can also help a sore throat and have digestive health properties, though the research in these areas is not conclusive.
How to eat manuka honey
You should know that manuka honey is pricier than the regular honey so you'll want to make sure you are getting the most for your money.
The best way to eat manuka honey is raw, since you'll reap all the benefits. Never mix it with boiling liquids, as the heat will sterilise the honey, taking away its antimicrobial properties.
Here are a few ways to eat manuka honey:
stir into your favourite tea
use it to naturally sweeten smoothies
combine with oil and vinegar for a zesty salad dressing
mix with warm milk before bedtime
Manuka honey: getting the best quality
Read the labels carefully to make sure you are purchasing the highest quality manuka honey. The label should specify it is a product of New Zealand. You'll notice a UMF rating (which stands for Unique Manuka Factor and relates to its antibacterial potency). A UMF16 and higher is considered the best quality, according to Dr Axe.
Benefits of manuka honey
Dr. Josh Axe gives you the lowdown on the benefits of manuka honey and explains what makes it so effective:
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