Training & Nutrition

The Benefits of Manuka Honey

It tastes great but can it do more?

Honey in general has been used since ancient times to treat medical conditions. Further research into it during the 19th Century lead to the discovery that it contained anti-bacterial properties and its popularity is still very prominent today in using it to treat certain ailments.

What makes it so special?

Manuka honey is native to the New Zealand manuka bush but what else makes it so special? When certain brands of manuka honey are selling in Waitrose for £35 a piece, you want to be sure that what your getting isn’t just a quack solution with placebo effects.

Honey, with its anti-bacterial qualities stimulates production of special cells that can repair tissue damaged by infection. It can also reduce inflammation and pain. The difference is in how the honey is harvested and what levels of anti-bacterial elements it contains. Some are much stronger than others.

Manuka honey has a much higher concentration of a natural antibacterial compound called methylglyoxal (MGO) in comparison with normal honey and therefore is said to have greater healing properties.

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Healing benefits

Manuka honey has been credited to assist in the healing of a lot of ailments, including these most popular ones:

  • Improved digestion –  Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, manuka can help reduce inflammation and relieve abdominal discomfort and bloating. It also has a natural pre-biotic to encourage the gut’s good bacteria.
  • Warding off illness – Manuka is a popular sore throat remedy and has been reported to improve immunity to colds and other bacterial illnesses.
  • Boosting energy – It’s been claimed that manuka can boost slumped energy levels due to its high nutrient content.
  • Skin conditions – Some people use manuka in their beauty regime as a natural moisturiser and also as a treatment for Acne, Eczema and other skin conditions.

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Something to look out for when you buy

Not all manuka honeys are the same and if you’re looking for a more potent blend with a high anti-bacterial strength, you need to search for the honey’s Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) which will range from 10-25. This is how honey-makers grade the manuka levels. The higher the rating, the stronger the honey and normally the more expensive.

A few ways to take it

  • Straight out of the jar – Some people will just take a clean spoonful of it and eat it like that as part of their daily vitamin routine.
  • In a warm drink – a good winter option is to mix a couple of spoonfuls into a cup of warm water (not boiling as this will strip it of it’s enzymes).
  • In porridge – you could try mixing it into porridge or yoghurt to enhance your breakfast.
  • On toast – it also works as a lovely toast spread as you would use normal honey.

Even if manuka honey doesn’t cure you, it still tastes wonderful!

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