Manuka honey is marketed as the health honey but is it really? What does this magical honey have that others do not and is it as good for our health as manufacturers would have us believe?
Even though its main constituent is sugar there is no question that honey is good for you. Honey is not only a natural sweetener but also has vitamin B6, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, folate, vitamin c, riboflavin, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc. However, Honey can sometimes carry a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum, which can be dangerous for infants as they have underdeveloped intestinal tracts. Therefore, it is not recommended that you feed honey to a child under one year old.
Honey also has antioxidants, which can help counteract harmful free radicals. Free radicals are unpaired electrons inside our cell’s molecules. The unpaired electron searches for another electron to become stable. It then steals an electron from another stable molecule. Thus producing another unstable electron. This causes a chain of events, which may end up destroying the entire cell. It is thought that Antioxidants neutralise free radicals by donating an electron and therefore halting the destructive process.
In addition to these health benefits, honey is also said to have antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Honey has been used to treat wounds for infection for thousands of years. Recent research suggests that honey may be beneficial in treating some bacterial infections, which have become resistant to certain drugs. It has been suggested that it may be beneficial in treating MRSA.
The antibacterial properties of honey come from the Hydrogen Peroxide produced by the activity of the enzyme Glucose Oxidase. This enzyme, in standard honey, is reduced when light or heat is introduced. The more light or heat the honey is exposed to, the quicker the enzyme will be deactivated. This is where Manuka honey excels. The difference between standard honey and Manuka honey is said to be that Manuka honey’s antibacterial properties are produced from non-peroxide activity. This means that its antibacterial properties are not affected by light and heat and will not be deactivated.
It is easy to identify these Manuka honeys as it has a UMF rating. This means ‘Unique Manuka Factors’. This represents the antibacterial properties of the honey. The higher the UMF rating on the honey, the higher the antibacterial properties will be. These properties will have been independently tested in a laboratory.
Honey is a delicious energy provider with the added bonus of nutrients and antioxidants. If you are looking for something delicious to put on your toast in the morning, standard honey is fine. However, if you are looking for a honey that is not only delicious but retains its antiseptic and antibacterial properties, Manuka honey may be worth the extra cost.
For more information please visit www.naturalmatter.co.uk