One of the most popular superfoods of the moment is Manuka honey. It offers many more health benefits than standard honey and is a firm favourite amongst celebrities. Katherine Jenkins likes to look after her throat by drinking warm pineapple juice with Manuka honey and freshly ground ginger1, Scarlett Johansson has Manuka honey facials to remove impurities from her skin,2 and legendary boxer Mohammed Ali used to have a spoonful before every fight to give his energy levels a boost3.
What is it?
Manuka honey is a type of honey that is made by bees from the nectar of Manuka trees native to New Zealand’s North Island. Manuka trees (also known as tea trees) start out looking like common shrubs but grow into trees which are eight metres high. Beekeepers wanting to capture this ‘liquid gold’ move their hives near Manuka trees in the spring and summer months, shortly before the trees flower.
Originally, Manuka honey was discarded as it had a strong taste. This changed, however, in 1981 when scientists discovered it had anti-microbial properties4.
Manuka honey contains a high amount of MG (methylglyoxal) and DHA (dihydroxyacetone) which helps give it its anti-bacterial properties5.
Medical-grade Manuka honey can be applied to minor burns and wounds, providing a protective barrier and helping to speed up healing6. Some studies have suggested that it’s an anti-inflammatory, can help lower cholesterol and can dampen digestive problems7.
Like any honey, Manuka honey is naturally high in sugar so if you’re diabetic or have to watch your sugar intake, you’ll have to be careful that you don’t consume too much.
Manuka honey isn’t just great for sweetening your tea or helping to ward off a cold when added to some hot lemon juice. There are many other ways you can supercharge your day with this anti-bacterial wonder product including adding a spoonful to your morning porridge, spreading a little on some hot toast or using it to glaze some delicious muffins.
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