What is manuka honey? It might just be your new favourite food
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, chances are you already know how manuka honey can make you feel. It’s full to the brim with goodness all the way from New Zealand and Australia. Manuka honey is special because it’s produced from the flowers of just one plant—the manuka bush, a native plant a million miles away from what you usually find in supermarket honey.
There are so many ways you can use and enjoy manuka honey, but we’ve picked seven of the best manuka honey benefits.
The manuka bush has been a part of the landscape of Australia and New Zealand for thousands of years. It’s evergreen and tough, but that doesn’t even begin to touch on the rest of the manuka honey benefits. Making honey from only one kind of plant makes it taste different to regular honey, which can be collected from hundreds of different flowers. It’s a little piece of the Southern hemisphere in your cupboard. Although regular honey has a small amount of natural hydrogen peroxide in it, which helps to stabilise it, it can lose its special properties when heated. Manuka honey, however, has an extra helping of methylglyoxal (MG).
Because manuka honey is so highly prized, a mark has been developed so customers know where the sweet stuff is coming from. Manuka honey with the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) can only come from licensed New Zealand producers who makes natural and unmodified manuka honey. The UMF mark also certifies that the honey has had to pass certain tests to check its quality, which is how you can get 5+ and 15+ UMF manuka honey; the higher grade has more natural MG in it.
Sore throat soother
Feeling a bit sniffly? There’s a chance that honey and lemon mixed with hot water can help. The honey will soothe your throat, and the lemon in hot water will help to clear your nose. Hot drinks can relax you when you’re feeling achey and full of the cold, or even if you just want to look after your throat before you have to give a speech or have a sing-song.
Bees don’t just make delicious honey that we can eat. Natural beeswax is a byproduct of their hives, and is used in many beauty products. However, they also help plants pollinate. When bees collect nectar from plants, they can often accidentally carry pollen away with them too. When the pollen is passed onto the next plant in their foraging mission, it is a vital part in helping the plant survive. By eating honey, you’re helping the pollination process.
Nice & natural
Sugar may be sweet, and aspartame sweeter, but honey has them all beat. If you like a treat now and again but have a sweet tooth, try going the natural route. Because manuka honey retains some of its vital natural compounds after being heated, you could find your body likes it better than other forms of sweetener.
Manuka honey can add heavy sweetness with a floral tang that cuts through sharp flavours and transform bland ones. If you’re not a fan of hot water mixed with honey and lemon taken as a drink, other ways to have manuka honey include drizzling honey on toast, mixing it into Greek yoghurt, or turning it into a honey and mustard dressing for salad. Experiment and find your own ways to include it in your diet and see if you can spot the manuka honey benefits.