Diet diary: Manuka honey, one of nature’s unique wonder foods

It has been used successfully in treatment of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant micro-organisms.

Written by Ishi Khosla | Published: April 23, 2016 12:16 am
honey, manuka honey, natural sweetner, honey medical properties, honey benefits, honey food, nutritious honey, health news Honey is a rich source of vitamins and minerals

Honey is more than just a natural sweetener. Historically, it is known to have medicinal properties. In general, most honeys possess anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and prebiotic properties.

Other benefits that have been attributed to honey include anti-tumour, anti-mutagenic and anti-viral properties dependent on the nutritional composition of the honey consumed. It is well known for its wound healing properties and as a gastro-intestinal remedy since ancient times.

Several types of honey are available, each with a distinct taste and properties.

The broad spectrum anti-bacterial activity of honey is attributed to various factors including its high sugar concentration (80 per cent sugar) and hydrogen peroxide.

Certain honeys from specific plants are more effective than others. Manuka honey that comes from New Zealand Manuka bush is one such example. It has been found to be an effective therapy for digestive complaints ranging from acid reflux, gastritis, diarrhea, ulcers and fungal infections. It has been used in upper respiratory infections including chronic sinusitis, rhinitis and allergic symptoms.

All honeys contain hydrogen peroxide which imbues them with antibiotic properties, but manuka honey exhibits antibacterial activity which is not attributed to hydrogen peroxide. It contains an exceptionally high concentration of a non-peroxide anti-bacterial compound methylglyoxal (MGO), which gives it an antibacterial quality.

Manuka honey has a long history for safe use. Allergic responses to honey are relatively uncommon and have been attributed mainly to the presence of components of bee origin in the products.

Most honeys can be used for food preservation and preventing food spoilage due to their antibacterial properties. However, heating may lower this effect. Interestingly, manuka honey retains its antibacterial properties even on heating.

These days, with abundant use of antibiotics resulting in widespread resistance, alternative anti-microbial strategies are urgently needed. Honey, specially manuka honey have attracted considerable attention. Manuka honey has been used successfully in treatment of infections against multi-antibiotic resistant micro-organisms, which may make its use promising in the future.

The unique antibacterial activity of Manuka honey sets it apart as one of nature’s wonder foods. More research is needed to identify the bioactive components responsible for its benefits and their health implications.

Author is a clinical nutritionist and founder of http://www.theweightmonitor.com and Whole Foods India

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  1. R
    Rajiv
    Apr 23, 2016 at 1:54 am
    Its rubbish. Honey is just another form of sugar. There is no no scientific study to support these arguments. Its traditional rather than scientific. Infect some of Australian honeys are so toxic that they can be fatal. Bees collect nectar from various sources including poisonous weeds. Its the food of the bees not for humans. Its a stolen commodity and just a form of bee's vomit.lt;br/gt;Like milk and meat humans should stay away from all animal products for their health and welfare of this planet.
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    1. R
      Rajiv
      Apr 24, 2016 at 10:29 am
      Try turmeric, you ill get better result. And it will hurt nobody (leave the bees alone)
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      1. Rama Krishnan
        Apr 23, 2016 at 9:57 pm
        I am Dr in Sydney. We use honey based dressing for infected wounds with fantastic results
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