What is Manuka Honey? Composition, effect on the body, possible harm. How to spot a fake and choose the best product?
Manuka honey is a type of honey that is obtained from the nectar of the fine-seeded broom-shaped plant. Today, the main production of this product is concentrated in New Zealand, and it is also made in significant quantities in Australia. Manuka honey has many beneficial properties that are relevant both when taken internally and when used externally. However, it must be remembered that along with the benefits, the product has contraindications, and it is important to take them into account. In addition, before purchasing it, you need to familiarize yourself with the selection rules so that you do not buy a Chinese fake instead of high-quality honey from New Zealand.
What is Manuka Honey?
In the photo, honey manuka
The fine-seeded broom-shaped or, as the people call the plant, manuka, from the nectar of which this type of honey is obtained, grows in forests and along river banks. New Zealand has the best conditions for its favorable growth on the North Island.
Manuka honey from New Zealand is already, a priori, a quality mark. In this country, the certification system is strictly controlled by the state. Bee farms do not use chemical bait, and it is strictly forbidden to feed insects with syrups and sucrose - such a measure, of course, can help increase the productivity and yield of bees, but it will affect the quality of honey in the worst way.
In addition to tight control, it is important to note the special environmental conditions of New Zealand. The country is located in the ocean, the nearest neighbor country is 1500 km away from it, and there are no harmful industrial complexes nearby. All this allows you to get truly environmentally friendly honey.
However, it should be said that Australian honey is not much inferior in quality to a product from New Zealand: Australia has also created the strictest certification system, and the environmental conditions are close to ideal.
Thus, manuka honey is one of the most useful types of honey in the world, since it is not only obtained in a completely natural way and people do not interfere with the activities of bees, but also in fact in ecologically clean conditions.
Composition and calorie content of manuka honey
Manuka honey is considered a so-called monofloral product, which means that mainly bees use the nectar of one plant family to obtain it. Indeed, pollen analysis usually shows over 50% manuka pollen. The composition of the remaining 50% varies greatly depending on the area and the presence of other melliferous plants nearby.
However, the final composition is also determined by many other factors - from the flowering phase to the amount of rain that has passed during the season.
Manuka honey contains the following components:
- Sugar - up to 87%
- Moisture - up to 17%
- Minerals - up to 1%
- Water-soluble vitamins and acids - up to 1.3%
- Proteins, enzymes, amino acids, dextrins - up to 1%
Due to the presence of a large amount of sugars, the product has a high calorie content, it is about 350 kcal per 100 g.
If we talk about vitamins, then it should be noted vitamins of group B, carotenes, vitamins C, E, K.
Among the minerals, potassium and iodine predominate, but there are also many other nutrients we need every day, but not in such a significant amount.
In addition to the classic set of vitamins and minerals, manuka honey contains a huge number of other unique components, at the moment scientists have already recorded about 300-400 elements, while it is assumed that not all the secrets of the product's benefits have yet been revealed.
Benefits of Manuka Honey
The rich chemical composition is responsible for the many beneficial properties of manuka honey. Perhaps the most important of these is the ability to exhibit antibiotic effects. This effect is inherent in any honey, but in varying degrees of intensity, therefore, a special indicator MGO UMF was introduced to indicate the therapeutic effect of manuka honey. The first abbreviation reflects the amount of methylglyoxal - a substance that is effective against gram-positive bacteria, the second characterizes the degree of activity of the product.
Depending on many factors, manuka honey has a run-up in MGO UMF from 30/5 to 1000/25. In connection with which indicator is obtained experimentally, the activity of the product is determined:
- 30 + / 5 + - the effectiveness of regular honey, neutral;
- 100 + / 10 + - increased level of impact, characterized as moderate;
- 250 + / 15 + - high activity;
- 400 + / 20 + - very high activity;
- 550 + / 20 + - super effective, therapeutic activity.
It is worth noting that the characteristics 550 + / 20 + are rare, such honey is very expensive, and it is not easy to get it, on the other hand, and its use should be limited, since it has a really powerful effect on the body.
And yet, even with the outstanding performance of MGO UMF, the benefits of manuka honey are simply enormous, the product is capable of:
- Stimulate immunity… Honey has a positive effect on the ability of the body's defenses to resist various infections and inflammations. It is effective not only as a prophylactic agent, but also as a therapeutic one. For respiratory infections, it is recommended to simply dissolve in the mouth.
- Eliminate harmful bacteria… Manuka honey is effective against all types of pathogenic bacteria, as well as fungi and parasites. It has proven activity against the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, a third of the world's population is a carrier of this bacterium and suffers from the consequences of a wide spectrum of its action. Staphylococcus aureus can cause articular, respiratory, skin, bone, endovascular infections, as well as serious diseases such as meningitis, endocarditis, osteomyelitis, etc.
- Improve skin condition… Present on the surface of the skin, the same staphylococcus makes itself felt by the appearance of acne, boils and other dermatological problems. This is why manuka honey is a frequent ingredient in cosmological remedies. You can also use it in homemade home remedies.
- Treat diseases of the digestive system… Honey not only effectively improves the normal functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, but is also able to fight its various diseases - gastritis, heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome and even an ulcer.
- Provide a tonic effect… Manuka honey has a comprehensive tonic effect: eating a little product is a great way to restore energy after heavy physical exertion and mental strain, as well as severe nervous stress. In all three cases, you will feel relief.
- Positively influence the functioning of the nervous system… Honey not only helps to stabilize the psychological state, including coping with the signs of depression, but it can also fight insomnia when consumed regularly.
- Restore the body… Manuka honey is recommended for use after exhaustion of one nature or another, for example, after a serious illness or undergoing surgery.
- Control the activity of free radicals… Since honey has a large amount of antioxidants in its composition, it is able to counteract the increased level of free radicals, thereby preventing cell mutations, which means early aging and the development of tumor processes.
In general, as you can see, the sphere of the beneficial effect of the product on our body is simply enormous. However, it is important to know how to properly take manuka honey in a given situation, especially when it comes to a product with a high MGO UMF.
Contraindications and harm of manuka honey
The product has a powerful effect on the body, and therefore it is not surprising that, along with the beneficial properties of manuka honey, there are contraindications, they are especially relevant in the case of certain health problems. Any person, both sick and healthy, should not eat more than 3 tsp. honey. This dosage should be observed especially strictly if you bought a product with a high degree of activity.
Manuka honey can also be harmful when consumed at a lower dosage if:
- There is an individual intolerance to the product… Honey in general is considered an allergenic product, and therefore if you have a history of allergies to a particular product, it is quite possible that honey will also cause you a negative reaction, so you need to try it with extreme caution. The same caution should be exercised by pregnant and lactating women. It is not recommended to give manuka honey to children under 2 years of age.
- You are more diabetic… As beneficial as honey is, it is important to remember that it is almost 90% sugar, and therefore its use can adversely affect the presence of diabetes.
- You are on a diet or obese… Here, again, the reason is the presence of a large amount of sugars in the composition.
Note! If you have certain diseases, especially those involving medical nutrition, be sure to first consult with your doctor regarding the introduction of manuka honey into your diet.
How to choose Manuka honey?
Manuka honey is often counterfeited, selling under the guise of regular but promising the unique healing properties of New Zealand. However, there are several signs that will help you distinguish and acquire the original, and it is very important to familiarize yourself with them before buying manuka honey:
- Verified supplier… While the product is not very widespread in our country, and therefore, of course, you should not go to the market in search of medicinal honey, you can buy it only from official suppliers with a high credit of trust, you can look for those on the iHerb website. In addition, on this site you can immediately read the reviews of those who bought manuka honey of a particular brand, and evaluate the degree of its healing power by them.
- Main characteristics… It is better, of course, to buy honey not online, but offline, here it becomes possible to evaluate directly the characteristics of the product: manuka has a bright amber hue, strong viscosity, density and strong aroma. It settles into a fine-crystalline creamy structure of dark yellow or brown color. It makes sense to look for manuka honey in small healthy lifestyle stores.
- Package… Real manuka honey is packaged in a special jar with a darkened glass, as it is sensitive to sunlight, they can reduce its activity.
- Marking… The bank must have one of the markings - UMF, MGS, КFactor, Activity. This means that the manufactured works in accordance with quality and licensing standards.
However, establishing the authenticity of the product is not the only problem of purchase, it is also important to know how to choose the best from cans of genuine manuka honey. There are several certification systems, the best of which are the UMF system, which we have already mentioned, and the MGS. On certified honey jars, you will find either MGO and UMF, or MGO and DHA. And in fact, and in another case, the rule is one: the higher the indicators, the better the honey.
You can also find jars with KFactor and Active certificates (Bio Active and Total Activity). And here the rule is the same: the larger the numbers, the better, but these characteristics cannot be considered reliable evidence of the activity of honey. For example, KFactor shows the level of manuka pollen, and we already know that the degree of its healing power, depending on many factors, can be different.
That is, despite the fact that jars labeled KFactor and Active are true manuka honey, it is better to buy products with a clearer system of activity indications - UMF and MGS.On the aforementioned iHerb website, several companies already meet these requirements - Manuka Health, Manuka Doctor, ManukaGuard.
Interesting facts about manuka honey
Translated from New Zealand "manuka" means "joy", "enthusiasm". Another confirmation that the honey obtained from the pollen of this plant has a tonic effect.
The medicinal properties of honey are appreciated not only among the people. So, New Zealand professor of microbiology Peter Molan conducted several experiments and noticed that under the influence of the product, the ulcer overgrows very quickly, in a week it heals, heals, and the digestive system can work again without interruption.
Manuka honey, like any other, loses its properties when heated, and therefore it cannot be heated, but also put into hot drinks and even simply washed down with them. If you need to make an external lotion from the product, to soften it you just need to knead it a little in your hands.
Manuka honey is actively used in cosmetology, and not only in various creams, masks, but also in soaps, toothpastes with an antibacterial effect.
The volume of world production of manuka honey is currently already 120 tons, and the increased demand for the product suggests that this figure will grow. The main thing is that quality does not suffer from this.
What is manuka honey - look at the video: