A Dietitian’s 3 Favorite Benefits of Manuka Honey
One walk through the grocery store, and you will find a slew of food options that are geared toward the health-conscious eater. But while many foods sound like healthy options, not all of them truly offer a nutritional benefit for your overall health and well-being.
As a registered dietitian, I try and incorporate foods that not only taste great, but also provide a functional benefit to my body. From supporting gut health to combating oxidative stress, there are some unique options that can be included in a healthy lifestyle that add a boost of nutrition and taste to boot.
When evaluating food choices, I like to consider whether the item can actually do something positive for my body. Does this item just add flavor, or does it also provide a functional benefit?
One prime example of a grocery staple that helps my body thrive while also enhancing the flavor of dinners, teas, and other food staples is rare and from New Zealand. It is Manuka Honey -- also known as nature’s most powerful honey.
Why Research Suggests Manuka Honey is a Wonderful Addition To A Healthy Diet
Photo Credit: Jackie Stofsick
There are quite a few myths floating around the internet that imply that honey is just “sticky sugar”, and that is simply not true. Yes, honey is a source of natural sugar and it contains a satisfyingly sweet flavor. But enjoying the sweet goodness of honey – specifically Manuka Honey – is linked to some pretty unique health benefits and also contains some natural nutrients that traditional old table sugar and conventional honey can’t hold a candle to.
Comvita Manuka Honey is unique in that it is the only Manuka Honey that is Certified Gluten Free and non-GMO (as well as certified Kosher and Halal). Plus, Manuka Honey is the most researched honey with over 9,000 scientific papers on it. It is a 100% natural, single-ingredient solution that is a truly functional food.
Manuka Honey differs from pasture-type honey varieties (like clover honey) because it contains over 20 times the amount of naturally occurring plant compounds. The abundance of these compounds are what led researchers, hospitals, and wound care clinics to use Manuka Honey for its topical antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Manuka Honey Can Help Keep The Gut Healthy
Many of us know all about probiotics – or live organisms that offer a health benefit to our bodies. Keeping in mind that probiotics are alive (yes, you have live bacteria living inside of you --- strange but true), they need fuel to survive and stay healthy themselves.
Enter prebiotics, or indigestible starches that help “feed” live probiotics and help support a healthy microbiota.
Oligosaccharides are one such prebiotic fiber that helps support the growth of certain bacteria, specifically some Bifidobacterium that can help support a healthy immune system. And since Manuka Honey naturally contains oligosaccharides, including it in your lifestyle helps keep those little buggers in your gut healthy and happy.
And while Manuka Honey has been shown to support the growth of helpful gut bacteria, it has also been shown to combat the growth of potentially harmful bacteria --- particularly c. difficile which can cause a pretty bad case of diarrhea. In fact, some data shows that Manuka Honey intake can inhibit spore production of the harmful bacteria, and thus help combat its growth and prevent an unpleasant bathroom situation.
Manuka Honey Contains Antioxidants To Help Combat Daily Pollution Exposure
Photo Credit: @caseynomnom
Living a lifestyle that encounters pollution exposure and processed foods is difficult to avoid these days. This is why antioxidants are so essential to everyday health. Since factors like stress and pollution exposure can cause oxidative stress in your body (a condition that over time can cause damage to organs), taking in antioxidants can help combat these negative effects.
Enter Manuka Honey, a natural source of antioxidants. Taking care of your body by adding a spoonful of this rich and delicious sweetener has never been easier!
Manuka Honey Can Help Keep Our Pearly Whites Healthy
Dental health is one aspect of our well-being that has likely been a focus ever since the Tooth Fairy has paid you your first visit.
Fun fact about Manuka Honey: while it does contain natural sugars, the natural antibacterial activity was found by researchers to help halt the growth of bacteria that is often found in the mouth.
And in one study comparing people who either chewed/sucked on a honey chew vs. chewing sugar-free gum after meals, those who enjoyed the honey had less plaque than the gum chewers.
Manuka Honey – A Delicious Addition To A Healthy Lifestyle
Photo Credit: @lena.noms
When a dish or beverage needs a little more oomph in the flavor department, adding a drizzle or dollop of Manuka Honey can take any dish from drab to fab.
When selecting your Manuka Honey, be sure to look for a Certified UMF™ rating logo (Unique Manuka Factor), as it is the independent gold standard, and ensures the key natural compounds are present, and authenticates that it is real Manuka Honey. Within UMF™, the higher the rating (commonly from UMF™ 5+ to a UMF™ 20+), the higher the bioactive potency.
Choosing a super premium-quality like Comvita UMF 15+ Manuka Honey can give smoothies, teas, yogurt parfaits, and even steamed veggies a unique flavor along with some important health benefits.
So, when you are choosing foods to support your health journey, including truly functional foods like Comvita Manuka Honey can be a positive practice for your daily wellness ritual for years to come.
About Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, CLEC, CPT:
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian and book author who focuses on women’s health and overall wellness. She holds executive positions with the women’s health dietetic practice group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and her local Go Red For Women- American Heart Association chapter. Besides practicing dietetics, Lauren loves spending time outdoors with her daughter and husband whenever the sun is shining.