This article is purely for informational purposes and not intended to treat or diagnose any conditions.
There is a lot of debate as to whether honey is nutritionally better than sugar. Some argue that the benefits are minimal while other people strongly believe that honey is a powerhouse of minerals and nutritional benefits that sugar does not even come close to providing.
Well there is some truth to both arguments. If we are talking about your common everyday table honey then you are probably not getting much of a nutritional benefit compared to sugar but did you know not all honey is created equal?
Some of you may have heard about Manuka honey. It originates from New Zealand (and is also found in parts of Tasmania, Australia). The Manuka tree is a small tree with aromatic leaves. The honey is produced when bees pollinate the small pretty flowers of the bush.
What makes good quality Manuka honey special is it's UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) which measures the purity and the quality of honey. Manuka honey with a UMF of 16+ or higher in Australia is considered high quality. So the higher the quantity of UMF the higher the price.
The reason that good quality Manuka honey is so special is that it has unique anti-bacterial and anti-viral qualities. It is also able to withstand exposure to light and heat and still retain its health giving qualities which is very rare for natural products.
A study by the University of Sydney found that Manuka honey killed nearly every type of bacteria it was exposed to and since 2004, Britain's National Health Service has licensed the use of medical grade Manuka honey as a wound dressing - so you can see that Manuka honey clearly has some amazing healing properties.
The reason for its powerful benefits is that Manuka honey creates an environment where bacteria cannot grow and survive. These anti-bacterial qualities promote wound healing and the active enzymes when applied topically cause dead skin cells to lift off wounds and allow a clean area for healthy new growth. Manuka is also used to treat burns and reduce the need for skin grafts and skin regenerates faster and with less scarring too.
Manuka honey has also been found to be effective against a range of bacteria including helicobacter pylori (which causes most stomach ulcers); escherichia coli (the most common cause of infected wounds) and streptococcus pyogenes (which causes sore throats).
It is also an antioxidant that can help to increase vitality and immunity.
A teaspoon of Manuka honey on a small piece of bread can ease indigestion and gastritis and when had in some hot water as a tea and sipped, it is very soothing and healing for throat and digestive troubles too. If you have normal blood sugar levels, adding Manuka honey to your daily diet can assist your health and well-being.
You can usually find Manuka honey in health food stores but if you can't find it locally you can also order it online.
aww.com.au (November 2014)