‘Manuka honey’ is often to referred to as one of the best foods you can eat in the world of health and fitness. I think for many of us we know that Manuka honey is nutritionally superior to regular honey but do we know the reason why?
Well here’s a little background..
Manuka honey gets its name from the nectar of the Manuka bush, (or Leptospermum Scoparium if we want to be nerdy), which can be found almost exclusively in New Zealand.
From my research, I discovered that all raw honey has a degree of anti-bacterial activity but it is easily destroyed by heat and light. However, Manuka honey has a unique naturally occurring agent that maintains it’s anti-bacterial properties despite exposure to heat and light, making it which distinct from other honey. This property is named the ‘Unique Manuka Factor’, or the UMF, which you can see on the label of all Manuka honey jars alongside a number. If the jar doesn’t carry the UMF trademark it hasn’t been independently tested under the Active Manuka Honey Association’s scheme. The number represents the UMF level, or the degree anti-bacterial activity, so the higher the number the more potent it is. Anything ranging from UMF10-UMF15 is an effective potency and anything UMF16 and up is considered the crème de la crème!
When choosing your Manuka honey , make sure you’re getting the real deal. My best tip is to look around, always check the labels, check the company websites and learn more about who makes the product you’re buying. Steens honey is one of the most recognized, and trusted, producers of Manuka honey in the world. They have even designed a Track & Trace system on their website where customers can type in a unique code from their jar of honey to find out exactly where their honey was produced. Pretty cool, ey?
So now that we know why we should be using this wonderfood, how do we use it?
Possibly my favourite way to use Manuka Honey is to drizzle it on top of fruit and Greek yogurt for a sinless sweet treat after dinner. It also acts as a great natural sweetener for your morning porridge, but don’t forget that, although it’s natural, it’s still a sugar so try to exercise some will power before spooning it straight from the jar!
If you’re feeling bloated and uncomfortable then Manuka honey may help ease that feeling of indigestion. When my tummy is feeling a little upset, (maybe after a glass or two of wine the night before!) there’s nothing I love more than peanut butter and manuka honey on rye bread or crackers. Super simple, but oh.so.satisfying.
Manuka honey has been used for years as a household remedy to help soothe the pain of minor burns and improve wound healing. Although formerly considered an ‘old wives tale’, Manuka honey has now integrated into mainstream medicine and can be found impregnated in many wound care dressings used in current medical practice!
Ever since I can remember my mum used to make us a hot lemon and honey drink whenever we were felt a cold coming on. Not only will it help soothe a sore throat, the anti-bacterial properties may help to fend off nasty bugs and viruses. Simply pour a cup of boiled water, add the juice of 1/2 a lemon and stir in a table spoon of Manuka honey – Serve with a fluffy dressing gown and slippers for extra brownie points!
Gooey, deeply rich and robust in flavors, baking with Manuka honey may be my favourite way to use it! Add a spoonful or two to any cake or bread mixture to instantly upgrade it with a beautiful floral taste and golden colour.