CONTENT BROUGHT TO YOU BY: Manuka Health
Honey is one of the world's most popular all-natural foods, and it's easy to see why. With flavors ranging from mild to strong, and textures from creamy to clear, a honey is available for every taste. Some varieties, such as manuka honey, sourced from the picturesque landscape of New Zealand, are even developing a reputation for having health benefits. Many people believe that manuka honey helps soothe, moisturize and nourish troublesome skin, and support digestive health. It has been a go-to health and beauty product for years; celebrities such as Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow and Lizzie Jagger rave about it. For these reasons, you should consider providing this type of honey in your fitness facility and recommending the use of honey as a substitute for white sugar for your members.
What is manuka honey?
Typically a dark brown color, manuka honey is smooth and rich-tasting. Honeybees produce it by feeding on manuka tree flowers, a beautiful plant with white flowers. It grows uncultivated and blossoms for just two to six weeks a year, in some of the most scenic and untouched areas of New Zealand. The manuka tree was originally used by the native Maori for a large number of medicinal complaints. Early leaders in the New Zealand honey industry learned of these uses and quickly identified manuka honey's potential to support a healthful lifestyle in a variety of ways.
Bees are faultless in their work, but despite their best efforts, the quality and potency of the resulting product may vary. Honey may be damaged if workers do not store, process or package it properly. Strict guidelines are in place with regard to what may be labeled as genuine manuka honey. As with any food or health product, it's important to be informed about how to identify the real deal.
Top three reasons to use manuka honey
Energy: Manuka honey has a low glycemic index (GI), which means it is a good natural source of long-lasting energy. Try switching out white sugar for manuka honey in teas and coffees. It's also a great addition to a pre-workout breakfast. Blend into a fruit smoothie with banana and ginger or a ripe mango.
Skin health and healing: Manuka honey is known to be anti-inflammatory. This means that it may help in treating sore throats and irritated skin. Clinical research has supported the idea that the anti-inflammatory properties of manuka honey work on skin burns and inflammation of the stomach and intestine. To soothe skin, add manuka honey to a homemade face mask. Leave on the skin for 10 to 20 minutes, and then gently wash it away with warm water.
Digestive health: It is widely believed that manuka honey may improve digestive health. Scientific studies have shown that manuka honey may help stimulate and grow probiotics in a person's digestive tract. Mix the honey with warm water and enjoy as a healthful drink to kick off the day. Make sure the water isn't boiling—this will damage the nutrients in the honey. As an alternative, eat the honey straight off a spoon.
In addition to buying manuka honey in its pure form, consumers also may purchase it as lozenges or tablets, a convenient way to ingest highly concentrated amounts of honey. Manuka honey also is an ingredient in many skin care and other health-support products, such as gels and pads.
Shopping for authentic manuka honey
Those wanting to purchase the best manuka honey products will find genuine, undamaged, premium manuka honey by following a few simple rules. One way to identify authentic manuka is to look for honey with proven methylglyoxal (MGO) content. MGO is a naturally occurring compound found in high concentrations in manuka honey—up to 100 times greater than ordinary honey, according to the University of Dresden in Germany.
MGO is thought to be responsible for the unique bioactive and antiseptic properties of genuine manuka honey. The higher the level of MGO in a product, the more potent the manuka honey. For example, MGO 100+ manuka honey is guaranteed to contain at least 100 milligrams of methylglyoxal per kilogram of honey. The MGO scale runs from 30 to 1,000, though experts recommend opting for at least MGO 100+ to realize the health benefits associated with manuka honey. MGO 550+ typically is the highest level of methylglyoxal available from producers and indicates an exceptionally strong and powerful manuka honey.
It also is important to determine that the manuka honey in question has originated in New Zealand. The nation has a reputation for producing honey untainted by antibiotics, additives and other chemicals. With some brands, this information may be found on the back of the jar or packet. If consumers choose a honey that is proven to have a high MGO level and is produced from manuka plants grown in New Zealand, they should be confident of getting the genuine manuka honey experience.
Kerry Paul is the founder and CEO of Manuka Health, the New Zealand honey brand. Paul founded the company in 2006 after recognizing the growing demand for health care and nutrition products based on natural bioactives sourced from New Zealand plants and trees. Manuka Health has led the world in developing a range of innovative natural products for a wide range of human health applications. For more information, visit www.manukahealth.co.nz or email [email protected].