How often do you run across a food that will satisfy your sweet tooth with mouth-watering deliciousness while being good for your health at the same time? It’s probably not easy to come up with many options, but Mānuka honey is something that should be on the top of every list, which is why we’re so passionate about it.
This sweet nectar is derived from bees that feed on the Mānuka tea tree, which grows exclusively in New Zealand. Whereas other commercial honeys have been blended and homogenized, Mānuka honey is raw, in its natural state, allowing it to retain its unique ability to strengthen the immune system.
How the Immune System Works, in Brief
You probably know that the immune system plays an important part in our body’s health, defending against germs and other invaders, but unless you have some type of medical degree, odds are you don’t know much more than that. Through a series of steps referred to as the immune response, it attacks substances and organisms that invade our body’s systems, causing disease, helping to protect the body from potentially harmful invaders.
Antibodies are part of a family of large molecules called immunoglobulins. Each one contains around a dozen parts, designed for specific invaders, floating throughout the body. When they find one, they lock onto the antigen of the invader, similar to how a door key fits inside of a lock. They are then able to neutralise that enemy, tagging it for attack. The antibodies hold onto them until macrophages eradicate them with the help of complement proteins.
The cells that make up your immune system need energy – and when they don’t get what they need, they’ll be running on what you might call ‘low-battery mode.’ That’s when your natural defences are weakened, and even normally innocuous bugs can lead to health problems. You might feel tired and achy, have swollen glands and other symptoms that are signs it’s struggling to fight something off. If you have a fever, that’s actually a good thing - scientists have shown in multiple studies that an elevated body temperature helps certain types of immune cells work better.
Mānuka Honey and the Immune System
Mānuka honey contains natural compounds that are known to help your body’s immune system successfully battle an infection. The reason why Mānuka honey is so special is that it has a high concentration of dietary methylglyoxal, a natural antibacterial compound. As such, Mānuka honey is effective in aiding both your immune system and also for healing any wounds or general skin care. Susan M. Meschwitz, Ph.D, the lead author of a 2014 study from Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, presented research that reaffirmed what generations have known: it acts as one of the planet’s best natural antibiotics. At the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society she explained, "The unique property of honey lies in its ability to fight infection on multiple levels, making it more difficult for bacteria to develop resistance.”
Other research published in 2007 in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, revealed that scientists were able to isolate a substance in Mānuka honey that stimulates the production of cytokines. These are chemical messages that the immune cells secrete to organize an immune response. This also helps explains why it can be so helpful for healing wounds.
The Bottom Line
The immune system is incredibly complicated and vital for our survival – it’s not something that should be ignored by those that hope to achieve optimal health and wellness. There is significant research that shows Mānuka honey can be one of the best tools in our arsenal of weapons for boosting the immune system, enhancing vitality while providing the high quality of life we desire.