The Effects of Heating on Manuka Honey: Unveiling the Truth

The Effects of Heating on Manuka Honey: Unveiling the Truth

Manuka honey is renowned for its unique health compounds, but these heat-sensitive nutrients can dissipate rapidly. You can creatively cook to preserve benefits, but should we be heating nature’s medicinal marvel at all?

Key Takeaways

  • Manuka honey has antimicrobial and antioxidant compounds
  • These heat-sensitive nutrients can be lost at high temperatures
  • Lower heating and strategic use lets you cook with and enjoy the full benefits

Comparison of Heating Methods

Cooking Method


Impact on Beneficial Nutrients


No Heat

Retains full nutrients

Warm Beverage


Nutrients mostly preserved



Significant nutrient loss

Candy Making

Up to 400°F

Devastating impact; few nutrients remain

Can I Safely Cook with Manuka Honey?

Yes, you can cook with Manuka honey and still gain some of its health benefits, but you must be strategic in how you heat and incorporate it to prevent nutrient loss from exposing this heat-sensitive nectar to high temperatures.

Executive Summary:

  • Manuka honey contains various unique and beneficial nutrients, including methylglyoxal (MGO) and leptosperin, which is why this type of honey is so popular worldwide.
  • The beneficial nutrients in Manuka honey, however, are heat-sensitive and may dissipate with exposure to excessive heat. 
  • The heat sensitivity of Manuka honey doesn’t mean you can’t cook with itit simply means you must get creative when you incorporate it to ensure you can enjoy the full benefits.

How Heating Impacts Manuka Honey's Medicinal Qualities

Manuka honey is renowned for its unique compounds and remarkable nutritional benefits that set it apart from other types of honey. 

  • Manuka honey contains: 
    • Methylglyoxal (MGO), a potent compound with notable antimicrobial properties, 
    • High levels of antioxidants, 
    • and, various prebiotics support general health and well-being. 

These special nutrients offer impressive support for various body systems, including the digestive and immune systems. 

When using Manuka honey for its nutritional health benefits, understanding the impact of heat is essential.

When heated beyond a specific temperature, honey can lose its beneficial nutrients and enzymes, reducing its beneficial nutrients. 

So, in this article, we explore the medicinal marvels of Manuka honey and the science behind how heat can affect its properties. We will also provide practical recommendations on how to use Manuka honey while preserving its nutritional makeup.

Manuka Honey’s Medicinal Marvels

On top of its MGO content, Manuka honey contains high levels of antioxidants and various prebiotics that support general health and well-being. Let us look at some int

  • Among its antioxidants, you’ll find:
    • Leptosperin, is a powerful antioxidant that isn’t found in any other honey or food. 
  • The prebiotic properties in Manuka honey’s nutrients support healthy gut bacteria, which is crucial for the proper function of the digestive system. 
    • MGO can further maintain this delicate balance of good versus bad bacteria in the gut, offering general support to your immune system. 
  • On top of that, Manuka honey can offer steady and stable energy. 

It has a lower glycemic index than standard processed sugar, so it’s less likely to cause a significant spike in your blood sugar, which could contribute to the post-sugar “crash.”

The Science of Heating

Heat can have various effects on organic substances, depending on the specific substance and the temperature and duration of exposure. In some cases, heat can cause organic substances to break down or decompose, leading to the loss of beneficial properties. 

For example, when honey is cooked at high temperatures, it loses its methylglyoxal (MGO) levels. 

On the other hand, heat can also be used to sterilize or pasteurize organic substances, such as food or medical equipment, by killing harmful bacteria or other microorganisms. Additionally, heat can be used to extract beneficial nutrients from organic substances, such as essential oils from plants. 

All in all, the effects of heat on organic substances can be complex and depend on various factors. It’s essential to be mindful of the temperature and duration of exposure when using heat on organic substances to ensure their properties are not compromised.

In the world of honey, excessive heat isn’t ideal. 

While cooking with honey is doable, heating this liquid gold at high temperatures can sacrifice many of the remarkable benefits it can offer. 

Heating’s Influence on Manuka Honey’s Properties

Heating can have a significant impact on the nutrient levels of Manuka honey. When heated beyond a specific temperature, honey can lose its beneficial nutrients and enzymes, reducing its potency.

Various studies demonstrate the reduction in beneficial contents in all types of honey, including Manuka honey, after heating. It was found amongst various studies that:

  • For example, one study investigated the thermal stability of characteristic chemicals, specifically methylglyoxal (MGO), during high-heat cooking. This study found that MGO levels dropped substantially after heating at temperatures over 248 degrees Fahrenheit, which is lower than most candy-making, baking, and cooking recipes require. 
  • Another study found that processing, including heating, is detrimental to antimicrobial activity in honey. The study evaluated various unprocessed honey samples, sending them through heating and processing before evaluating the antimicrobial content. 
    • The results showcased the importance of minimizing heat processing when possible to preserve the beneficial nutrients of honey. 
  • Beyond the loss of beneficial nutrients and enzymes, the heat can also cause the honey to become darker in color and thicker in consistency, affecting its texture and taste. 
  • Additionally, heating can cause the honey to caramelize and form a crust, making it difficult to dissolve in liquids. 

Thus, it's important to be mindful of the temperature when using Manuka honey to ensure its beneficial nutrients, like MGO, aren’t compromised.

Practical Recommendations

Here are a few practical recommendations that can help you:

  • Honey pasteurizes at about 160 degrees Fahrenheit, losing its beneficial nutrients rapidly at temperatures beyond this point. 
    • Pasteurization destroys various bacterial compounds and sugar-tolerant yeasts in the honey, extending its shelf life. 
  • Unfortunately, this process eliminates the beneficial nutrients of the honey, so if you want to use it for its beneficial nutrients, it’s best to avoid excessive heat. 
    • Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it in warmed foods or beverages. Instead, be mindful of when you add the honey to your creations. 
    • For example, if you want to stir a spoonful of this delicious nectar into your tea, don’t add it to boiling water. Instead, wait for the tea to cool slightly before stirring in your sweet treat. 
  • Or, if you want to adorn a mouthwatering salmon filet with a honey glaze that perfectly balances sweet and spicy, instead of adding the glaze before cooking, brush the glaze over the filet after cooking. This way, you can still enjoy the honey's delicious flavor profile without sacrificing its benefits.

Enjoy Manuka Honey’s Full Benefits Without Heat

Manuka honey is a potent treat that can support a healthy lifestyle. However, avoiding excessive heat is crucial to enjoy its full range of beneficial nutrients. 

High heat can, unfortunately, deplete these nutrients, meaning it’s essential to be mindful when heating Manuka honey or combining it with heated ingredients in the kitchen.

Maximize the health benefits of Manuka honey by using it in its raw form, avoiding excessive heating, and storing it correctly. 

By following these recommendations, you can ensure you get the full beneficial nutrient profile of your chosen Manuka honey, whether cooking a new culinary creation or simply stirring it into a toasty cup of tea. Yet, the uses of Manuka honey and intriguing information don’t stop here; have fun with this special honey in the kitchen; there are so many ways to add this liquid gold to your daily life! 


What makes Manuka honey unique compared to other types of honey?

Manuka honey contains unique and beneficial nutrients like methylglyoxal (MGO) and leptosperin, which give it notable antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. These compounds, not found in other honeys, contribute to its global popularity and are essential for its health benefits.

How does heating affect the beneficial nutrients in Manuka honey?

Heating Manuka honey, especially beyond 120-140°F, can lead to the loss of its heat-sensitive nutrients like MGO. High temperatures, such as those used in baking and candy making, can cause significant to devastating nutrient loss, impacting its medicinal qualities.

Can I cook with Manuka honey without losing its health benefits?

Yes, you can cook with Manuka honey and still retain some of its benefits, but it requires careful temperature management. Heating it at lower temperatures or adding it to food after cooking can help preserve its beneficial properties.

What are the best ways to use Manuka honey in cooking to preserve its health benefits?

To preserve Manuka honey’s health benefits, avoid high-temperature cooking methods. Instead, use it in warm beverages, drizzle it over cooked dishes, or incorporate it into recipes at a stage where exposure to high heat is minimal.

What are the nutritional benefits of consuming Manuka honey?

Manuka honey is not only a natural sweetener but also provides health benefits due to its high levels of antioxidants, prebiotics, and unique compounds like MGO and leptosperin. These contribute to gut health, immune system support, and can provide stable energy with a lower glycemic index compared to processed sugar.

How should Manuka honey be stored to maintain its beneficial properties?

Manuka honey should be stored in a cool, dark place to maintain its beneficial properties. Avoiding exposure to high heat and direct sunlight helps preserve its unique nutrients and enzymatic activity, ensuring you get the full health benefits.


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