Honey is much more than just a sweet treat, especially when you choose the right kind. If you do add honey to your routine, be sure to add a Honey With Superpowers™. Manuka honey is rich in antioxidants and other bioactive compounds that can offer some wonderful benefits for your immune system and overall health, giving it the title of a superfood.
This superfood status is all thanks to its unique nutrient profile. By understanding the benefits of Manuka honey, you can find new ways to add it to your routine and start supporting your general wellness and immunity.
In this article, we’ll take a deeper dive into the unique antioxidant content of Manuka honey and highlight just what makes it so remarkable.
What Are Antioxidants and Why Are They Important?
Antioxidants are powerful compounds in the body that neutralize harmful molecules called ‘free radicals’. The build-up of free radicals in the body is responsible for a process called oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress causes the breakdown and premature aging of healthy cells. This damaging process can impact the body and lead to a range of adverse health conditions that can affect your cognitive and physical health. By quenching free radicals, antioxidants help to prevent premature damage and keep your cells healthy.
Free radicals can form in the body because of exposure to chemicals in our everyday environment. As a result, there is no way to prevent free radicals—but you can help to control them. The body naturally produces antioxidants to neutralize free radicals and prevent cell damage, but it doesn’t catch all of them.
You can support this natural process by eating antioxidant-rich foods that introduce more of these helpful molecules to the body. Foods with the most antioxidants are typically natural plant foods. Of course, one excellent example is Manuka honey.
Maintaining a diet rich in antioxidants will allow you to control the number of free radicals in your body and support the healthy function of your body’s natural systems.
What Makes Manuka Honey a Powerful, Antioxidant-Rich Food?
Manuka honey’s antioxidant content starts with its unique source. Manuka honey is a monofloral honey, which means that the nectar that honeybees use for Manuka honey comes solely from the flowers of the Manuka tea tree, Leptospermum scoparium, which is native to New Zealand. Many of the synergistic, or cooperating, antioxidants in Manuka honey are unique to the nectar of these flowers, which is why no other type of honey can claim the same benefits.
Manuka honey contains a wide array of what are called polyphenolic antioxidants, which are plant compounds that help you maintain your health. The antioxidant properties of Manuka honey also go hand-in-hand with other bioactive compounds, like methylglyoxal (MGO). MGO is a special nutrient not present in other honey types that offers natural antibacterial properties and a variety of other health benefits.
It’s this combination of nutrients and antioxidants that make Manuka honey an excellent food for supporting your immune system. Not only is Manuka rich in antioxidants, but it offers a range of additional health benefits too, truly making it a super honey.
What Antioxidants Make up Manuka Honey?
The first sign of Manuka honey’s robust antioxidant profile is its rich, dark color. This color is indicative of plant compounds called phenolic acid and flavonoids. These phenolic compounds exhibit important antioxidant activity that contributes to Manuka’s immune support — usually, the darker the color, the higher the flavonoids and antioxidants.
About 70% of the antioxidants found in Manuka honey are from leptosperin and methyl syringate, which are powerful compounds in Manuka nectar that are not found in any other honey or food. These two polyphenols are both derived from gallic acid, a strong, well-researched antioxidant with significant antibacterial activity. Leptosperin and methyl syringate help to support a healthy immune and inflammatory response.
However, these two antioxidants do not work alone—they are supported by a long list of synergistic flavonoids that contribute to Manuka’s dark color and high antioxidant activity.
Some of these flavonoids include:
Pinocembrin, pinobanksin, and chrysin have the highest concentrations in Manuka, while there are lower levels of the others. However, the levels of these compounds in Manuka can vary depending on its source, which means it is important to choose a honey from its native source in New Zealand made with careful production practices so that you can maximize the bioactive capabilities.
Even better, Manuka honey and its antioxidant compounds are a frequent topic of study. For example, 3,6,7-trimethyllumazine, another bioactive compound found only in Manuka honey, is currently being researched in a clinical trial. We are constantly learning more about the impressive potential behind Manuka honey and its bioactive compounds.
How Does Manuka’s Antioxidant Profile Compare to Regular Honey?
Although other types of honey offer some benefits, Manuka honey is truly unique thanks to its unmatched antioxidant content. Research shows that Manuka contains significantly higher levels of antioxidants that make it superior to regular honey.
In a study comparing multiple types of honey from around the world, Manuka honey featured the highest total phenolic acid content out of any of the others, demonstrating the robust antioxidant potential of the honey. Manuka honey also contained the highest number of flavonoid compounds out of the others, featuring 10 out of all 14 tested flavonoids in the study, making it the far superior choice for supporting your natural immune function.
Not only is Manuka honey high in antioxidants, but it’s the activity of these antioxidants that make them even more impressive. The antioxidants in Manuka have synergistic qualities, which means that they work together to offer many benefits. This cooperation provides antioxidant and antibacterial properties that help support a healthy immune response and regulate free radicals.
The Benefits of Manuka Honey’s Antioxidants for Your Immune System
Manuka honey’s antioxidant content offers a wide range of potential benefits for your immune system, helping to support your natural immune function and maintain general wellness in a few key ways.
1. Empowers Your Natural Immune Response
Between MGO, antioxidants, and the other bioactive compounds it contains, Manuka honey supports your immune system in keeping you healthy. The nutrients help to support a healthy inflammatory response, which is an important part of your body’s immune response. Manuka honey is also well-known for its antibacterial activities, which can support your immune system even further.
Additionally, the antioxidants in this honey can help tackle free radicals that can harm your cells, counteract oxidative stress, and maintain your long-term health.
2. Serves as a Healthy Sweetener
You can take advantage of Manuka’s antioxidant benefits while also minimizing your intake of refined sugar, which also helps to support your immune system. Manuka honey is an excellent alternative to regular sugar for multiple reasons:
- Manuka honey is perceived to be sweeter – Due to the composition of Manuka honey, it delivers more sweetness per gram than refined sugar. As a result, you can use less for similar sweetening effects.
- Honey has fewer calories – Sugar contains about 387 calories per 100 grams, while honey contains about 300 calories per 100 grams, so replacing sugar with honey will allow you to reduce your daily calorie intake.
- Manuka is more nutritious – Between its antioxidant properties, MGO content, and prebiotic activity, Manuka honey helps you add an extra boost of nutrition to your day and enjoy even more sweet benefits than sugar.
At the same time, consistently elevated blood sugar levels can contribute to oxidative stress and lead to a range of adverse health effects. With a lower glycemic index than sugar, Manuka honey supports better maintenance of your overall health by helping you maintain healthy blood sugar.
3. Supports Your Gut Health
Your gut, and the microbiome within it, is an important part of your immune system. The microbiome in your gut plays an integral part in your immune response and helps your body resist pathogens. Manuka honey contains oligosaccharides, which act as prebiotics, helping to balance your gut microbiome and support both healthy immune and digestive function.
Therefore, by supporting your gut microbiome, you can support your immune response at the same time. These oligosaccharides also help to support healthy blood sugar levels, providing an extra level of support against oxidative stress that helps you maintain your overall health.
How To Use Manuka Honey for Immune Support
The best part of Manuka honey’s antioxidant benefits for your immune system is that they are easy to enjoy. Thanks to the indulgent caramel flavor of Manuka honey, you’ll be excited to add this super honey to your routine. There are many ways that you can use Manuka honey to support your natural immune function.
- Straight up - Straight from the spoon, squeezy, or stick pack. Let the honey melt in your mouth and slowly drizzle down the back of your throat.
- Infuse it - Add a spoonful of Manukora to your favorite beverage (think love tea, coffee and matcha!). Mix it up by throwing it over ice on a summer's morning.
- Supercharge your food - Add to your morning smoothie, or drizzle over your oats, salads or pizza!
We recommend taking 1-3 heaped teaspoons a day so you can maintain a consistent routine and take advantage of the full benefits of this Honey With Superpowers™.
Support Your Immune System with Manuka Honey
Adding Manuka honey to your routine is a great way to provide your body with more antioxidants and support your natural immune response. From its phenolic compounds, like leptosperin and methyl syringate, to its MGO content, Manuka honey helps you maintain general wellness, support your gut health, and more.
At Manukora, we produce only the best Manuka honey with a delicious caramel taste and an authentic origin. We work in the remote forests of New Zealand to ensure a product of the highest possible purity that maintains the strength of its bioactive phenolic compounds to ensure the most benefits.
Explore our complete collection of Manuka honey and experience this Honey With Superpowers™ for yourself.