What’s all this talk of manuka honey these days? Is manuka honey different from regular honey? How much better can it be for what it costs?
A lot of people are wondering what is the difference between manuka honey and regular honey, so I am here to clear things up a bit.
Raw Honey vs. Regular Honey
Before we get into the whole manuka honey vs. regular honey debate, we first need to break down regular honey. There are two types of honey: pasteurized/filters and raw.
When honey is pasteurized, it goes through a process similar to what dairy products go through. Basically, honey gets heated up at a high temperature (70 C/158 F or higher) to kill of any yeast that may be in the honey. Then, the honey is cooled off very quickly. The end result of this is that the honey gets fermented and looks “cleaner” than raw honey.
You can look at a jar of honey and tell if it’s raw or filtered, because filtered honey will look translucent and be syrupy. Practically all of the honey you will find in most stores is pasteurized honey.
Honey will be considered raw when it has not gone through the process of being filtered or heated to high temperatures. What you find in the beehive is exactly what you will find in a jar of honey…sometimes even with the comb included!
Raw honey has way more vitamins and natural enzymes than filtered honey has. This is because the high temperatures that filtered honey is put through destroy them. There are lots of different consistencies in raw honey, which is why you may find one that is really difficult to spread on a piece of bread, while another goes on smoothly.
Want to hear more good news about raw honey?
It has 22 amino acids, 31 minerals, and a whole lot of vitamins and enzymes (in trace amounts). There are also around 30 types of bioactive plant compounds known as polyphenols, which act like antioxidants. Theses antioxidants help with reducing inflammation, as well as lowering the risk of heart disease and even some cancers. Raw honey can have over four times the amount of antioxidants as filtered honey. Also, raw honey contains bee pollen, which is incredibly nutritious, thanks to over 250 substances it has. These include various vitamins, amino acids, essential fatty acids (EFAs), micronutrients, and antioxidants.
Manuka Honey vs. Regular Honey
Manuka honey, coming from the manuka bush, is only found in New Zealand and Australia. It has lots of vitamins, nutrients, and medicinal properties to it, some of which go beyond what you will find in raw honey. So, you get all the benefits of raw honey and then some.
This type of honey has some incredibly high concentrations of a natural antibacterial compound known as methylglyoxal, or MGO. In fact, it is used as one of the ways to grade manuka honey. This molecule can withstand quite a bit of heat, so it won’t lose its medicinal properties as easily as regular honey. There is a manuka honey grading system that gives every manuka honey on the market a score called the Unique Manuka Factor, or UMF. This score indicates just how much antibacterial potency a certain type of manuka honey has.
There’s an official organization that keeps track of authentic manuka honey, which yes, is an issue given how exclusive and expensive manuka honey can be. The UMFHA keeps track of authentic manuka products, helping you avoid fake manuka honey. They also are able to check the batch number located on the jar, making sure that it matches the license of the manuka honey distributor. Speaking of manuka honey shenanigans, it’s not that rare for a company selling manuka honey to add MGO after the honey was harvested. This is why paying attention to the UMF score is so important, as well as looking to the UMFHA to see if a manuka honey distributor is selling manuka the way it should be sold. The higher the UMF, the more potent and beneficial the manuka honey. We’ve taken the difficulty out of this by reviewing some of the best manuka honey available to buy online.
Besides the MGO, there are also DHA and leptosperin, which are other compounds that position manuka honey as a superior choice for health and wellness purposes. In fact, raw Manuka may improve our well-being, if used regularly.
The bottom line is this: Both regular raw honey and manuka honey offer health benefits. However, manuka honey has significantly more benefits. This is why it is even used in hospitals for treating wounds.
Check out our manuka honey buying guide for a bunch of authentic and powerful manuka honey products available right now. It’s worth the extra cost if you want to improve your health and well-being. If you are going to be needing honey for cooking or baking, you could probably stick to filtered honey. For everything else, manuka honey is well worth the price.