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Natural honey contains antioxidant properties. Therefore, it makes natural honey ideal for medicinal use. The following facts of antioxidants in honey is worth knowing.
Nutritionists advise consuming more antioxidant-rich food to help protect our bodies from cellular damage.
Antioxidant properties of honey are enzymes that protect cells from free radicals by chemically changing them into harmless compounds, like, oxygen and water.
Thus, excess free radical activity can seriously decrease our body antioxidant reserves. We have three common vitamins i.e., vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E which are essential dietary antioxidants.
The amount and type of these antioxidant compounds depend primarily upon the floral source and variety of the honey. As a result, it contains several compounds with antioxidant potential.
Darker honey, for instance, buckwheat and Manuka tend to be higher in antioxidants, compare to lighter honey, for example, sage, clover, and fireweed. However, the antioxidant content of honey cannot be compared with the number of antioxidants found in rich fruits and vegetables.
Yet, honey provides a reliable additional source of nutritional antioxidants that are easy for the body to digest and utilize. Therefore, the antioxidant properties of honey are essential for us.
Buckwheat honey scored the highest among all the honey tested along with Hawaiian Christmas Berry, soy, tupelo, and clover honey.
Fireweed and Acacia honey scored the lowest with less than one-third of the antioxidant activities of buckwheat and half of that of clover.
Researchers noted that the individual levels of other antioxidant properties of honey compounds found in honey are too low to have a significant individual antioxidant importance of their own.
However, the total antioxidant capacity of honey, probably, is the result of the combined activity and interactions of a wide range of compounds.
The antioxidant activity of honey from four different floral sources, firstly, two “light” varieties, for instance, Acacia and coriander.
Secondly, two “dark” varieties, for example, Sidr and palm determine whether honey can inhibit oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
The darker varieties had higher antioxidant capacities when tested on LDL. The researchers found that “all honey samples (the darker and the lighter) and in all concentrations, were highly effective against LDL peroxidation.
There are hundreds of honey varieties available across the world. None of the research has concluded the most “antibacterial” honey availability.
Hence, it’s difficult to say one type of honey may be more effective against specific bacteria than others.
In a study, undertaken at the University of Georgia, the researchers found that the growth of S. sonnei, a foodborne pathogen was significantly more inhibited by Chinaso buckwheat honey than the other test varieties.
By contrast, avocado honey scored higher in inhibiting the growth of S. Typhimurium, which is another foodborne pathogen.
One of the most exciting developments and discoveries in the investigation of Manuka Honey is that it is made from the flowers of New Zealand’s Manuka trees (Leptospermum scoparium). It seems to be especially powerful.
It kills bacteria and doesn’t depend upon hydrogen peroxide activity as well. The antibacterial component found in Leptospermum plants is unique.
For this reason, why there is the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF). The test is to assess the UMF levels, reflecting antibacterial strength as distinct from hydrogen peroxide activity. After that, two discoveries have clarified this mysterious “unique Manuka factor.”
The component of Manuka honey stimulates immune cells via the molecule TLR4. Therefore, the antioxidant properties of honey play a key role in the body’s innate immune system.
Ultimately, In the laboratory test, UMF-rated Manuka Honey declared that it has several outstanding healing properties:
Manuka Honey has more potent antioxidant properties of honey potential. As a result, it works twice as fast as the other honey varieties.
Contrary to the above laboratory test of Manuka honey. Sidr honey which is harvested and least researched in India probably has similar properties to Manuka honey.
The much hype and talk about the properties of Manuka honey is the result of its wide research across the world. Whereas Sidr honey has not been researched to this level. Hence the popularity of Sidr is quite less.
If the laboratory test of Sidr honey is conducted, then this will also be wide and popular across the world.
Moreover, Sidr honey is more affordable than Manuka honey with the same natural properties.
Manuka Honey samples undergo two special tests developed by ‘The Honey Research Unit’, at the University of Waikato before they can classify as UMF-grade honey.
Note: A Total Activity rating shows all the antibacterial activity of the honey without differentiating between enzyme and UMF activity. Any type of honey can have a Total Activity rating too.
After the Total Activity rating is set up, a catalase is added to the honey sample to destroy any enzyme activity. Then, the “UMF activity” of the honey is measured. It can range from a rating of zero to twenty.
A rating of zero to four shows that the UMF factor is not detectable, whereas a rating from five to ten shows that the honey can be used only for maintenance levels.
To prevent the misuse of active Manuka Honey, a group of producers known as the Active Manuka Honey Association registered “UMF” as a trademark. Therefore, only licensed companies that meet specific criteria described by the Honey Research Unit and the AMHA can use both the name and trademark.
Manuka honey, without any question, possesses incomparable natural properties. However, SIDR honey also poses a similar property. Though there are no extensive clinical studies. But it is evident from the feedback of consumers of Sidr honey.
One can consider Sidr honey as an economic alternative to manuka honey.