The health benefits of manuka honey have long been flouted. But a new study claims that Irish heather honey could actually be even better for you.
While it is well known that manuka honey from New Zealand can give overall health a boost, thanks to it’s antioxidant, antibacterial, antidiabetic and anti-inflammatory properties, new research suggests Irish honey could be equally as beneficial.
The study, by researchers at Dublin City University and Trinity College Dublin, found that Irish honey contains just as many powerful antioxidants (phenolic compounds) as manuka honey.
Scientists tested 131 honey samples from beekeepers across Ireland and found that Irish heather honey had the highest total phenolic content of all the honeys tested, which was even higher than manuka honey.
Antioxidants are so good for us because they help prevent damage occurring in the body’s cells. They also help our body to fight infection and promote healing.
What’s more, the Irish honey is a heck of a lot cheaper than its manuka cousin, which could set you back a whopping £40 per jar, yikes.
So while we’re all having a honey love-in, both Irish and Manukan, here’s a few more benefits of the sticky stuff that might just surprise you…
It sorts out your skin
There’s a reason many of your beauty products contain honey as an ingredient. Not only does it help to smoothe skin but also keeps breakouts at bay, thanks to its antimicrobial properties.
Honey is also a natural humectant, meaning it hydrates the skin by drawing in moisture from the air.
It helps prevent hayfever
“The bee pollen in honey can desensitise your body to other pollens, which can help with the likes of hayfever,” explains nutritionist Cassandra Burns.
It can help stop you coughing and sneezing
You know how your mum always used to tell you to put honey in your hot drink when you were poorly? Well, she may have had a point. Research from the journal Frontiers in Microbiology found that the sugary substance fights off a cold in multiple ways.
And earlier this year health officials recommended that people suffering with coughs should opt for honey and over-the-counter remedies before using antibiotics.
That’s because honey has been found to offer soothing properties that help offer cough relief.
It’s good for the heart
As well as offering a sweet hit on your morning porridge, honey is packed full of polyphenols, which are useful antioxidants that have been linked to increased blood flow and helping to prevent blood clots from forming. All good for boosting heart health.
It heals wounds
Honey has long been considered a natural healer when applied to wounds, cuts and grazes. With its antibacterial properties, not only does the sweet stuff kill bacteria, it wards off infection too.
It gives you an energy hit
About to hit up the gym? Try drizzling some honey onto your pre-HIIT porridge. As a carbohydrate made up of fructose and glucose, honey makes for a natural energy snack that packs a punch.
Unlike its naughtier refined sugar counterpart, the sticky stuff, contains small amounts of proteins and minerals which can help the body metabolise bad cholesterol and fatty acids.
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