The Benefits of Manuka Honey for Gut Health

Today's read is all about the many benefits of the Holy Grail of Honey's - Manuka Honey. As the title indicates, Manuka Honey has incredible gut health benefits and we are excited to share them with you. 

1. Powerful Prebiotic Source

In a previous article, we mentioned the importance and differences between pre vs. probiotics for maintaining an overall healthy and balanced gut microbiome. If you are interested in diving further into learning about pre vs. probiotics click here. If not, here is a quick summary:

  • Prebiotics:¬†non-digestible fibers that bypass the small intestine, down to the colon where they are fermented by Probiotics or the ‚Äúgood‚ÄĚ bacteria that colonizes the gut.¬†Prebiotics can either be consumed from certain foods or through supplemental use.
  • Probiotics:¬†live bacteria and yeast present in the gut microbiome that help the intestines break down food. Probiotics are labeled as the ‚Äúgood‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúhealthy‚ÄĚ bacteria because they help to fight off pathogens and keep the gut function optimally.¬†

As it turns out, Manuka Honey is an excellent prebiotic! It contains oligosaccharides (a type of prebiotic, which is not digested by the body but used as fuel and metabolized by the beneficial bacteria in the gut). 

Adding oligosaccharides to your diet is a great way to improve gut health. The fermentation of oligosaccharides by the gut microbiota leads to the production of short-chain fatty acids, which can help improve the strength of the intestinal barrier to reduce inflammation and protect against leaky gut. 

Still, Manuka Honey seems to primarily increase the growth of¬†only certain strands of bacteria ‚Äď Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, to be specific. So you may want to complement it with other fiber and plant food sources that are known to be good prebiotics, like bananas, onions, garlic, acacia gum, artichokes and whole grains. You can also check out on of our most read articles:¬†Top 26 High-Fiber Foods You Should Eat Everyday¬†to find out which foods to add to your upcoming¬†grocery list.¬†

 

2. Protects Against Harmful Bacteria  

One of the most notable and interesting aspects about the superfood is that it promotes the growth of good probiotic bacteria, while simultaneously eradicating harmful bacteria and viruses that invade our digestive system. 

Recent studies indicate that Manuka Honey is effective at killing over 50 species of harmful bacteria. Many of these specifically attack our digestive system:

  • Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)
  • Clostridium difficile (C. diff)
  • Escherichia coli (E. coli)
  • Salmonella enteritidis
  • Salmonella typhimurium
  • Staphylococcus aureus (staph)

These bacteria can cause conditions like stomach ulcers, colitis and even contribute to improper digestion. However, introducing honey as a natural remedy to your diet can help manage or prevent these bacteria from growing.

One of the best ways Manuka honey shows off its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effectiveness is in the treatment of stomach ulcers.

A stomach ulcer is a sore on the internal lining of the stomach. These ulcers appear when damage occurs to the lining, usually caused by hydrochloric acid present in stomach acid. Ulcers can also be caused by a bacteria called H. Pylori. Research shows that Manuka honey is effective at eradicating H. Pylori, and helps to reduce the inflammation caused by these stomach ulcers.

Similarly, in 2016, researchers were able to discover that Manuka honey helped protect the gastric tissue from developing ulcers and promoted healing of lesions when they occurred. 

    3. Helps Soothe Symptoms of IBS and IBD

    Another example of Manuka Honey’s incredible anti-inflammatory ability is in its treatment of symptoms caused by Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). 

    As the name suggests, IBS and IBD are both triggered when inflammation occurs throughout the bowels and intestines. This is a common issue, as nearly 1 in 7 adults deal with the painful symptoms of IBS.

    IBS can cause symptoms like abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, GERD symptoms, and pretty much anything you can think of relating to a bad stomach ache. 

    Thankfully, Manuka Honey's awesome anti-inflammatory properties make it a fantastic natural option for treating these symptoms. 

    Research conducted in 2008 concluded that there was a significant reduction in colonic inflammation when treated with Manuka honey, especially when consumed at higher levels.

    People who deal with these issues usually have to make changes to their diet to minimize their symptoms. Including a healthy amount of high activity Manuka honey can really make a difference in managing the symptoms of IBS and IBD.

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    About the author

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    Chiara Ghanem