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The buzz around manuka honey

Known for its antibacterial and antiviral components, New Zealand’s most famous honey has long been used as a traditional medicine for healing wounds. But it’s useful (and delicious) to eat, too.

Manuka honey contains amino acids, calcium, iron, potassium, B vitamins, and zinc, making it a micronutrient powerhouse that also helps absorb macronutrients in food. Letting a teaspoon dissolve on your tongue every morning before breakfast is said to help with digestion.

And despite the fact that it’s a sugar, rubbing a little around your gums after a meal can help treat gingivitis. The honey also has prebiotic properties, increasing levels of good bacteria in the digestive tract and helping fight bacteria that cause colitis, ulcers, and acid reflux.

The UMF+ (unique manuka factor) rating indicates how much of its star components, methylglyoxal (MGO) and dihydroxyacetone (DHA), it contains. Manuka honey contains more of these antimicrobial components than other honeys, making it more valuable—and more expensive. The higher the UMF number, the more potent the honey’s effects, with +10 indicating useful levels of MGO and DHA present. Anything above +16 is considered high grade.

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Manuka honey and cashew ricotta crostini

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Amie Watson is a Montreal-based freelance writer, television contributor, and founder of the Fork That app. Her work has appeared in the Montreal Gazette, enRoute magazine, and The Globe and Mail.

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