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Ask Tufts Experts October 2019 Issue

Q. What are the health benefits of Manuka honey?

Image shutter_m | Getty Images

A. Colleen Driscoll, a dietetic intern at the Frances Stern Nutrition Center, answers: “Honey is being actively studied as an antioxidant, as well as for other potential health benefits, although the jury is still out. Native to New Zealand, Manuka honey is advertised as having unique antibacterial properties. It is commonly used as an alternative medicine with the intention to soothe sore throats, promote wound healing, and improve digestive health. Studies looking for medicinal advantages of Manuka honey in humans have shown mixed results.

“While honey is considered a ‘natural’ source of sugar and contains small amounts of other compounds such as vitamins, minerals, and bioactive compounds, it contains about 17 grams of sugar per tablespoon. Added sugars are associated with negative health effects. Therefore, even honey should be enjoyed in moderation. Honey can carry spores that cause infant botulism. Never feed honey to an infant."

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