Do You Know Nutrition: Manuka honey's antifungal, antibacterial properties sweet news

Sept. 20, 2011 at 4:20 a.m.

By Phylis Canion

Can you please share with me what you know about Manuka honey and it benefits. Can it also help with skin conditions?

Manuka honey is a very dark, very rich, intense flavored honey. Manuka honey is a form of monofloral honey produced by bees that feed daily on the manuka plant.

In many regions of the world, the manuka plant is also known as tea tree, especially in New Zealand, the home of tea tree.

Two of the many benefits of tea tree are the antibacterial and antifungal properties that they contain. In addition, manuka honey can be very beneficial in treating wounds to help prevent infection because of it natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory qualities.

Manuka honey can even tackle antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria like MRSA, according to research specialist on manuka, Peter Molan.

The application of manuka honey can be most beneficial with eczema, psoriasis and acne, as well as athlete's foot and ringworm. Because of its antibacterial activity, anuka honey penetrates deeper into the site of the infection.

I have a child that suffers with pica. Are there certain foods that are better than others that I can encourage my child to eat more or less of?

Pica is an eating disorder when an individual craves non-nutrient foods such as dirt, chalk, clay, paper, paint, sand and other non-food items.

According to the National Institute of Health, pica is more common in young children than in adults and approximately 10 to 30 percent of children between the ages of 1-6 have this behavior.

While there is no single test that confirms pica, it does occur in individuals who have lower than normal levels of iron and zinc.

Foods that contain high levels of zinc are oysters, wheat germ, veal liver, sesame seeds (and tahini), low-fat roast beef, pumpkin seeds, dried watermelon seeds, dark chocolate, cocoa powder, lamb and peanuts.

Other foods that contain zinc are Alaskan king crab, lobster and almonds.

Foods that contain high levels of iron are dark, leafy green vegetables (i.e. spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, kale), dark turkey meat, brown rice, oatmeal and fruits (i.e. oranges, guavas, kiwi and cantaloupe).

Those foods to avoid are those that contain additives, preservatives, food colorings and emulsifiers. Be diligent in reading food labels, and learn to avoid foods that have a laundry list of ingredients.

Also, avoid caffeine and artificial substitutes.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant, email her at This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.



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