The Sundarbans contain the world's largest coastal mangrove forest, with an area of about 10,000 sq. km., of which about 6,000 sq. km. are located in Bangladesh and about 4,000 sq. km. in India. It is a network of marine streams, mud shores and mangrove forests and was declared by UNESCO as a world heritage on 21 May 1997. (Source: Wikipedia)
Battle of the anti-oxidant properties
Honey is made up of simple sugars, such as glucose (31%) and fructose (38%), and also contains other minor components like proteins, phenolic compounds, free amino acids, carotenoids, organic acids, minerals, enzymes, vitamins, and aroma compounds. With the Sundarbans forest characterised by unique environmental conditions, floral variety and geographic origin, the characteristics of honeys harvested from these forests also possess a unique composition. There have been numerous studies conducted to understand the exact chemical composition and benefits of usage of Sundarbans honey and one such study has
been described below.
Physicochemical and Antioxidant Properties of Honeys from the Sundarbans Mangrove Forest of Bangladesh was a study which evaluated the physicochemical, nutritional, antioxidant, and phenolic properties of ten honey samples from the Sundarbans mangrove forest, Bangladesh. The findings from the study has been summarized below.
The Codex Alimentarius (WHO.Codex standard for honey) set up the standard quality criteria of honeys for authenticity, and that includes physical, nutritional, and chemical properties. The values in the study have been compared to that prescribed standard.
- The pH values of the analysed honeys indicated freshness and the ability to inhibit the growth of microorganisms.
- The honeys showed smaller Electrical Conductivity values suggesting that they were nectar honeys.
- The ash content was lower than the allowed limit of 0.6% for floral honeys, indicating the honeys were clear and free from adulteration
- The moisture content ranged from 13.5 to 19.9%, which was less than the maximum limit of 20% and is an important factor that determines the quality of honey. Low moisture prevents the growth of microorganisms and thus protects quality of honey and increases its shelf – life.
- The total sugar content of the honeys ranged from 66.2 to 72.6%. The mean value of reducing sugar (the total glucose and fructose) was 63.3% and non-reducing sugar (apparent sucrose) was 6.1%. According to the EC Directive (European Union Council Directive), the content of reducing sugars and non-reducing sugars of honey should be ≥60% and ≤5%, respectively. The higher average non-reducing sugar content could be attributed to early harvest of honeys or the effects of unique plant species in the forest.
- The protein content was 0.8% on average and the higher protein content compared to other regions could be attributed to mangrove plants producing a large amount of pollen and nectar.
- The ascorbic acid content of the honeys in the Sundarbans had an average value of 107.3 mg/kg. A higher content of ascorbic acid indicates a higher antioxidant capacity of honey.
- The honeys contained higher amounts of Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, and Sodium and thus can be a good source of these minerals.
Polyphenols, flavonoids, anthocyanins, and vitamins along with various components in honey synergistically contribute to the intrinsic antioxidant capacity. All of these substances operate together to provide a synergistic antioxidant effect which scavenges and eliminates free radicals from our body.
All the honeys from the Sundarbans had smaller IC50 values, which meant stronger DPPH free radical scavenging activities. Strong antioxidant activity of Sundarbans honeys is attributed to the presence of high amounts of polyphenols as well as other functional components in these honeys.
There are many comparative studies conducted on the benefits of Sundarbans honey. All of them reveal that the physicochemical characteristics of the honeys in the Sundarbans are excellent. The polyphenol content and anti-oxidant properties was higher than the honey collected in parts of India, Algeria, Cuba, Spain and even Malaysia. The moisture content was generally much lower than prescribed and ash content show no contamination.
Consume our pure Sundarbans honey made with all its natural goodness daily for a healthier life!