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How Honey Helps the Brain

March 13, 2018

How Honey Helps the Brain

By Dr. Keerthy Sunder

Honey and the Brain

Honey is now considered by medical doctors and nutritionists to be one of the most important sources of brain fuel. In fact, honey is not only very important for proper brain function; it can be a critical asset to various processes of brain function and development. For example, honey is known to prevent the metabolic stress and has an influence over the brain regions responsible for sleep and rest.

The bottom line is this: When you achieve a proper balance of hormones in the brain, your cognitive and memory functions become stronger.

This article will provide further information about the direct link between eating honey and our ability to think and remember better. Below, we'll present what studies say about the neurological effects of honey. Then, we invite your feedback. Please ask questions! We'll do our best to respond to all questions personally and promptly.

Honey for Brain Development

One of the most important facts about honey is that it plays a significant role in the formation and the development of the entire central nervous system. Young infants over the age of one and preschool age children who regularly take honey can experience the following benefits:

  • anxiety reduction
  • enhancement of intellectual performance later in life 
  • memory improvement 
  • physical growth

Pediatricians advise parents to be cautious when giving honey to children younger than one year old because it may contain spores that can cause infant botulism. Still, the brain is ripe for healthy conditioning during this time. Postnatal development of the brain is characterized by maturation and reorganization of the hippocampus and cerebral cortex. According to the latest scientific evidence, enormous postnatal development occurs through neurogenesis during childhood. Then, the development of the brain continues in adolescence and adulthood.

Evidence of the positive effects of honey have been reported via several recent experiments, one of which was conducted on postmenopausal women. The results from the experimental study showed that those women who received honey regularly during some period of time had improvements in their memory.

In another study, performed on rats, two-month-old rats were fed with honey, and their brain function was closely followed over the period of 1 year. Honey-fed rats showed significantly less anxiety and better memory throughout all stages compared with those who did not receive honey. More importantly, the spatial memory of honey-fed rats was significantly greater during later months.

Honey vs. Sugar as Brain Food

Honey consists of water and two simple sugars: fructose and glucose. A tablespoon of honey contains about 64 calories, while a tablespoon of white sugar contains 45 calories. However, honey contains a vast amount of micro-nutrients. Most raw honeys contain:

1. Acids that your body needs including acetic, butyric, citric, formic, gluconic, lactic, malic, pyroglutamic, and succinic acid.
2. Amino acids and the building blocks of proteins such as proline, phenylalanine, tyrosine, lysine, arginine, glutamic acid, histidine, and valin.
3. Antioxidants like polyphenols.
4. Enzymes called diastase, invertase, and glucose oxidase.
5. Minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, and zinc.
6. Phytonutrients like pinocembrin, pinostrobin, and chrysin.
7. Vitamins such as vitamin A, bitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin K.

As you can see, honey is far superior in terms of health and nutrition than sugar alone. In fact, honey can be used in drinks, shakes, meals, snacks... or on its own. It is always more recommended than sugar due to its unique properties and healing powers. When it comes to making the decision whether to add honey to your daily meals and drinks... keep in mind that you are making the right choice.

Honey is prefered by bakers because it absorbs and retains moisture, helping to keep cakes and breads moist.Try out these honey milk balls in this USDA recipe and you'll see how well honey goes in cookies.Still, dentists advise people to brush their teeth after consuming either honey or sugar to prevent dental plaque and tooth decay.

Honey Love: The Best Honey for the Brain

Looking for unprocessed, unheated honey with all its enzymes preserved?

Well you've found it! Meet Honey Love, 100% pure honey rich with:

  • amino acids 
  • antioxidants
  • minerals 
  • vitamins

honey love

Thick, rich, raw, and delicious, this blend of raw wild thistle honey, wild Canadian pure honey, organic turmeric, true cinnamon and ginger power will detoxify your body and sharpen your mind.

Just add a teaspoon of honey love in your tea, coffee, cereal, toast, yogurt, or milk and make every meal sweet delicious and healthy.

Honey Brain Benefits

Still want more reasons how/why honey is good for the brain? Here are several reasons:

1. Honey is rich with carbohydrates.

Our brain requires more than one-fifth of the energy produced by the body. Did you know that a quarter of the oxygen we breathe uses about a quarter of our blood sugar levels? Surprising isn't it? So if you are intensively engaged in mental work, it's important that your blood sugar does not fluctuate much. This can be achieved by eating honey every day for breakfast and eating four to five times a day in small portions of foods rich in carbohydrates.

2. Honey increases serotonin levels.

Neurotransmitters in our brain are responsible for processing information. Serotonin levels greatly affect our mood, sensitivity to pain, and ability to learn. In fact, serotonin is formed from "tryptophan" found in honey. Tryptophan, vitamin C, and unsaturated fatty acids - ingredients that are all found in honey - increase the levels of serotonin in the brain.

3. Honey contains iron.

Iron levels in the blood determine the activity of the left brain hemisphere and a person's mental abilities. Iron deficiency can lead to deterioration of cognitive abilities. The regular use of honey increases the levels of iron in the system which are necessary for the synthesis of proteins, and therefore necessary for the intellectual development and cognitive functions in the brain.

4. Honey contains choline.

The use of honey helps fill the lack of choline in our bodies. This protein regulates cholesterol and prevents fat deposits from collecting in the walls of the blood vessels. Further, our systems requires choline for the synthesis of acetylcholine - a neurotransmitter that acts on the brain area where short-term memory is localized. The ability to absorb choline slows down mental aging, which prevents the decrease of well-functioning nerve cells. Choline also prevents the development of sleep disorders, forgetfulness, and concentration difficulties.

Honey and Brain Questions

Now that we've discussed what honey does for the brain, questions may be popping into your mind. We welcome your questions and inquiries in the comments section below. We do our best to address all of our reader's legitimate concerns and offer support along the journey towards an optimal, focused mind.
We look forward to hearing from you!

Reference Sources: NCBI: Neurological effects of honey: current and future prospects
NCBI: Studies on the physicochemical characteristics of heated honey, honey mixed with ghee and their food consumption pattern by rats
NCBI: Medicinal and cosmetic uses of Bee's Honey - A review

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