Raw honey has long been prized for its health-promoting and therapeutic effects. In fact, cave paintings dating back to 7000BC depict the earliest recordings of beekeeping. The ancient Greeks used honey for medicinal purposes. For centuries, honey has been used in folk medicine.
Now, modern science is backing some of the claims that honey has therapeutic and medicinal properties.
One thing many people don’t realize is that honey can benefit the brain. Here are some surprising benefits of raw honey for the brain.
Honey is rich in the antioxidant flavonoid pinocembrin, which researchers believe may have neuroprotective effects. This means that honey may help protect your brain and nerve cells from damage.
Along with its protective properties, pinocembrin also has anti-inflammatory effects. Chronic inflammation is believed to play a role in the development of major diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Raw, natural honey can also help fight against oxidative stress, which is caused by an imbalance of antioxidants and free radicals.
The body naturally produces free radicals during metabolic processes, but it also produces antioxidants that neutralize these free radicals. Diet, lifestyle choices, the environment and other conditions can throw off this delicate balance. Excess free radicals can cause inflammation and accelerate the aging process.
Raw honey has polyphenol and antioxidant properties that can help fight against these free radicals. In one review, researchers concluded that honey may be effective at fighting oxidative damage and may help combat cognitive decline. They believe honey can help improve the body’s antioxidant defense system and ultimately help protect the brain and cognitive ability.
Adding raw honey to your diet may also help improve your memory or even combat memory decline in the future.
The polyphenols in honey help protect against memory loss and cell damage. One 2011 study looked at the effects of honey on memory in postmenopausal women. One group took 20g of tualang honey daily, while the other group took hormone pills.
The study found that the women taking honey had better short-term memory than those taking the hormone pills.
Another study found that pinocembrin helped restore spatial memory and learning ability.
Honey’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects may help combat cognitive decline. One clinical review found that, when taken over the long-term, honey can decrease lipid peroxidation in the brain.
Lipid peroxidation occurs when lipids in cell membranes degrade and damage brain cells. The process is caused by oxidative stress, which – as you know – honey also helps combat.
Sleep plays a crucial role in your overall health and well-being, and that includes your brain health. Sleeping helps clear the mind – literally.
Research shows that the space surrounding your brain cells may actually increase during sleep. This cleaning process allows the brain to flush out the toxins that build-up during the day.
Sleep is important, but 62% of adults worldwide don't believe they get enough sleep. Honey may help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep. That’s because it contains tryptophan, a natural sleep aid.
Eating honey causes your insulin levels to rise, and this allows tryptophan to enter your brain. From here, the brain converts it to serotonin and then melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate your sleep/wake cycle and can help improve your quality of sleep.
Honey is a naturally sweet food that’s easy to incorporate into your diet. Just a spoonful a day can help you start realizing many of these brain-boosting benefits.
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