Health

How Raw Honey Helps Memory and Cognitive Function 

a book, some glasses, tea and raw honey

Do you find after eating certain foods, particularly ones with refined sugar, you lose concentration, feel sleepy or suffer from what is called ‘brain fog’? The brain is a muscle that needs feeding like any other as it uses a lot of energy and it needs sugar to function. According to Dr Keerthy Sunder it uses 70% of the body’s glucose. That’s how much energy the brain needs. Unfortunately with the over consumption of refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup affecting people’s metabolism and hormone function there is a rise in the numbers of people suffering from obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. It can also affect the brain, gradually damaging the cells. One research group at the University of Wisconsin found the way our brains react to large amounts of refined sugars is similar to the way they react to virus or bacteria which can lead to a deficiency in cognitive function like those associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

According to Alzeimer’s Research UK, “Globally, the numbers of people living with dementia will increase from 50m in 2018 to 152min 2050, a 204% increase “.

The reasons for Alzheimer’s is not completely known but theories suggest that AD is caused by:

  1. Cells damaged by free radicals
  2. An inability to process glucose properly
  3. Vitamin deficiencies
  4. Environmental pollutants

a book, some glasses and raw honey

3 Ways Raw Honey can help Memory and Cognitive Function

Raw Honey Improves Gut Health

Along with high amounts of anti-oxidants a study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found raw honey contains oligosaccharides (a prebiotic that feeds gut flora) along with small amounts of proteins, enzymes, amino acids, minerals, trace elements, vitamins, aroma compounds and polyphenols. These nutrients act as a main energy source and fuel for the body including the brain.  Studies are showing antbiotics can reduce levels of amyloid-beta proteins that are said to be linked to Alzheimer’s disease (they clump into plaques that lead to nerve cell death) as raw honey is also antibacterial this could be an alternative.

Raw honey’s anti inflammatory qualities are known to aid digestion issues including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Keeping the gut healthy and balanced is really important in overall health and well-being. The gut microbiome is affected by what we eat and is connected to the brain. The gut is often referred to as the “second brain” and therefore food and the efficiency of the gut can affect our mood, cognitive function and memory.

Another factor when considering your daily nutrition is that raw honey helps stabilize blood sugar and can reduce the risk of insulin resistance and diabetes which are linked to Alzheimer Disease and dementia. This suggests raw honey might help reduce the affects of these diseases and so reduce the negative impact on cognitive function and memory.

If you are showing symptoms of any of these conditions or have concerns regarding your memory always consult a medical doctor first.

For more, read the benefits of raw honey on the digestive system and fasting.

Raw Honey Improves Sleep Health

There is a reason the body needs a good night’s sleep; it’s the time for the body to rest, heal and rejuvenate so you can function optimally the next day. It seems a spoonful of raw honey before you go to bed can help you get your eight hours of shut eye. According to Dr. Ron Fessenden, M.D. MPH “Honey is the ‘Gold Standard’ brain fuel. It prevents or eliminates metabolic stress which in turn leads to improved functional capacity for learning and memory. Honey also promotes recovery sleep and fuels the brain during the night. In fact, honey can improve your sleep quality and duration, reduce the risk for all the metabolic conditions associated with sleep deprivation or interrupted sleep, and increase REM sleep.” Note: this only applies to raw honey which still contains the nutritional and health boosting goodness straight from the hive.

Raw honey before bedtime feeds the brain the necessary liver glycogen and prevents what is called chronic brain starvation, chronic sleep loss and chronic metabolic stress. All these can trigger disease like Alzheimers. Studies on Brazilian honeys showed they can stimulate antiacetylcholinesterase activity that has been linked to the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases.

Raw Honey Improves Brain Health

Another benefit of raw honey in boosting your brain function, that may come as a surprise, is that it aids the body’s absorption of calcium. Brain cells need calcium for the electrical signals to work. Researchers recently looked into the significance of calcium for the honey bee and found that it was crucial for long term memory and learning, even in insects. The study observed that when honey bees were deprived of calcium, they weren’t able to remember their food source. Within three days of receiving calcium again, the bees were able to re-learn and remember their food source. Raw honey is also a natural source of magnesium, potassium, and B vitamins that provide vital energy and brain focus.

a book, some glasses, tea and raw honey

What We Can Learn From Honey Bees

According to a study at the Arizona State University there could be a connection between honeybees and dementia treatment. It seems that when bees are busy caring for the larvae they remain mentally alert but once they finish nursing and leave the hive to collect food, they show signs of aging quite rapidly. The university’s Gro Amdam explains, “After just two weeks, foraging bees have worn wings, hairless bodies, and more importantly, lose brain function — basically measured as the ability to learn new things.”

Interestingly after studying the bees further, the researchers discovered that the Prx6 protein in the brain which is also found in humans and is known to protect against dementia had changed.

It seems once again there is much we can learn from bees and maybe improving what we eat, encouraging social interactions, how we deal with our surroundings and doing things that make us happy can help one stay young and the brain alert.

What do you think is the key to retaining a healthy body and mind?