Adding a dollop of honey to your daily diet may help to fight your aging process, according to researchers from the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand.
The researchers fed 2-month-old rats a diet containing 10 percent honey, 8 percent sucrose, or no sugar at all for 12 months. They were tested every three months to measure their anxiety and spatial memory.
Honey-fed rats seemed to hold up better to the effects of aging. Specifically:
Honey-fed rats spent close to double the time in open sections of an assessment maze than sucrose-fed rats, which suggests they were less anxious.
Honey-fed rats were more likely to enter novel sections of a Y-shaped maze, which suggests they knew where they had been before and had better spatial memory.
The researchers believe that a honey-sweetened diet may also decrease anxiety and improve memory in aging humans. The beneficial effects may be due to the antioxidant properties of honey.
The study was funded by Fonterra, a dairy company that’s looking to market a honey-sweetened yogurt.
Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour meeting at Newcastle University,
UK September 5-7, 2007
Honey has numerous beneficial properties, many of which I've reported on this site in the past. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of confusion when it comes to this natural sweetener.
What is honey good for? Well, it's been shown to provide natural support for a wide range of body structures and functions. For one thing, honey contains a number of good health-promoting antioxidants.
Vitamins found in honey include thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-12, and biotin. Along with minerals and amino acids, honey also contains a number of live enzymes that help promote optimal health.
Honey is also known to help with occasional diarrhea and insomnia.
The Problem With the Majority of U.S. Honey
If you've read my book Sweet Deception, you're likely already familiar with the massive fraud going on with U.S. honey. As many VitalVotes readers have pointed out, much of the honey in the United States (perhaps up to two-thirds of the annual honey production) is made by force-feeding bees high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or other sugars.
This is done so that the bees can produce honey year-round; however the end result is NOT pure honey, but rather a partial honey/HFCS mix.
Most honey sold is also pasteurized, which means that the beneficial enzymes have been damaged or killed off entirely.
So if you choose to use honey, either topically to soothe your skin or as a sweetener, make sure you are getting pure RAW honey. Perhaps the best way to do this is to find a local source for the raw honey, and then ask the beekeeper directly whether or not he or she supplements the bees' diet with HFCS.
If you are unable to find any reliable sources of raw honey, I recently found one I can recommend. I was also able to secure a supply for our store to make it more convenient for you. Pure Gold Raw Honey is an awesome alternative to table sugar.
Is Honey an Acceptable Sweetener?
Many feel that because honey is "natural", it is OK to use. However, this is not entirely true, particularly if you use the processed and refined varieties.
I believe that, similar to most refined foods, refined and pasteurized honey can promote disease and damage your health. Raw honey, on the other hand, can be used as a sweetener - as long as you use it in moderation.
The average American consumes far more than 150 pounds of sugar every year, primarily in the form of high-fructose corn syrup. If you restricted your use of Pure Gold Raw Honey to less than 5-10 pounds per year - and used that as your sole source of sugar - in my opinion, it would be unlikely to cause you significant health concerns.
Remember though, even raw honey is still a form of sugar, and it will cause your insulin levels to increase. This should not be a problem if you are healthy and only eat it in small amounts, but you should NOT use raw honey or any form of sweetener if you suffer from signs of elevated insulin levels, such as:
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
Bees are truly a gift to our society, even beyond the honey they produce. Sadly, more than one-quarter of America's 2.4 million bee colonies have recently died, and experts are still trying to figure out why. Everything from "colony collapse disorder" to genetically modified crops and cell phones have been suggested as causes.
If honeybees disappear, it could quickly eliminate much of our food supply. Why? Because the bees are a necessary part of the equation for pollination of many of our food plants. It's just one more example of how fragile and interdependent our biosystem really is.
Other than honey, natural bee products like propolis and royal jelly can also be very powerful natural healing adjuncts if used wisely and properly. Bee venom, too, has some incredibly potent neuroactive peptides that have been used by medical science to treat rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.