Honeybees are our most important producers of honey contributing some 4,000 tonnes for UK consumers each year. They gather nectar from flowers, shrubs and trees and carry it back to their hive where other worker bees then take over to convert the nectar into honey before storing in their honeycomb.
On this page, we are providing you with some facts about honey and the different styles you can usually purchase.
Before we start ...
Some Honey FACTS
Honey has antioxidants that shield your brain cells from damage, improve brain blood flow, and enhance memory. Honey also boosts your happy brain chemical, serotonin, and helps you sleep faster.
People have used honey for thousands for years to achieve youthful and vibrant health.
When you consume honey, you get a full spectrum of nutrients, including the brain-nurturing polyphenols which protect your neurons from damage.
Three key honey brain benefits:
You’d be forgiven for thinking that honey is just sugar. Unlike table sugar which causes inflammation, honey is richer in nutrients and gives you a lot more in terms of cognitive and mental benefits.
Is Honey Good For Your Brain?
Honey belongs among the best brain foods.
This liquid gold contains natural antioxidants that bees collect from various plants.
The potent mix of antioxidants in honey protects your brain cells from inflammation, supports your mood, and improves blood flow to the hippocampus - the area of the brain critical for your memory.
If you’re afraid of honey due to its high carbohydrate content, here are some good news:
Since it contains half fructose-half glucose, honey doesn’t spike your blood sugar like refined carbs. Instead, it provides you with a sustained source of energy, nutrients, and antioxidants.
That said, calories are still calories, and it’s easy to overindulge in honey. In which case it will probably do you more harm than good – just like most foods.
But consume it responsibly and you’ll enjoy many of its brain health benefits.
Honey Brain Benefits
The sweet nectar in honey is packed with polyphenols. These are a group of plant antioxidants which protect your brain from cellular damage and memory loss.
Honey helps your body absorb calcium.
This is important because your brain needs calcium for processing thoughts, firing signals between neurons, and making decisions.
Experts suggest that the poor intake of vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, increase the chances of dementia.
And honey appears to be an effective insurance policy against it.
Protects Neurons & Reduces Inflammation
Honey has some of the strongest antioxidants in nature.
And besides improving your memory, these polyphenols will help you:
Protect the brain from the ravages of free radicals and oxidative stress
Improve blood flow to the brain
An animal study found that consuming honey can protect the brain from lead exposure.
What’s more, a clinical review suggests that raw honey helps your brain fight inflammation in the hippocampus. This is the part of the brain involved in pleasure, cognition, and memory.
Helps Fight Cognitive Decline
Honey has plenty of natural antioxidants that are beneficial to your brain. But it gets even better.
According to a clinical review, long-term supplementation of honey significantly decreases lipid peroxidation in the brain.
Lipid peroxidation is the degradation of lipids in your cell membranes, which damages the neuron. The root cause of this is oxidative stress.
In addition to providing external antioxidants, honey also boosts your body’s native antioxidant network.
Superoxide dismutase (SOD)
Thanks to these effects, honey helps your brain defend itself from cell destruction, which plays a massive role in cognitive decline.
Helps You Sleep
Honey is one of the best natural sleep aids.
It contains several essential amino acids, including tryptophan.
After you eat honey, your insulin levels rise. This opens the door for tryptophan to enter the brain.
In the brain, tryptophan converts to serotonin, which then converts to melatonin, the sleep hormone.
As a result, you’ll find it easier to fall and stay asleep.
Stronger memory and better sleep aren’t the only honey brain benefits.
Honey also supports your mood.
Since it raises your serotonin levels in the brain, honey is able to regulate how you feel - which can reduce the occurrence of depression and anxiety.
Honey and Serotonin
Honey can be helpful for supporting a balanced mood. But this goes beyond just honey and serotonin. It’s true that honey will help to absorb L-Tryptophan which will indirectly raise your serotonin levels, but there’s more to it.
Honey also provides your brain cells with glucose. Glucose or blood sugar is fuel for your cells, including those in the brain. Your brain thrives on a steady supply of this fuel, you’ll notice it in your mental sharpness, mood, and ability to think fast.
Types of Honey
This is the classic, light coloured runny honey loved by everyone and epitomises everthing to do with warm days of summer.
When tasting this classic honey, close your eyes and let your imagination find the flowers you can taste and that are represented by the many different pollens in the honey.
Pour it over ice cream or porridge as a treat!
Spring honey often contains high quantities of Oil Seed Rape, Dandelion and Apple blossom. The honey produced from the nectar of these plants is high in glucose and crystalises rapidly in the jar forming large crystals. To break down the crystals, beekeepers may "cream" the honey to give it a smooth consistency like butter. This does not effect the delicate spring flavours that are favoured by honey connoisseurs.
Spread it over your favourite rustic toasted bread for a healthy start to the day!
Chunk honey is usually a classic summer honey with a slab of the same honeycomb inside the jar.
For many honey connoisseurs, the best experience comes when eating the wax comb along with the honey it holds. As it takes 8lbs of honey for the bees to make just 1lb of wax, the wax is regarded as a premium part of the food.
Delicious as a special breakfast treat!
CUT COMB or SECTION
The ultimate in luxury for the indulging connoisseur! Cut comb is the only way some people will eat their honey - straight from the comb as nature intended - wax and all! After all, the bees have to consume around 8lbs of honey to make just 1lb of beeswax - so it must be good stuff! This is the ultimate raw honey experience!
Usually sold in a plastic box or carton, this can sometimes be purchased as "section" honey enclosed in it's own special wooden frame and packaging.
The ideal gift for the honey lover!
These honeys often come at a premium price with the most famous mono floral being Heather Honey. To be classified and labelled as a mono floral honey, the beekeeper must ensure that at least 47% of the pollen in the honey is from a single source.
Within the UK, there are very few opportunities for a mono floral honey with Lavender and Oil Seed Rape being favourites after Heather.
An example of bees working the comb in sections. Some sections are circular. Sections are much more expensive to set up and therefore come at at a premium price. The sections are sold as seen in an outer packaging