Yes! A resounding yes, but how? Honey has a variety of health benefits and it’s honey’s antioxidant properties that’ll keep you young. Honey is not the key to eternal youth but combine it with an otherwise healthy diet and you’re almost there.
ScrummyHoney.co.uk believes honey does slow aging. It is not going to make you younger but it’ll make you feel younger. Hurray! Zoom in to the biological level to find where honey helps slow aging and how it becomes part of a solution.
Without going into too much detail lets check out the most important aspects of honey’s anti aging properties.
What are free radicals?
Readers will be forgiven for thinking it’s the name of a band (or was it the Fine Young Cannibals?). To understand free radicals it is necessary to zoom in and think about the atoms that make up our body tissues and cells. Free radicals exist at the sub cellular level and affect how molecules inside our body’s cells interact with one another.
Take a moment to zoom in and consider the basic building blocks of our bodies. Our atoms. An atom should exist in balance and have a natural amount of electrons (or tiny electrical charge) around the centre. When the number of electrons is out of balance it is said to be a free radical. The result is unpaired electrons which have a small electrical charge that is out of balance. By the laws of nature unpaired electrons are attracted to other atoms causing undesirable affects. Not desirable in that it changes how molecules in biological processes interact with one another. Lots of small effects in various physiological systems that combine and manifest themselves as negative outcomes for people.
Most often it’s oxygen molecules that cause free radicals. When the molecule splits into two distinct atoms of Oxygen they become free radicals. Free radicals are a natural waste product of our cellular metabolism and are essential, but, when an imbalance of free radicals occurs it’s called oxidative stress.
Free radicals have links to a whole range of conditions including, macular degeneration, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, emphysema, alcoholism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ulcers and all inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis and lupus. This list could go on and it will probably get longer as medicine progresses.
Generally speaking aging causes biological functions to degenerate. Our eyesight gets worse, we can’t run so far or walk to the shops. The mind isn’t as sharp as it used to be. Our organs may stop working as they should. An imbalance of free radicals accelerate these changes or actually causes illness.
Let’s take oxidised cholesterol as an example. Oxidisation of the fatty substance cholesterol resulting from various things like smoking, drinking, too much exercise, disturbed sleep patterns or stress. Oxidised cholesterol gets sticky and starts to line the insides of blood vessels. Resulting in negative cardiovascular outcomes, like heart disease.
In fact the ‘free radical theory of ageing’ has been around since 1956 and has been supported by many studies indicating that oxidative stress is involved in ageing. More recently science gives us detail showing that oxidative stress causes telomere shortening, a type of oxidative DNA damage.
One of the consequences is that changed DNA affects gene expression. Consequently the proteins that make up our bodily tissues can change and can even effect our appearance. Think wrinkles, bags under eyes, grey hair and other saggy bits.
What’s all this got to do with Honey?
Honey contains plant chemicals that act as antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. Anti aging properties of honey probably come from the group of substances called polyphneols. Sometimes called flavanoids or vitamin P. See the end of the post for a list of flavanoids contained in honey if you feel the need to do background checks.
Evidence suggests polyphenols are the source of positive health benefits of fruit and vegetables in general. Making honey a food stuff to add to a healthy diet. Honey is unique in that it has anti ageing benefits and is aromatic, flavoursome and sweet.
Our bodies exist in balance. Negative outcomes occur when we have too many free radicals causing an imbalance.
Antioxidants like flavanoids help keep levels of free radicals in check and reduces oxidative stress.
Honey contains lots of different types of sugars some of which, when digested by cells in the body especially those in the liver, produce Glutathione which plays an important role in anitoxidant mechanisms.
Honey affects on our mood and wellbeing
Honey can also help lift our mood due to pleasant aromas and flavour. Honey contains chemicals that help produce serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is known to be a calming and lifting neurotransmitter. Positive effects on mood help our body maintain healthy stress responses to life’s stressful circumstances, to disease and infection.
Honey can also help regulate metabolism of compounds that enter the body’s systems after digestion of food. For instance, honey boosts liver glycogen which is a good store of energy and helps regulate blood glucose, which is essential for proper cell function and brain activity. Indirectly this means the body does not need to resort to using stress
hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) to release sugar into the blood by metabolising protein and fat. Persistently high levels of stress hormones leads to a host of problems, so that anything that helps keep this in balance is a good thing.
Properties of honey that reduce metabolic stress thereby help to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Reducing anxiety and depression consequently reduces the amounts of stress hormones in the blood and reduces oxidative stress. All of which lowers the affects of ageing.
Honey affects our immune system
Honey also stimulates the immune system via an increase in very weak concentrations of hydrogen peroxide. Also it raises levels of compounds (tumour necrosis factor) known to destroy certain varieties of cancer cells. By indirectly defending against infection and disease honey helps to reduce the stresses and strains on our body.
Some studies show daily intake of a small amount of certain types of honey increases levels of vitamin C in the blood by a significant amount. Vitamin C has well documented positive affects on the bodies immune response.
What action can be taken to use honey’s anti ageing properties to help improve quality of life?
As Mary Poppins would say, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. Well, honey is the sugar and the medicine. Eat one spoonful of honey every day depending on the size of the spoon. Enjoy eating honey by whichever way your prefer, but don’t apply heat. Heating above 35 degrees celsius causes loss of beneficial compounds in honey. Consider honey a replacement for sugar in your diet not an addition, because eating too much fructose has it’s own side affects. A diet with higher levels of fructose can benefit by be balance with foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids.
Buy the best honey for anti ageing properties. Single source nectar honey provides higher levels of anitoxidants. Honey farms have control over which of natures ingredients go into honey production. Antioxidant compounds called polyphenols are assosciated with the colour of honey. Dark coloured honey normally contains more polyphenols giving it a better antioxidant profile. Raw or unfiltered honey contains more bio active compounds needed to reduce ageing.
Here is a selection of honey which could help keep you young.
Buckweat honey – shown to be highest in antioxidants using a variety of testing methods.
coniferous honeydew – pine or fir honey
leafy honeydew – carob bean
Rape honey has been shown to have the lowest content of antioxidants using a variety of testing methods.
Which honey will help you?
ScrummyHoney has carefully selected two honeys with the help of a sponsor (that provides access and remuneration to help maintain ScrummyHoney.co.uk). What’s more we’ve tasted and reviewed these honeys, and readers may want to check out the reviews.
Flavanoids that are in honey
Selected healthy honey
We have researched and selected healthy honeys for ScrummyHoney.co.uk’s visitors. We have tasted and reviewed some of this honey and will be tasting more.