Honey could be used to ward off memory decline, a new study has shown.
According to the New Scientist magazine, rats fed on honey were less anxious and had better memories than another group of rodents with a sucrose diet.
Lynne Chepulis and Nicola Starkey of the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand found that the honey-fed rats spent almost twice as much time in the open areas of an assessment maze than sucrose-fed rats, suggesting they were less stressed.
They were also more likely to enter new sections of a Y-shaped maze, suggesting that they remembered where they had been before and had better spatial memory than their glucose-guzzling counterparts.
Dr Starkey told the New Scientist: "Diets sweetened with honey may be beneficial in decreasing anxiety and improving memory during ageing."
The researchers believe the discrepancy may be due to honey's antioxidant properties, which reduce cell damage caused by free radicals.
They hope their findings will help them to target age-related problems such as dementia.