10 Reasons Why Bee Pollen Is the Next Health Superfood
8 minute read
Bee pollen is gaining popularity as a nutrient-dense superfood. Not only does it contain several vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, but it is also a source of high-quality protein.
It is used in alternative medicine as a treatment for allergies, inflammation, and to boost your immune system, amongst other health concerns.
While more and more studies are being done on the health benefits of bee pollen, more research would be helpful in backing up anecdotal claims with hard evidence.
Still, there is a lot of promise when it comes to how bee pollen could be beneficial to our health.
What Is Bee Pollen?
You’re probably somewhat familiar with how honey is made. Bees go out and collect nectar from flowers, bring it back to the hive, and, in short, water is evaporated out of the nectar to create honey.
While the bees are out collecting nectar, they’re also collecting another important substance: pollen. Pollen from flowers clings to the bee’s body, then the bee mixes it with a bit of nectar or honey to make it stick together in pellets, and carries it back to the hive on its hind legs.
These nutrient-rich pollen pellets are used primarily for feeding the larvae and young bees. While honey and nectar provide the energy for the hive, the pollen provides the nourishment (vitamins, protein, etc.).
The freshly-collected pollen has a high moisture content, and if it isn’t consumed right away, the bees seal it in honeycomb and ferment it to make “bee bread.”
When harvested for human consumption, pollen traps are fitted over the entrance to a hive, which brushes off the pollen pellets from the bees’ legs and collects them.
Beekeepers need to be careful when harvesting pollen. If they leave a trap on for too long, the bees won’t have enough pollen to keep the hive healthy.
The best way to preserve the highly-perishable pellets is to freeze it, which retains most of the nutrients. They can also be refrigerated or dried in the dark (sun drying significantly lowers the antioxidant content).
Health Benefits of Bee Pollen
Bee pollen has a lot of different health benefits that range from treating allergies to easing skin problems. Its unique blend of amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes make it a powerhouse of a superfood.
Here are ten reasons to incorporate bee pollen into your daily routine:
1. It’s an anti-inflammatory. Studies have shown that bee pollen has had impressive anti-inflammatory effects on mice and rats.
2. It contains powerful antioxidants. Bee pollen, specifically the fermented bee bread, contains antioxidants that are similar to those found in other fermented foods, such as miso.
Researchers suggest that these antioxidants could be beneficial for patients who are being treated for conditions like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
3. It gives you an energy boost. Not only does bee pollen contain carbohydrates, but it also has B vitamins, which help your body create energy from the food that you eat.
4. It can make your immune system stronger. A study found that bee pollen has antimicrobial, antimutagenic, and antimicrobial properties. This could give your body an edge in the fight against bacteria and harmful microorganisms.
Researchers found that staphylococcus aureus, which can cause skin, joint, and bone infections as well as food poisoning, was especially susceptible to bee pollen.
5. It can ease your allergies. Bee pollen inhibits allergic responses in mice, and people looking for a natural way to beat their allergies have claimed that bee pollen has helped ease their symptoms.
6. It can keep your liver healthy. This study was also done on rats, but researchers found that chestnut bee pollen protected and helped heal the liver from damage. A healthy, functioning liver is a crucial part of your body’s detoxification system.
7. It speeds wound healing. When applied topically, bee pollen ointment helps wounds heal faster. A study was done on burn wounds, which are particularly susceptible to infection, also noted bee pollen’s antimicrobial, antiviral, and antifungal properties as key to protecting wounds from infection.
8. It aids with digestion. The enzymes in bee pollen help your digestive system break down the food that you eat.
9. It is a potent dietary supplement. The nutrients in bee pollen can boost your overall health. A study done on rabbits found that supplementing with bee pollen led to longer lives and healthier babies.
Another study showed that bee pollen boosted elderly, malnourished rats’ metabolism and helped them gain back muscle mass.
10. It could make menopause more bearable. Though this study was small (46 participants), over 70% of the breast cancer patients reported improvements in their menopause symptoms, e.g., hot flashes, pain during sexual intercourse, forgetfulness, etc., when taking bee pollen.
How To Take Bee Pollen
You can find bee pollen online or in the health food section of many grocery stores in the form of granules or capsules.
The recommendations for the dosage of bee pollen vary depending on the source. Some suggest starting with as small an amount as half of a granule, while others recommend starting with half a teaspoon.
With capsules and tablets, manufacturers recommend taking one or two per dose, once or twice daily, depending on the brand and formula. Be sure the check the directions and dosage for your supplement.
Bee pollen granules are great additions to certain foods like:
♦ Protein shakes
And you can also soak a few granules in warm water for a few hours to help release more of the nutrients.
Keep in mind that the specific health benefits of any given bee pollen may vary depending on the plants from which the pollen was collected.
Always read the instructions that come with your bee pollen and talk to your doctor before taking any supplements and if you have any concerns.
Is Bee Pollen Safe?
While bee pollen is considered to be safe for most people, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Get your bee pollen from a reputable source to make sure that you’re getting a high-quality product and you aren’t also ingesting harmful chemicals.
If you’re allergic to bee stings or pollen, you should avoid bee pollen. Discontinue use if you experience symptoms like lightheadedness, itching, swelling, or shortness of breath.
Bee pollen may interfere with pregnancy, so it is recommended that women avoid taking it while pregnant.
The Bottom Line
Research into many of the health claims of bee pollen has been limited to studies on animals, but many of them show promise that bee pollen is a potent superfood.
Adding bee pollen into your daily routine can be helpful for those who simply want an energy boost to those who are going through menopause.
At the very least, bee pollen is nutrient-dense and provides essential vitamins and minerals as well as protein, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories.