Bee pollen is an incredibly nutrient dense bee product, containing nearly all the nutrients required by humans to survive which is why it has a reputation as a holistic remedy and superfood. Best of all it’s a clean, highly assimilable protein source.
Bee pollen comes from the male seed of flowers known as entomophile pollens, which are carried by honeybees who forage among flower blossoms. Not to be confused with flower pollen, which is a light kind of airborne pollen that commonly causes allergies.
It’s most well known for it’s rejuvenation and nutritional restorative properties, and for it’s ability to enhance your overall beauty and glow, as well as it’s high protein content – it’s approximately 25% – 40% of highly assimilable protein.
Bee pollen has an impressive array of vitamins and minerals, including the complete B-complex (minus B12) and folic acid, essential fatty acids, Vitamins C and E, and calcium, iron, potassium and zinc.
According to researchers at the Institute of Apiculture, Taranov, Russia:
“Honeybee pollen is the richest source of vitamins found in Nature in a single food. Even if bee pollen had none of its other vital ingredients, its content of rutin alone would justify taking at least a teaspoon daily, if for no other reason than strengthening the capillaries. Pollen is extremely rich in rutin and may have the highest content of any source, plus it provides a high content of the nucleics RNA [ribonucleic acid] and DNA [deoxyribonucleic acid].”
Bees work incredibly hard to make the pollen, just one teaspoon of pollen takes one bee working 8 hours a day an entire month to gather. One teaspoonful contains over 2.5 billion grains of flower pollen. A little goes a long way and remember to respect the effort these bees go to to produce such a small amount.
Thankfully, bee keepers are able to remove pollen from hives without harming the bees or disturbing their routine.
Here are 10 reasons to add bee pollen to your daily routine:
1. Regulates the Intestines
Studies have shown that bee pollen has a regulatory effect on intestinal function, due to the presence of a high proportion of cellulose and fiber in pollen, as well as the existence of antibiotic factors.
This fact is most interesting to me because I am healing celiac disease, which damages the villi in the intestines.
2. Aids digestion
Bee pollen contains living enzymes, which help your body with digestion and optimal nutrient absorption from other foods you eat.
3. Weight Loss Aid
Bee pollen helps with weight-loss or stabalisation where abnormal weight gain or loss is involved. It stimulates the metabolic processes and speeds caloric burn by lighting and stoking the metabolic fires.
Bee pollen is 15 percent lecithin, a substance that helps dissolve and flush fat from the body. It also contains phenylalanine, a natural amino acid that the body requires and which can act as an appetite suppressant. When you are overweight, phenylalanine has a natural appetite suppressant effect and when you need to gain weight, phenylalanine works in reverse.
4. Energy buzz
Bee pollen enhances energy, stamina and endurance, likely due to the carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, B-complex vitamins and protein. The British Sports Council recorded increases in strength of as high as 40 to 50 percent in those taking bee pollen regularly.
5. Glowing skin
Bee pollen and other bee products are often used in creams to treat skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and acne, and studies have shown that it can also dramatically improve unhealthy or aging skin.
The potent antibiotics in bee pollen are thought to reverse the effects of normal aging on skin, correcting darkening, wrinkles and blemishes while rejuvenating and stimulating cell renewal.
Dr. Lars-Erik Essen, a dermatologist in Helsingborg, Sweden who treated many of his patients successfully for acne, says:
“Through transcutaneous nutrition, bee pollen exerts a profound biological effect. It seems to prevent premature aging of the cells and stimulates growth of new skin tissue. It offers effective protection against dehydration and injects new life into dry cells. It smoothes away wrinkles and stimulates a life-giving blood supply to all skin cells. The skin becomes younger-looking, less vulnerable to wrinkles, smoother, and healthier with the use of honeybee pollen.
Taken internally or used externally, bee pollen exercises a suppressive effect on facial acne. It is also an important skin rejuvenator, primarily because it contains a high concentration of the nucleic acids RNA and DNA as well as a natural antibiotic factor.”
Professors N. Mankovsky and D. G. Chebotarev, two Russian scientists say the nutrients in bee pollen are needed by the body to form new tissue and are “vital to a form of internal and external rejuvenation at the cellular level.”
6. Building new blood
On tests with lab animals (#sadface) eating bee pollen has a good effect on the composition of blood. A considerable increase of both white and red blood cells was observed. When bee pollen is given to anemic patients, their levels of hemoglobin (oxygen-carrying red blood cells) increase considerably.
7. Boosts the immune system
A report from the Agronomic Institute, Faculty of Zootechnics, Romania, showed the immune-strengthening effects of bee pollen with a recorded increase in lymphocytes, gamma globulins, and proteins, which are responsible for ridding the body of injurious and harmful substances like diseased and cancerous cells.
8. Helps with infertility
Bee pollen stimulates ovarian function and improves the ability of eggs to withstand the incubation period. It is also said to be a natural aphrodisiac and libido enhancer.
9. Helps with cravings and treating addictions
Bee pollen helps eliminate cravings and addictions by suppressing impulses, and possibly also because of the fact that it enhances the nutrients you absorb from the food you eat.
10. Possible anti-cancer effects
More research definitely needs to be done, but we have a few studies suggesting bee pollen has anti-cancer properties, likely due to it’s ability to boost the immune system and stimulate healthy cell growth.
An article published from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 1948 showed that mice bred to die from cancerous tumors and given bee pollen had a delay in growth and in seven of these mice, no tumor growth at all. All the mice who weren’t given bee pollen died right on schedule. Why this line of research was suddenly dropped after these promising results in not clear. (1)
A study from the University of Vienna of 25 women with inoperable uterine cancer were treated with chemotherapy. Some of them were given bee pollen with their food and quickly exhibited a higher concentration of cancer-fighting immune-system cells, increased antibody production, and a markedly improved level of infection-fighting and oxygen carrying red blood cells (hemoglobin). They also suffered less of the dreaded chemo side effects like nausea, hair loss and sleep loss. The control group receiving a placebo didn’t experience similar relief.
How much should I eat?
Some people have an allergic reaction to bee pollen so it’s best to start really slow and see how you go. Start with a few grains and work you way up to a teaspoon. Eat one teaspoon to several tablespoons a day to reap the benefits.
How to eat bee pollen?
To be honest, I’m not a fan of the taste of bee pollen and it doesn’t seem like many people are. I had to get creative with getting this down.
These days I make some apple sauce (chop up an apple or two and cook for an hour on low heat), wait till it cools a little (don’t eat bee pollen with anything hot) and blend the bee pollen in it, then serve it over chopped fruit.
You could also add it to a green smoothie.
Bee pollen works faster and more effectively when eaten with fruit.
What should I look for in the bee pollen I buy?
Look for ethically harvested bee pollen from a low pollution and environmentally clean area. You will find bee pollen from the health food store, or online from places like iHerb (US) or Loving Earth (Australia) – or even better, find a local organic beekeeper!
Question time: Do you eat bee pollen? Have you found it to be helpful?
(1) “Delay in the Appearance of Palpable Mammary Tumors in C3H Mice Following the Ingestion of PolIenized Food,” October 1948, Journal of the National Cancer Institute