Bee pollen are tiny balls of pollen that have been collected by worker honey bees (usually taking several hours and days to gather the bee pollen) to take back to their hives as food for the colony. Bee pollen is made up of pollen from flowers, honey and other ingredients from the hive. The pollen is stored in sacs on the bee’s hind legs to carry from one plant to another. Once the bee has collected enough pollen, it condenses into small pallets. Beekeepers remove the pollen from the bees to sell as commercial food or health products for human consumption.
Bee pollen comprises small, crunchy golden nuggets which taste sweet and bitter, and can be added to dishes for texture and an easy nutritional boost.
Bee pollen is yet to obtain conclusive research on its health benefits. Now dubbed as a new superfood, because of its attractive nutritional profile, bee pollen includes vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, enzymes and essential amino acids.
“Unfortunately many of the benefits of bee pollen haven’t been sufficiently studied so many of the beneficial claims have not been backed up by scientific research. However, bee pollen has been used for many years in traditional medicine,” says nutritionist, Zoe Stirling
To understand the hype we explore the top five benefits of bee pollen:
1. It’s an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
Bee pollen contains rutin, a bioflavonoid with antioxidant properties and it therefore may protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals that are linked to chronic diseases, including cancer and type 2 diabetes, it’s also thought to be helpful in supporting the immune system.
2. It’s a rich source of protein
Bee pollen is made up of anywhere between 10-40% protein, contains all the essential amino acids and is easily processed by the body.
3. Acts as an energy booster
Bee pollen is a rich source of Vitamin B and rutin, as well as being a source of natural carbohydrates. Together these ingredients can potentially boost energy and enhance cardiovascular function.
4. Nourishes your skin
Bee pollen can help prevent premature aging of cells because of its high levels of antioxidants, which can ward off the free radicals that come from sun rays, toxins, chemicals, pollutants and environmental impurities. In addition, the amino acids found in bee pollen called proline is a building block for collagen synthesis, which can stimulate the growth of new skin tissues, provide effective dehydration protection and improves circulation.
Is it safe?
Bee pollen has been considered generally safe to ingest or apply topically. However, before introducing bee pollen into your diet, you should consult your doctor or health care professional if you have a pollen or bee allergy, are pregnant or breastfeeding or are on any medication.