Most people enjoy eating honey, yet few realize there’s another bee product that’s arguably healthier and more nutritious. We’re talking about bee pollen, of course!
What is Bee Pollen?
“Bee pollen is a ball of pollen made by young bees when they land on a flower. It’s a mixture of pollen, saliva, and nectar or honey,” Healthline explains. “Bees carry these balls back to the hive in sacs on their legs and store them in the hive’s honeycomb. The pollen then ferments into ‘bee bread,’ which feeds a bee colony.”
Beekeepers will actually collect this pollen by installing thick combs at the entrance of their hives. As the bees pass through, some of pollen is knocked off their legs and collected in a bin below.
Bee pollen is a natural substance that comes in small, crunchy flakes or pellets. Inside one tablespoon of bee pollen, you’ll find a rich array of vitamins and nutrients with:
- 16 calories
- 24 grams of fat
- 2 grams of protein
- 18 grams of carbohydrates
- 250 types of vitamins, flavonoids, and nutrients.
Bee pollen can be consumed in a variety of ways. Some people add it to foods like oatmeal or yogurt, but it can also be ground down and used to make capsules.
Bee pollen capsules are easy, cost-effective, and convenient to use. Thus, they tend to be the most popular option on the market.
5 Possible Benefits of Using Bee Pollen
Bee pollen has been known to provide health benefits for years. The combination of flower pollen, nectar, honey, wax, and enzymes makes for a powerful concoction – one that yields the user a variety of benefits.
1. Lower Inflammation
One of the biggest benefits of bee pollen is how it reduces swelling and inflammation in the body. Its anti-inflammatory properties have even been compared to a variety of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like naproxen, analgin, and phenylbutazone.
2. Boosts Energy and Metabolism
One of the more fascinating discoveries regarding bee pollen is the way in which it improves the body’s utilization of nutrients.
In one study, iron-deficient rats were able to absorb as much as 66 percent more iron when pollen was incorporated into their diet. The theory is that this uptick occurs as a result of the bioflavonoids and vitamin C contained in the pollen (which are known to boost iron absorption).
Other studies have demonstrated improvements in metabolism, energy, and nutrient utilization. It’s not clear yet whether these same benefits transfer over to humans as well, but it’s likely that they do.
3. Helps Fight Cancer
There’s ample evidence to suggest that bee pollen’s high antioxidant content may help protect people from free radicals that cause chronic diseases and cancers.
Bee pollen is chock full of various antioxidants, including carotenoids, flavonoids, kaempferol, glutathione, and quercetin. These antioxidants fight back against the harmful free radicals that come in and destroy the body. In a few different animal and human studies, bee pollen has been shown to fight infections, eliminate bacteria, and ward off the growth and spread of tumors.
4. Clears up Skin
Did you know that bee pollen research shows it can be used on the skin to fast-track healing? When applied to the skin, bee pollen improves blood circulation and kills off bacteria (both of which are integral to healing wounds and skin conditions). Bee pollen also moistens the skin, which provides relief.
5. Diminishes Allergies
One of the most common uses of bee pollen (by far) is for management of seasonal allergies. The belief is that by ingesting pollens (which contain some trace elements of the allergens that cause unwanted reactions), the body eventually builds up resistance to them and the severity of symptoms are reduced over time.
It is possible, however, that individuals with serious allergies could actually experience the very symptoms they’re trying to avoid. It’s for this reason that people are instructed to take very small doses and work up to more manageable amounts.
Could Bee Pollen Help You?
Whether you suffer from seasonal allergies, experience a lack of energy, or need something to help you clear up your skin, bee pollen could be the answer. As you search the marketplace for the right product, it’s important to remember that bee pollen is different from similar products like honeycomb or royal jelly. These products don’t always contain pollen and may include other substances and ingredients.