The Bee’s Knees: Benefits of Bee Pollen
Perhaps you’ve heard about the benefits of bee pollen; it’s been making quite the rounds in the healthy living community for its dense nutritional profile. Nutritionists tout its elemental make-up including vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, lipids, and protein. Bee pollen isn’t simply the pollen from flowers and trees; it likely includes bee saliva as well.
What is Bee Pollen?
Pollen is produced by male plants. Plants produce pollen in order to participate in the fertilization process. Pollen forms at the end of the stamen and is collected by bees, transferred from flower to flower to complete the fertilization process. Nearly every plant on the planet produces pollen! Young bees consume pollen as their primary food source. Science shows that bee pollen is extremely nutritious, consisting of approximately 40% protein, and nearly half of this protein comes from amino acids.
Bees work tirelessly to create pollen granules. A single teaspoon of bee pollen takes one bee eight hours every day for a month to compile. This serving size contains approximately 2.5 billion pollen grains.
Bee pollen exists as more than just a natural way to boost an individual’s tolerance against allergies triggered by pollen-producing flowers and trees. The compounds contained within bee pollen can indeed help build an individual’s tolerance to local trees and flowers. However, contained within each pollen granule are a variety of different elements including amino acids, antioxidants, and flavonoids which are very beneficial to the body. Studies show that bee pollen can include up to 16 vitamins, over 25 minerals, essential enzymes, fatty acids, and phytonutrients. Each plant produces different compounds within its pollen; since bees often visit a wide array of pollen-bearing plants, they gather pollen that is diversely rich in key elements that aid the body. Bee pollen is like a stir fry of essential elements the body needs to strengthen itself from the inside out.
Bee Pollen Benefits
Bee pollen contains a variety of antioxidants. These compounds seek out and eliminate free radicals throughout the body. Free radicals are harmful elements that over time can contribute to health issues including chronic diseases and even certain types of cancer. Fatty acids, such as Omega-3 and Omega-6, support different systems in the body. Diets rich in Omega-3s are very heart healthy, and may even lower the risk of heart disease. Omega-6 fatty acids on the other hand, support healthy brain function and may protect against cognitive decline. Phytonutrients are an essential element to a healthy diet; they can help accomplish health goals including lowering cholesterol and maintaining a healthy weight. Other nutrients directly support the body’s immune system.
Possible Side Effects
Since bee pollen exists as a concentrated dose of pollen, some individuals may experience an immediate allergic reaction due to its pollen content. Individuals suffering from allergies may experience itchiness, watery eyes, swelling, light-headedness, or breathing issues. Severe reactions may result in anaphylaxis and require immediate attention. Expecting mothers are also cautioned against taking bee pollen as it may stimulate the uterus.
Always consult with your healthcare professional before beginning a new health care regime. Bee pollen undoubtedly exists as a rich source of a variety of nutrients, and can support many of body’s daily nutritional requirements. It may be taken as a capsule supplement, sprinkled on morning cereal or yogurt, or added to a delicious smoothie. Remember: it’s not important how you enjoy bee pollen, just that you do!