Did you know there is more to honeybees than just honey and beeswax? There is another product made by these industrious little creatures in their quest for food production; Bee Pollen! This lesser-known substance has many proven (and still unknown) benefits and can be incorporated into your healthy lifestyle.
What is Bee Pollen?
Honey Bees collect pollen from flowers and shape it into a little ball or pellet, they then carry it in pollen baskets (corbiculae) on their hind legs. These foraging bees bring the pollen back to the hive, where they pass it off to other worker bees that pack the pollen into cells. The pollen is mixed with nectar, bee secretions, enzymes, honey, and wax during collection and packing. Pollen is high in protein and is the primary protein source for the hive.
Where Does it Come From?
Just like honey, bee pollen from each individual hive will have a unique composition and is specific to where the particular hive is located. Because pollen is collected from many different types of local plants, it will vary in shape, colour, and nutritional content. Pollen is the ultimate locally sourced and crafted food product!
Is Bee Pollen Healthy?
The short answer to this question is, YES! Just like honey and beeswax, pollen contains all kinds of nutrients and is often touted as a superfood. It is a good source of tocopherol, niacin, thiamine, biotin, folic acid, polyphenols, carotenoid pigments, phytosterols, enzymes, and co-enzymes. It also contains proteins, carbs, enzymes, and amino acids, as well as antioxidants. This amazing substance packs a heavy nutritional punch and a little bit of bee pollen every day goes a long way as a nutritional supplement.
One tablespoon of bee pollen contains:
- 16 calories
- 0.24 grams of fat
- 1.2 grams of protein
- 2.18 grams of carbohydrates
- 250 types of nutrients including vitamins and flavonoids
While there is still more work to be done in the scientific community before many of the health benefits of consuming bee pollen can be proven, anecdotal evidence and studies show that this superfood may be useful in fighting cancer and liver damage and in treating acne, allergies, arthritis, asthma, high cholesterol, and osteoporosis. It may also enhance energy, sharpen memory, slow the aging process, promote weight loss, and improve athletic performance.
Be aware that if you are a person who suffers from seasonal allergies or who is allergic to bee stings, pollen can cause a severe reaction.
How Do I Eat It?
Incorporating pollen is a wonderful way to add more plant-based protein (and all the other nutrients) to your diet! Simply add a teaspoon or tablespoon to your smoothie, yogurt, cereal, oatmeal, granola, baking, or salad. Or, you can just eat it straight from a spoon!
Bee pollen should be stored in a cool, dark place and kept out of direct sunlight. You can also freeze it to make it last a very long time.
Where Do I Buy It?