What is bee pollen?
Bee pollen differs from pine pollen in that bee pollen is a product of both flowers and bees; bees collect pollen from flowers, bring it back to their hive, and use it to sustain their young. The bee pollen is the primary protein source for bee colonies, and, as such, has beneficial properties for humans, too.
While some people prefer to stay away from bee pollen for ethical or dietary reasons, locally harvested bee pollen is generally very sustainable and not harmful to the bees; caring beekeepers will set a screen at the entrance to their farmed bee box. When bees enter, pollen is dusted off. Of course, most beekeepers collect only small, sustainable amounts of pollen, since without this food source, bees can’t survive.
What does bee pollen do?
Before we talk about the benefits, it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects. Most people don’t have to worry, but those who suffer from pollen or bee sting allergies should consult their doctors before trying it; in some cases, it can cause sneezing, coughing, congestion or even anaphylactic shock.
If you’re not sure if your body can handle it, start off with a small dose as this article suggests, then gradually increase if your body doesn’t show a reaction.
What are the benefits of bee pollen?
Simply put, bee pollen is magic. High in B-vitamins, folic acid, and antioxidants, bee pollen has been shown to reduce inflammation, aid healing of burn wounds, and may even improve energy metabolism as this study tested. Additionally, bee pollen has a great deal of antimicrobial properties, similar to raw honey, and has been used to boost the immune system. In short, apitherapy is truly fantastic.
Where can I find bee pollen?
Bee pollen can be purchased at most health food stores or, even better, directly from your local beekeeper at farmer’s markets. It is also possible to order it online, but ensure it remains fresh through transportation. At home, bee pollen should remain in the refrigerator for the best preservation of nutrients.
Similar to knowing if your honey is actually raw, it’s important to know how your bee pollen is (or isn’t) processed.
What do I do with bee pollen?
For some, simply chewing a teaspoon of bee pollen before a workout can provide a boost of energy. For others who find the taste to be bitter, I recommend adding it to your breakfast or snack. Try sprinkling a teaspoon on your smoothie bowl along with hemp seeds, chia seeds, and cacao nibs, or mix into coconut yogurt. I often add mine to salads as a crunchy, nutritious topper but for those who still have a hard time with the taste, mix it into a cup of lukewarm water (heat can kill the nutrients) and drink.
Some reminders about bee pollen
Vegans may not wish to consume bee pollen as it is a bee-produced product. Additionally, pregnant women should not consume it. Ensure that your bee pollen is free of contaminants like pesticides by calling the company from which you purchase it or, even better, talking with your local beekeeper about his or her practices. If you suffer from pollen allergies or know yourself to be allergic, consult with your doctor before trying bee pollen and begin with small doses.
Have you tried bee pollen? How do you like to enjoy it? Let us know in the comments below!