Praised for being one of nature’s most-complete foods, it’s easy to see what all the hype surrounding bee pollen is. Each tiny, yellow granule of pollen contains a high source of protein (including all essential amino acids), vitamins, minerals, enzymes as well as high sources of phytonutrients and antioxidants. For centuries it’s been used to restore nutrient deficiencies, prevent infectious diseases and relieve allergy symptoms and it’s still used today as a powerful supplement.
Bee pollen is the accumulation of pollen collected by bees from nearby flowers with their legs, which is then packed down in to one single pellet and taken back to the hive for food. It’s essentially concentrated pollen, which is why it’s so important to make sure you’re getting yours from a pesticide-free environment.
Although alternative health advocates have been singing its praises for years, there are still very few scientific studies to support its many benefits. A few of the promising results thus far include:
The reduction of allergies
Some believe that adding a small amounts of local bee pollen to their diet, prior to allergy season, helps them build up a resistance/immunity to symptoms like hay fever and help reduce symptoms long-term. A study in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2008, animal-based tests support bee pollens anti-allergenic effect. By inhibiting mast cell activity, bee pollen was able to inhibit the release of histamine in response to an allergen and therefore prevent the allergenic response.
It ‘s important to note that bee pollen can cause severe allergic reactions in some. Start by testing with one pellet to see how your body responds and do not take it you have bee allergies or very severe pollen allergies. Use with caution.
Reduction in bone loss due to osteoporosis
A 2012 study (again done on rats) in Joint Diseases & Related Surgery, showed bee pollen protects against osteoporosis-related bone loss by maintaining levels of calcium and phosphate in the bone tissue.
The simple fact about bee pollen is that it’s a whole food full of bioavailable nutrition and antioxidants, which undoubtedly leads to increased energy, disease prevention and inner harmony. In natural medicine bee pollen is often used to regulate the bowels, which in itself, will help boost your energy levels. Pollen itself has a mild, slightly sweet, nutty taste and it slowly dissolves in your mouth when eaten. It can be found at your local health food store, is reasonably priced and should be stored in the fridge.
Here’s a recipe I make at home (that I love) that will allow you to reap pollen’s many benefits at home:
1 banana (fresh or frozen)
1 cup frozen mango
3 tbsp hemp hearts
2 cups water
1/4 tsp to 1-2 tsp (increasing by 1/4 gradually) of bee pollen
Put everything into your blender and blend. Top with a few grains of pollen for garnish.
As mentioned above, bee pollen can cause an allergic response in some. Avoid if you’re allergic to bees or pollen. As with any new food, try a very small amount first (1-2 pellets) to test for a reaction, and gradually increase to 1 tbsp per day.
Nutrition Facts (Based on 1 tsp of bee pollen)
Serving Size 776 g
Calories from fat 117
Total fat 13 g
Sodium 18 mg
Potassium 647 mg
Total carbohydrates 56 g
Dietary Fibre 10 g
Sugars 37 g
Protein 12 g
Follow the jump for more great recipes from Tara Miller.
Tara Miller is a Toronto-based holistic nutritionist. She graduated from The Institute of Holistic Nutrition and has a degree in psychology from the University of Guelph. Tara is also the owner of the Health Hut Boutique in Muskoka where she offers effective and toxic-free beauty, household and specialty food items. You can follow her blog for holistic recipes and tips at Tara Miller Nutrition.