5 Reasons why Bee Pollen should be part of your diet

What is Bee Pollen?

Most, if not all, flowering plants make pollen as their main way to reproduce. Coincidentally, when bees are hunting for nectar to make honey, they also collect pollen and store it as food for their entire colony. 

The human consumption of Bee pollen is not a new phenomena and has in fact been used for centuries for nutritional and medicinal purposes. Not only did ancient cultures know and enjoy the benefits of Bee pollen, modern science also confirms that the sweet-tasting granules contain many health-boosting nutrients like:

  •  Proteins
  •  Amino acids
  •  Antioxidants
  •  Fatty acids
  • Vitamins like A, E, D, C, and several B vitamins
  • Minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and iron

You can already find these nutrients in many other foods that make up a balanced diet, and bee pollen is just another great tasting way to make sure you’re getting enough to support a healthy body. 

 

1. High antioxidant levels fight against free radicals and chronic diseases

Bee pollen is loaded with a wide variety of antioxidants, among them flavonoids, carotenoids, quercetin, kaempferol and glutathione.

Antioxidants protect your body against potentially harmful molecules called free radicals. Damage by free radicals is linked to chronic diseases such as cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Test-tube, animal and some human studies have shown that bee pollen antioxidants can reduce chronic inflammation, eliminate harmful bacteria, fight infections and combat the growth and spread of tumor's.

Having said this, bee pollen’s antioxidant content will vary depending on its plant source. Dud go to this uncertainty, unless a plant source is specifically stated on the label, it can be challenging to determine exactly which plant your bee pollen came from.

2. Packs Several Compounds With Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Bee pollen has been used traditionally to reduce inflammation and swelling.

An animal study showed that bee pollen extract reduced swelling of rats’ paws by 75%.

In fact, its anti-inflammatory effects have been compared to several nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as phenylbutazone, indomethacin, analgin and naproxen.

Bee pollen packs several compounds that can reduce inflammation and swelling, including the antioxidant quercetin, which lowers the production of inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids, such as arachidonic acid.

What’s more, plant compounds in bee pollen may suppress biological processes that stimulate the production of inflammatory hormones such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF).

3. May Improve Nutrient Utilization, Metabolism and Longevity

Some evidence suggests bee pollen may improve your body’s utilization of nutrients.

For instance, studies on animals have shown that rats absorbed 66%  more iron when pollen was added to their diet. This uptick is likely due to the fact that pollen contains vitamin C and bioflavonoids, which boost iron absorption.

Additionally, healthy rats fed pollen absorbed more calcium and phosphorus from their diet. Pollen contains high-quality proteins and amino acids that may aid such absorption.

Other animal studies have demonstrated that bee pollen may improve muscle growth, speed up the metabolism and promote longevity.

Although animal studies are promising, it’s not clear if humans experience the same benefits.

4. Bee pollen helps in weight loss and prevention of obesity

Obesity is caused by disrupted metabolic profile leading to deposition lipids and sugars in the body as fats.

Polysaccharides in bee pollen helps in improving insulin function and lipid metabolism which results in efficient utilization of glucose and triglycerides, preventing their storage as fats.

This aids in regularizing metabolism in diabetes patients and treatment of diabetes.

Consumption of bee pollen and honey has shown to decrease lipid levels and assist in losing body weight.

Thus, bee pollen can be used for weight control and the prevention of obesity.

5. Bee pollen improves immunity

Our immune system has the important job of protecting our body from diseases and infections.

It also helps in battling any harmful foreign substance or organism that might enter the body.

Polysaccharides from bee pollen assist in stimulating the immune system. They promote phagocytosis (engulfing and killing) of antigens and microbes by macrophages (immune cells).

They increase the proliferation of immune organ cells which enhances their functional capacity.

They also activate the NK (Natural Killer) cells which help in the killing of microbes, cancer cells, and other harmful substances.

Flavonoids in bee pollen, due to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, can be used for treatment and prevention of immunological disorders.


How to use Bee Pollen?

Bee pollen is available as a dietary supplement in the form of pills, tablets, granules, and capsules.

The dosage depends on your medical condition and tolerance levels. This can be determined by consulting with a medical professional.

Bee pollen can be included as toppings on yogurt, cereals, desserts, salad, and soups.

Bee Pollen Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds or chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp bee pollen

Precautions while using bee pollen

While bee pollen is generally considered safe, it could prove dangerous for those who suffer from allergic reactions to pollen, honey or bee stings.

Plant pollen can come from anywhere and anyone who suffers from allergy to any type of plant pollen must avoid bee pollen because you do not know which plants the bee pollen comes from.

Symptoms of allergic reactions include swelling of the throat, hives, redness, itching, and shortness of breath and in extreme cases anaphylactic shock.

Hence, if you have any known allergies or any medical conditions, consult your doctor before including bee pollen in your diet.

Conclusion

Bee pollen has been used for a long time as a dietary supplement and research backs some of its claims on positive health effects.

Bee pollen has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.