Bee pollen is known to have a wide variety of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and other essential rudiments. These compounds work together to offer you great health benefits.
However, it’s important to understand how these nutrients will benefit you before you include bee pollen in your diet. Here are the top 7 bee pollen benefits.
What Is Bee Pollen?
Also referred to as bee bread or ambrosia, bee pollen is the ball or pellet that is made up of pollen collected from flowers by worker honeybees. This ball of pollen serves as the main source of food for the bees in the hive.
Bee pollen contains simple sugars, minerals, vitamins, and proteins that are essential for human health. Additionally, bee pollen is known to have a variety of fatty acids and other elements that serve as sources of energy and membrane ingredients.
It is also important to mention that bee pollen in the hive is kept in clutch cells. It is mixed with saliva and covered with drops of honey. This pollen is stashed in the chambers of beehives where it’s left to accumulate for a certain period before it’s harvested as nourishment for human beings.
Please note that there’s a difference between bee pollen and the field-collected pollen. Bee pollen has been subjected to secretions from the honeybees that cause it to ferment. The biochemicals created during the fermentation process cause the breakdown of the walls of the flower pollen making the nutrients in the pollen easily available.
Another notable fact about bee pollen is that the forager bees don’t eat the pollen when gathering it in the fields. These bees don’t have the proteolytic enzymes needed to digest the pollen. Their work is to gather the pollen and offload it directly into the open brood cells.
These cells are located between the brood and the honey stored in the chambers of the hive. As more pollen is deposited in these cells, it forms the typical band that’s commonly referred to as bee bread. This bread is the primary source of food for the honeybees, workers, and the larvae.
The work of worker bees is to take the raw pollen from the forager bees and pack it into the cells using their heads. As they pack the pollen, they mix it with nectar and their salivary secretions, kickstarting the lactic fermentation procedure.
Aside from the Apis bees, other bees (ground-nesting and twig-nesting bees) in the hive transform the bee pollen into balls. Once the pollen balls are done, the female bees lay eggs on top of the balls and seal the brood cells to allow the eggs to hatch.
Once the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the pollen. The chemical composition of bee pollen depends on the plants from which it was gathered. Furthermore, the variation in chemicals present in bee pollen can vary by hour, day, week, month, and colony, even when it belongs to the same hive.
While there isn’t a precise chemical and nutritional composition for bee pollen, the typical composition is reported to be about 60 percent simple sugars, 20 percent proteins, 3 percent vitamins and minerals, and 6 percent fatty acids and other nutritional components.
However, bee pollen is known to be a breeding place for yeast and bacteria. For example, it contains lactic acid microbes and Bacillus spp, among others. Studies have shown that bee pollen can carry up to 188 different types of fungi and microbes.
Despite this, stored bee pollen is a preservation atmosphere akin to honey with steadily low bacterial biomass. This makes it safe for human consumption. Herbalists and nutritionists tout bee pollen as a remedy for many medical conditions.
7 Bee Pollen Benefits
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As mentioned above, many herbalists and nutritionists are using bee pollen as a remedy for various conditions. This has seen the emergence of bee pollen granules and supplements that are sold in health food stores and pharmacies.
You can add these granules to your food like smoothies, protein shakes, breakfasts, etc. Alternatively, you can go for the supplements, which come in the form of tablets, capsules, or syrups.
However, you should seek your doctor’s opinion on the consumption of bee pollen if you’re allergic to bee stings. This product is also known to interact negatively with some blood thinners like warfarin. Nevertheless, there are numerous benefits of taking bee pollen regularly.
1. High Levels of Antioxidants
Bee pollen contains large amounts of antioxidants that can protect you from the free radicals that cause premature aging and chronic diseases. Some of the main antioxidants you’ll find in bee pollen include flavonoids, kaempferol, agglutination, carotenoids, and quercetin.
Therefore, regular consumption of bee pollen will protect you from free radicals that are said to cause serious chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and various types of cancers. Please note that the quantity of antioxidants in your bee pollen depends on the plant it was obtained from.
2. Lowering Heart Problems Like Cholesterol
Bee pollen is known to lower blood cholesterol, which can easily cause clogged arteries resulting in nearsightedness. A recent study of patients with nearsightedness revealed great improvement in their sight after taking bee pollen.
Furthermore, bee pollen has been found to contain compounds that prevent lipids from oxidization. Oxidized lipids tend to crump together thereby clogging blood vessels and putting you at risk of heart disease. You can reduce this risk significantly by including bee pollen in your regular diet.
3. Wide Variety of Nutrients
Without a doubt, bee pollen is a primary source of many nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy and strong. Some herbalists claim that this pollen contains more than 250 biologically active nutritional compounds like simple sugars, proteins, vitamins, fatty acids, enzymes, antioxidants, minerals, and lipids.
However, this nutritional profile varies depending on the plant sources of the bee pollen and the colony. It also depends on the season that the pollen was collected from flowers. The amino acid composition of bee pollen collected in spring is quite different from pollen gathered in summer.
4. Preventing Liver Toxicity and Diseases
Your liver helps your body to break down toxins and excrete them from your blood. Therefore, if your liver is ineffective, you’ll suffer from serious conditions like hepatitis or fatty liver disease.
However, the antioxidants in bee pollen can protect your liver against impairment from toxins in your blood. These antioxidants promote faster healing of your liver. Nevertheless, more studies need to be made to establish the extent to which bee pollen can affect the performance of your liver.
5. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Herbalists have for a long time used bee pollen to minimize inflammation and swelling. Experts say that this pollen can reduce swelling by 75 percent. Some even compare its anti-inflammatory effects to those of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines like indomethacin, naproxen, and phenylbutazone.
One of the antioxidants found in bee pollen, quercetin, is said to lower the creation of inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids like arachidonic acid. Furthermore, the organic compounds in this pollen can suppress biological processes that stimulate the release of inflammatory hormones like tumor necrosis factor (TNF).
6. Boosting Immunity and Eliminating Microbes
You can enhance your immunity by including bee pollen in your daily dietary plan. This way, you’ll give your body the necessary strength to fight off opportunistic infections. Furthermore, this pollen reduces the cruelty of allergies.
For instance, bee pollen has been found to significantly minimize the risk of mast cell activation. When mast cells are activated, they produce chemicals that cause allergic reactions. Furthermore, clinical tests have revealed that bee pollen has some effective antimicrobial properties to kill bacteria.
7. Easing Menopause Symptoms
As a woman, your body will go through significant transformations when you reach menopause. These changes can have severe effects on your overall health and well-being. For instance, you’ll experience hot flushes that can leave you uncomfortable and stressed out.
Other symptoms of menopause include night sweats, sleep disturbance, and mood swings. Thankfully, bee pollen contains organic properties that can reduce these symptoms by reducing irritability, sleep disruptions, and joint pain.