Bee Pollen - Does It Contain All the Nutrients You Need?
Instagram and twitter feeds are currently abuzz with images of bee pollen smoothies, golden granules decorating chia seed porridge and desserts adorned with this crunchy superfood. So is bee pollen just a fad, or does it contain all of the nutrients that we need? What is Bee Pollen? After a busy day gathering nectar from flowers, bees return to the hive with pollen attached to their hind legs. This pollen is the food that young bees eat and is packed with protein – pollen is approximately 25% protein - and nutrients. Beekeepers collect this precious substance by placing a screen over the hive with openings just large enough for the bees to pass through. As the bees enter the hive, the screen extracts the pollen. The Benefits Bee pollen is an alkaline food and is reported to contain all of the nutrients you need to live:
- Vitamins: It’s a source of eighteen vitamins – including nearly all the B vitamins (except B12) as well as C, D and E.
- Minerals: It may contain up to sixty elements including calcium, copper, iodine, magnesium, iron, potassium, selenium and zinc.
- Protein: Bee pollen is packed with amino acids, the building blocks of protein. More importantly, the amino acids in bee pollen are in a free-form state, meaning they are easily assimilated by the body and are known to help detox the liver.
- Enzymes: Pollen contains up to eleven different enzymes, which help improve our digestion.
- Allergies: Taken at least six weeks before hay fever season bee pollen can help desensitize and alleviate allergic reactions to pollen.
- Longevity: Out of 150 Russian centenarians who responded to a questionnaire, from Russian biologist Nicholas Tsitin in 1945, ALL replied that they consumed not only honey but bee pollen. (It’s not surprising when you consider honey’s ability to withstand the test of time – edible honey has been found in Egyptian tombs).
- Cancer: Bee pollen has been shown to protect against the development of breast cancer (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, October 1948) cause prostate cancer cells to die (link - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17639562) and reduce the significantly reduce the side effects of from radiotherapy ( Dr. Peter Hernuss, University of Vienna, in Fighting Radiation and Chemical Pollutants With Foods, Herbs and Vitamins)
- Beauty: Bee Pollen is said to stimulate cell renewal, suppress facial acne and prevent premature ageing.
- Heart Health: Studies (link) show that bee pollen in the diet can help normalize cholesterol. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18019010
- Strength: Taking bee pollen regularly can increase strength as much as 40-50% according to reports from The British Sports Council. Even more astounding, the British Royal Society has observed height increases in adults who take pollen.
Antti Lananaki, coach of the Finnish track team that wowed spectators at the 1972 Olympics, revealed, ‘Most of our athletes take pollen food supplements. Our studies show it significantly improves their performance. There have been no negative results since we have been supplying pollen to our athletes.’ When you blend bee pollen in your next smoothie, take a moment to appreciate how it was made – it takes one bee working eight hours a day for a month to gather one teaspoon of bee pollen pellets! For those who are new to pollen trying starting with a low dose - ¼ of a teaspoon - and work up from there. Allergic reactions are rare but can include itching, burning and difficulty breathing. This beautiful Deluxe Acai Bowl recipe from the amazing Green Kitchen Stories makes for the most amazing start to the day and with a little sprinkling of bee pollen it tastes extra delicious!