SIMPLY ESSENTIAL: Bee Pollen

HISTORY + WHY WE LOVE IT

Bee pollen consists of small, golden granules that are sweet in taste. It is collected from bees while gathering nectar for honey, and is packed within the hive to be used as food for young bees. Used by humans for its health benefits for hundreds of years,  it was considered to be a remedy for various ailments by the Chinese, Romans, Egyptians and eaten during long journeys by Native Americans to maintain high energy levels. Today, bee pollen is considered to be one of nature’s best superfoods. Today it is used in for many purposes including, supporting the immune system, boosting energy levels, slowing the aging process, reducing seasonal allergies, and preventing colds and the flu.

Just a single tablespoon contains 35% protein, 55% carbohydrate, 2% fatty acids, antioxidants flavonoids, carotenoids, enzymes, vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, K, and various minerals.

Four interesting and beneficial qualities:

  • First: Bee pollen is a great source of protein. Nearly half of its protein content is in the form of free amino acids, which means it can immediately be used by the body. It is a richer source of protein than many animal sources.
  • Second: Bee pollen is one of the richest sources of vitamins in a single food. It is especially high in B-complex vitamins, which play a number of vital roles in the body including energy production. In fact, bee pollen is one of few non-animal sources of vitamin B12.
  • Third: Bee pollen is a rich source of antioxidants, including lycopene, selenium, quercetin, and beta carotene. Antioxidants are important for protecting the body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals- which we encounter every day from the air we breathe and the food we eat.
  • Fourth: Bee pollen contains a number of enzymes including amylase, diastase, phosphatase, pepsin and trypsin. These enzymes are important for a number of critical bodily functions. Due to pollen’s high enzyme content, it is beneficial for promoting metabolism and digestion.

DESCRIPTION

Bee pollen is [mostly] found in 3 forms:

  1. Granules
  2. Tablets or pills
  3. Capsules

In its raw form, bee pollen granules are minimally processed compared to the other forms. As mentioned above, these granules tend to be golden in color and sweet in taste. The pollen is best consumed raw, since a majority of its nutrients are preserved this way. This superfood can be found in most health food stores and farmer’s markets. However, it is important to look for pollen that comes from pesticide-free plants and suppliers that are reputable.

HOW TO STORE

It is best to buy bee pollen in smaller quantities since it loses its potency fairly quickly at room temperature. Pollen is best stored in arefrigerator. But a cool, dark place is also okay. For longer storage periods, Freezing the pollen is a good option.

USES

Though bee pollen is available in several forms, we recommend consuming it in its raw form in order to take full advantage of its many health benefits. It can be sprinkled on salads, yogurt, oatmeal, soups, or blended into your favorite dressing or smoothie. Never heat it, since this damages its nutrient content. It can also be taken alone at a dose of 1-2 tablespoons daily. It is recommended to begin slowly by starting with ¼ teaspoon daily, and gradually increasing your dosage to 1-2 tablespoons. [If you are allergic to bees or honey, please be caution and talk to your doctor before consuming bee pollen.]

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