Have you tried bee pollen yet? The crumbly yellow bits graced the top of an acaí bowl I ordered years ago, introducing me to the marvelous natural superfood that has a bevvy of jaw-dropping benefits.
What Is Bee Pollen?
Yellow, crumbly, and honey-like in flavour, bee pollen is the dried part of "bee bread" from the honeycomb. Bees can collect pollen from one plant source or several, leading to subtle variations in colour and sometimes flavour. It can be eaten or applied topically, as it is present in some skin-softening eczema-treating products.
What Are the Health Benefits?
According to WebMD, bee pollen is nutritious, but some of the naturopathic benefits haven't been backed by scientific studies yet. However, we did manage to find several studies that backed up many of these naturopathic claims. Bee pollen has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries and could have some pretty phenomenal effects on your health.
- Tons of vitamins and minerals: Some bee pollen benefits are nutrition-based — it has vitamins B1, B2, B6, and C and a little bit of A, E, and D. Bee pollen is also high in protein, essential amino acids, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, manganese, and selenium.
- Anti-inflammatory: One study (and many anecdotal accounts) showed that bee pollen is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
- Anti-hot-flash: Reading another study uncovered that this powerful little granule can alleviate menopause symptoms.
- Stamina, energy, and performance: Bee pollen has been said to enhance athletic performance and boost energy (this makes sense, given the B vitamin content).
- Weight loss: Because it has been known to decrease appetite and curb cravings — perhaps due to natural phenylalanine content, a natural appetite-suppressor — bee pollen supplements may be able to help with weight loss. It might also be a metabolism booster.
- Anti-addiction: There aren't too many studies around this just yet, but several holistic sites and blogs have indicated that bee pollen is addiction- and craving-suppressing, and it has been used as a supplement in naturopathy to treat different forms of addiction, including alcoholism.
- Immunity boost: It offers antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and antimicrobial activity — the perfect combination to help you fight a cold.
- Allergy relief: Several studies have shown that bee pollen can significantly help with allergies and curb symptoms.
- Stress relief: With high magnesium and B vitamin content, it's no surprise that bee pollen can help relieve stress.
- Better digestion: Some sites have claimed that the enzyme content in bee pollen has helped aid digestion.
- Cancer help: In terms of treatment, patients have even felt reduced side effects of chemotherapy. The antioxidant properties of bee pollen could also help prevent cancer.
- Burn relief: Applied topically, bee pollen can help a wound or burn heal quickly, thanks to antimicrobial activity and high vitamin and mineral content.
WebMD warned that pregnant women should NOT use bee pollen and should avoid it when breastfeeding as well — possible dehydration side effects and unknown organisms in the pollen may be the reason for this warning.
How Do You Eat It?
While I've most frequently seen it atop acaí bowls, you can also blend it into a smoothie, mix it into your honey or yoghurt, incorporate it into a protein ball or granola, sprinkle it on your salad, or top your toast with it. Alternatively, you can take it as a supplement; you can get the granules, capsules, powder, or liquid at most health food and natural stores or online.