Bee pollen could be one of the healthiest superfoods in the world. It is increasingly attracting attention from the health food community because of its dense nutrient profile and the many supposed benefits that it can provide.
We will look at the benefits of bee pollen in this guide, asking if it can help with everything from weight loss to allergies or if these are based on only anecdotal evidence.
Bee Pollen Benefits
There are a number of benefits to consuming bee pollen. It is actually recognised as a medicine in Germany and is consumed as an alternative medicine elsewhere. One of the main benefits of this substance is that it is loaded with antioxidants, packing a powerful punch that can rival any herbal tea, even Greek mountain tea, which you can buy here.
Antioxidants are great for many reasons, including the potential they have for preventing cancer and other chronic diseases. We know a diet rich in antioxidants can reduce the chance of developing such diseases, so regular consumption of bee pollen may be able to help with that.
And because it’s a versatile substance that can be added to other foods and teas, it’s easier to give yourself an antioxidant boost. You can use it to flavour a herbal tea or green tea; you can sprinkle it onto a superfood porridge or smoothie.
While honey is mostly sugar, bee pollen is considerably less sweet and has a more rounded nutrient composition.
It contains roughly:
- 30% Carbs
- 26% Sugars
- 33% Protein
- 5% Fat
- 2% Phytonutrients
- 4% Minerals and Vitamins
That may not seem like a great deal of minerals and vitamins, but it’s a significant percentage for any foodstuff. To give you a better idea, take a look at what 100g of bee pollen will give you:
- 314 Calories
- 24g of Protein
- 7.7g of Dietary Fiber
- 83% Vitamin C*
- 80% Copper
- 52% Riboflavin
- 37% Zinc
- 35% Iron
- 24% Thiamin
- 23% Niacin
- 13% Magnesium
- 8% Calcium
*Values based on recommend daily allowance for a 2,500-calorie diet.
There are also many other vitamins and minerals in small amounts and trace amounts.
General Health Benefits
We will look at specific bee pollen benefits below, discussing the positive results from human and animal studies, as well as anecdotal evidence. But even if we dismiss all of that and focus on bee pollen for only its nutritional content, it’s still a compound that can help with overall health and wellbeing.
Anything that contains that many nutrients and is low in fat, sodium, and refined sugars is always going to be good for you. What’s more, it seems to possess some of the antimicrobial properties also found in honey, and it doesn’t spike your insulin or give you a massive dose of simple carbs like honey does.
Bee Pollen for Weight Loss
Some have suggested that bee pollen can aid with weight loss, but besides some basic animal studies that were only indirectly connected to weight loss, there isn’t much to go off.
We have heard claims that it can speed up the metabolism because it contains amino acids, but if that were the case then whey protein powder would be a far more effective weight-loss agent—and we know that simply isn’t true. The truth is, bee pollen probably isn’t going to help you lose weight, but it can certainly give you a nutrient boost when you are dieting. If you are depriving yourself of food groups in order to drop pounds, then this could be key.
Bee Pollen and Allergies
One of the most interesting alleged benefits of bee pollen concerns the reduction of allergy symptoms. But before you start dosing with it to help with allergies, you should wait for more studies to be done on this matter or at least consult your doctor first. Depending on the severity of your allergy and what you are allergic to, bee pollen may actually make the situation worse. Its story is similar to royal jelly’s, which we have discussed in greater detail here.
What Else is Bee Pollen Good for?
If we look at the animal studies and at anecdotal evidence, then bee pollen may be able to help with everything from preventing liver toxicity and aiding with liver health, to boosting the immune system and reducing inflammation.
The anti-inflammation aspect of this substance is something that can help even more when used in conjunction with other anti-inflammatory compounds, such as in a herbal tea (dandelion tea and nettle tea, for instance).
It may also be able to relieve menopausal symptoms, as a study conducted in Germany in 2015 found that it could ease some of the pains and discomfort felt during menopause when given to patients undergoing anti-hormonal treatment following breast cancer.
That’s a very specific subset of patients, but the way it was able to reduce their symptoms suggests something could be there for other women going through this stage of life. At the very least, it is something worth trying.
Granules or Pills?
The best way to consume bee pollen is in granule form, which is its most natural form. You can add it to food or drinks, and it’s very easy to consume and potentially very healthy, as well. The recommended daily intake is up to 5 tbsp per day of bee pollen for adults and 1 or 2 for children. But because it’s natural and safe, you should be okay consuming larger amounts if you do not have allergies and are otherwise healthy.
How to Eat It
If you are not a big fan of the taste, then you can simply add it to a smoothie or a hot drink. In the case of smoothies, you may be able to feel the granules in your mouth, but the taste shouldn’t be as strong. Where hot drinks are concerned, the granules will dissolve in the drink (for the most part) but the taste will be stronger as it disperses throughout the beverage.
Try a few different options and see what suits you best—just make sure you keep using the bee pollen in its natural form and not in tablet or capsule form.