Bee Pollen is the seed of a flower blossom, which has been gathered by bees and to which special digestive enzymes and nectar from the bees has been added. Pollen is the bee’s source of protein, where honey is their source of carbohydrate. The pollen is brought back to the hive and stored in the honeycomb cells for use later to feed the young. The pollen undergoes a fermentation process in the hive that preserves it allows it to last forever in the hive. Bee pollen out of the beehive should be kept cold (frozen) or dried at a low drying temperature, which helps to keep the enzymes alive as most enzymes are destroyed by heat.
In its attempt to collect its pollen, a bee lands on the chosen flower and begins transferring it from the flower into its pollen sacs. These “sacs” are in fact a crevice in the knees of the back legs (hence bee pollen’s nickname of Bees Knees) and it is just compacted into this crevice forming a pellet. It takes a bee approx one hour to collect these pellets, which are approx. 20 mgs, each containing up to five million pollen spores, each spore capable of reproducing its entire species. Therefore one teaspoon of bee pollen contains about 1200 pellets or about 2.5 billion grains of pollen. To collect pollen from the beehive for human consumption, beekeepers attach a collection tray to the hive that upon arrival back to the hive, the bee passes through a screen large enough for the bee that knocks off the pollen pellets that stick out beyond the bee’s profile. This pollen is frozen or dried for storage. Pollen is best consumed within one of year of its collection for optimum potency.
Bee Pollen is a protein, a complete protein and is the only known food to contain all 22 amino acids, which includes all eight of the essential amino acids needed by the body that we do not produce ourselves in our system. As pollen is a complete protein, it is an excellent protein to include in your diet if you are looking to supplement your protein intake or replace other proteins in the case of the vegetarian diet. Bee pollen has more protein per gram than any meat or fish. Most protein “powders” used to add to a drink or shake mixture are generally a single type of protein (whey or albumen). Bee pollen is easy to add to the same drink but you are getting a complete protein rather than an isolated protein.
Bee Pollen has a sweet grainy flavour that suits pairing up with cereals or other grains but the flavour (and colours) is directly related to the flower the pollen has come from. Incorporation of bee pollen into your diet can be achieved in several ways. Simply, it can be taken straight by the spoonful followed by a drink of fluid at which point it will dissolve or it can be mixed with a serving of honey. Also, it can be added to cereal or granola, sprinkled on toast, blended into juice or health shakes, mixed into salads or sprinkled on sandwiches or ice cream. One teaspoon to one tablespoon per day seems to be a common recommendation although much more is reported to only increase the benefits. It is detrimental to the components of bee pollen to heat it and therefore cooking or baking with bee pollen is not recommended.
Although the individual pollen spores have a hard coating, this coating is porous, the body can extract the components through this coating and has been clinically tested to show that orally ingested bee pollen particles are rapidly and easily absorbed and pass directly from the stomach into the blood stream. Within two hours after ingestion, properties of bee pollen are found in the blood, in cerebral spinal fluids and in the urine.
As the effects of bee pollen will only be evident after a period of time with regular, constant consumption, it is essential to incorporate into your daily diet.
It is also recommended to take bee pollen in the morning or more specifically, before your daily activities begin (rather than at the end of your day) due to the increased level of energy experienced after taking bee pollen. For weight management, it is recommended to have your daily pollen 30 minutes before eating a meal for weight loss and 30 minutes after a meal for weight gain.
Vitamins and minerals are present in Bee pollen but their content depends largely on the flower the pollen comes from. In particular, bee pollen contains all the B vitamins (this group of vitamins being more effective to us if taken all at once rather than isolated) and contains Rutin, which does not exist in many plants.
Bee Pollen has been documented to help relieve seasonal allergies. For this purpose, the pollen consumed should be from a local source to your general location. The pollens that people who suffer from allergies react to are not the same pollens that bees collect. The ones we react to are referred to as wind pollen (anemophile) and the pollen bees collect is entomophile pollen (not the wind variety). There enough similarities between all pollens that the consumption of bee pollen throughout the year allows your body to build an immunity to the pollens that are cast off into the wind and cause your allergic reaction.
Other conditions relieved by the use of bee pollen include
- prostate irregularities (connected to the amount of zinc in pollen and the absorption of zinc is aided by the pollen),
- low blood pressure,
- pre-menstrual syndrome and menopause,
- skin conditions, counteracts the effects of radiation and chemical toxicity.
- Body and mind functions improved with bee pollen include focus, feeling of well-being, alertness, sexual desire and performance and athletic endurance.
Some side effects are allergic reactions like itchy throat, wheezing, coughing, hives, and skin flushing. Err on the side of caution. Severe allergic responses are also possible including anaphylactic shock.
I use bee pollen grains and dissolve in water. I prefer this, and have 3tsps early morning before food. I buy from Harvest Moon Superfoods through ebay but you can contact then direct to source