Bee pollen has been known to be beneficial in Eastern cultures for decades. However, Western medicine is just recently discovering its hidden benefits. These magical golden granules are gaining popularity as research claims that they help with weight loss, as well as seasonal allergies. How true is this?
What Is Bee Pollen?
Bee pollen, also commonly known as bee bread, is plant pollen. Honeybees pick this up and bring it back to the hive so that the colony can feed off it and gain nourishment. Science shows that while bee pollen is beneficial, its nutrition is based on which plant it was taken from.
Usually, bee pollen is taken as a supplement or a topping in oatmeal, cereal, and even an acai bowl. Bee pollen has a good balance of fat, protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and carbs. A single tablespoon is made up of 7 grams of carbs and 1 gram of fiber. All in all, it only has 40 calories. Some forms of bee protein contain more than two grams of protein in every tablespoon. This amounts to the same amount of protein found in chicken or beef. Interestingly, a tablespoon of bee pollen has 2.5 billion pollen granules.
Bee pollen has an abundance of vitamins, making it fall high in the category of good food. It is a nutrient powerhouse that contains a total of eighteen different vitamins. This includes amino acids, B complex, fatty acids, enzymes, and RNA/DNA nucleic acids.
Health Benefits Of Bee Pollen
Science has recently started to dig out the health benefits of bee pollen as various tests have been conducted on animals. Further clinical trials are still in process, but there are some definite health benefits of bee pollen.
Bee Pollen Is Loaded With Nutrients
Research conducted by the University of Rochester Medical Center shows that bee pollen contains loads of essential minerals, vitamins, and amino acids.
Even though the nutritious qualities of bee pollen depend on the plant it was extracted from, the organic bee pollen from Portugal is said to have 67.7 percent of carbohydrates, 21.8 percent of protein, 5.2 percent fat, and 2.9 percent ash.
The flavonoids in bee pollen have been found to help control blood sugar and aid vascular health.
Bee Pollen Helps Reduce Symptoms Of Allergy
Pollen is commonly used to alleviate seasonal allergies. Have you ever wondered why? Honey contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help control infections. Proof of this belief comes from tests conducted on rodents.
According to a 2018 study found in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, mice and rats were given bee pollen phenolic extract to deal with ovalbumin-induced allergic reactions. It was found that bee pollen helped lower IgG1 and IgE antibodies found in rodents’ bodies- both of which have been found to cause symptoms of allergies. Due to the bee pollen, rodents did not suffer from anaphylactic shock.
Bee Pollen Is An Antioxidant
Research shows that just like fermented food items, bee pollen has several antioxidant qualities. Antioxidants are chemicals that are naturally found in plant-based food items. These food items include those that have a dark color, such as red. Fermented foods also have a high antioxidant content.
Here are some common antioxidants that you may have heard of:
- Commonly found in chocolate- Flavanols
- Commonly found in wine- Resveratrol
- Commonly found in tomatoes- Lycopene
- Vitamin A, C, and E
Antioxidants help keep the body healthy by reducing damage from environmental aggressors, such as air pollution, cigarette smoke, and chemicals found in the atmosphere.
Bee Pollen Helps Liver Health
According to a study conducted in 2016 found in the Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences, rats that suffered from liver damage were able to heal from liver damage after consuming bee pollen. Research shows that this is because bee pollen is loaded with antioxidant properties.
Another study conducted on rats in 2013 showed that bee pollen encouraged the healing of cells and ensured that liver cells did not face any oxidative stress. This proved that even after liver damage, bee pollen could help alleviate the healing process. Moreover, research shows that bee pollen cannot do any harm to the body.
Bee Pollen Helps Strengthen The Immune System
Without a strong immune system, the body is left vulnerable to infections, diseases, and illnesses. Hence, it is important to strengthen the immune system. One of the ways to do this is by the daily consumption of bee pollen.
Studies show that bee pollen is loaded with antifungal, antimicrobial, and antiviral components. Together, these help fight bacteria that invade the immune system, especially those that result in food poisoning and diarrhea.
Bee Pollen Lowers Cholesterol
Over time, research has shown that bee pollen extract can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels found in the body. LDL cholesterol is also known as bad cholesterol.
According to Nutrients, a study was conducted on mice given a diet full of fat to increase the buildup of fatty acid on their artery walls. However, when these mice were given bee pollen regularly, their chances of getting atherosclerosis were low.
Things To Keep In Mind
Even though bee pollen has loads of benefits to the human body, it must be kept in mind that it could cause an allergic reaction, including dizziness, nausea, wheezing, as well as vomiting. Those who are allergic to honey could also experience facial swelling, lightheadedness, difficulty swallowing, and shortness of breath after consuming bee pollen.
Moreover, patients who have been prescribed warfarin by their general practitioner should not consume bee pollen. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), this could cause internal bleeding or bruising in the body, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH).
Before trying out bee pollen supplements or bee pollen in its natural form, check with your doctor to ensure that your previous medications do not interfere with its use. Moreover, it is not advised to use bee pollen when pregnant or breastfeeding.