Bee pollen is yellowish to orange in color and comes in the form of small pellets or granules. Bees collect pollen because of its high nutritional value. Bee pollen provides all the essential nutrients for the growth and development of bees. However, besides being beneficial to bees, bee pollen is also believed to benefit humans. It has been used to enhance memory, energy and performance, although, there is no scientific proof of its authenticity.
Before heading to its health benefits, let's have a look at the nutritional value of bee pollen.
Bee Pollen Nutrition Information
Bee pollen is high in protein, low in fat and sodium. It is also a storehouse of oils, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, hormones, enzymes, polypeptides, peptones, globulins, high concentration of nucleic acids and several antibiotic substances. It is this nutritional factory that makes bee pollen such a nutritional item.
Is Bee Pollen Nature's Perfect Food?
Being rich in essential nutrients, bee pollen is touted to be 'nature's perfect food', however, is bee pollen really that great? The American Food and Drug Administration does not back any of the so-called 'health benefits' of bee pollen. Moreover, scientifically none of the claims have been proven. So whatever facts about bee pollen are floating around, are personal opinions of people. How much is true is not known. Nevertheless, let us have a look at some of the health benefits of bee pollen that are spreading like wildfire.
Anemia Healer: Bee pollen intake is believed to raise the count of red and white blood cells in the body. Thus, when given to anemic patients, levels of hemoglobin have been observed to increase.
Protein Provider: Bee pollen consists of 20 to 35% protein, of which more than half is in the form of free amino acids. Free amino acids are easy to assimilate at the cellular level. This readily available form of protein is a great protein source for the body.
Builds resistance to Allergies: Since, bee pollen normally contains traces of components capable of triggering allergies, it is believed by some allergists that taking some bee pollen will help reduce sensitivity levels to local plant pollens. Bee pollen ingestion can help boost one's immune system and get rid of seasonal allergy symptoms. However, this claim has no scientific backing. Moreover, even if one wants to try it out, it should be strictly done only as per the instructions of the medical practitioner.
Natural Energizer: Bee pollen furnishes the body with natural energy, that provides great vitality and energy. It is believed that bee pollen is nutritionally loaded unlike any food on the planet. Lots of people these days eat a processed diet, which is devoid of essential nutrients. By consuming bee pollen, one is actually indirectly consuming the nutrients lacking in the body.
Antioxidant Properties: Bee pollen contains polyphenols or bioflavonoids, which are characterized by antioxidant properties. Antioxidants destroy the free radicals formed as a result of metabolism, which are potential cell-damaging radicals. Scientists have stated that bee pollen contains the highest concentration of antioxidants, as compared to any food source known to man. Antioxidants help prevent cancer, however, do not believe any of the claims that say bee pollen can cure cancer. This is not true!
Weight Loss Properties: Bee pollen supplement manufacturers and promoters say bee pollen has appetite suppressing and metabolism increasing properties, which help lose weight. The lecithin content is believed to be the one responsible for the pollen's calorie burning properties. However, how far is this fact true? Can bee pollen really help get rid of those unwanted flabs? Well, this claim has not been scientifically proven, so it is very difficult to say if bee pollen's weight loss properties are a myth or not! Scores of different kinds of bee pollen weight loss pills are available in the market today. However, think ten times before devouring them.
Vitamins and Mineral Content: Bee pollen is known to contain about 25 minerals and 18 vitamins. Moreover, bee pollen is also touted to be the richest food source of vitamins known today. So does this mean, we can depend on bee pollen for our daily vitamin intake? Well, no! People who take bee pollen supplements cannot compromise on a healthy diet. In addition to a balanced diet, bee pollen can be taken and definitely not as a substitute.
Bee Pollen for Athletes: Bee pollen is believed to be an excellent energy provider and stamina builder. It is also known to give strength and endurance, which is why it is readily embraced by athletes. Again, its connection with athletic performance has not yet been verified or scientifically proven.
Bee pollen is also known to conduce to severe allergic reactions. Small amounts of bee pollen, even less than one teaspoon can trigger serious reactions such as anaphylaxis in people. Thus, people with pollen allergies should refrain from ingesting bee pollen.
One must be extremely cautious while purchasing bee pollen supplements, because most of the supplements sold are imported from countries like China, where the pollution levels are extremely high. Even those collected from Michigan, USA are contaminated with air and water pollutants. Only New Zealand produces organic, pesticide-free pollen. So if you purchase bee pollen supplements, ensure it is from New Zealand or from a GMP-compliant facilities which have certificate of analysis (COA) for every batch produced.
You may hear different things about bee pollen, such as its amazing healing properties for medical conditions like asthma, allergies, digestive problems, etc. However, before resorting to bee pollen, make sure you consult your health care provider. Moreover, to be on the safe side pregnant and breastfeeding women should stay away from bee pollen. People with allergies should refrain from ingesting bee pollen as well.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.