Diet and Exercise
Today I’d like to share information on one of nature’s most nearly perfect foods…bee pollen.
There are actually two types of pollen. “Anemophile” pollen causes allergic reactions such as hay fever, and includes grasses, cereal crops, rag weed, trees and about 12% of the world’s flowering plants. This kind of pollen is dispersed in the air, from plant to plant. “Entomophile” pollen is especially, but not only of flowering plants, and is distributed by insects. This type of pollination makes possible the production of more than 80% of the world’s grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
When entomoplile pollen is collected for human consumption, “pollen traps” are placed on honeybee hives. Did you know bees are the only insect in the world that make food that humans can eat…honey?
Pollen traps have small openings that bees must crawl through to enter the hive. As these foragers squeeze through, pollen is scraped from their bodies and falls into a tray for removal by the beekeeper. It is then sifted, dried, frozen, then ready for sale. Bees actually eat some of this pollen in the form of “bee bread”. Bee bread is a mixture of pollen, honey or nectar, and bee saliva, and is the main source of food for honeybee workers and larvae (baby bees).
Bee pollen isn’t just nutritious for bees, it’s a super food for humans (also dogs, cats and even horses) as well. In fact, I tell folks, if I had to take just one supplement, I would choose bee pollen.
Here are a few amazing bee pollen facts.
- Contains over 250 biologically active substances.
Bee pollen holds protein (33%), carbohydrates, lipids, fatty acids, vitamins, (including pro vitamin A, and vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, D and E), minerals (including calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, silicon and selenium), enzymes, and antioxidants. In fact, 5% of bee pollen’s ingredients have never been identified. That’s what many researchers believe, gives bee pollen its nutritional punch. In fact, you could consume just bee pollen and water for years, and have no nutritional deficiencies.
- Lower high blood lipids (triglycerides) and LDL (bad) cholesterol.
In one study of individuals with nearsightedness caused by coronary occlusion (clogged arteries), bee pollen supplements lowered blood cholesterol levels, which actually increased their field of vision.
- May have anticancer properties
Test-tube studies have found bee pollen extracts inhibit tumor growth and stimulate apoptosis (removal of precancerous cells by the body) in prostate, colon and leukemic cancers. Also, pollen from cistus and white willow flowers may have anti-estrogen properties, lowering the risk for breast, prostate and uterine cancers.
- Boost immunity.
Bee pollen can reduce the severity and onset of allergies by reducing the activity of “mast” cells. Mast cells, when activated, release chemicals that can trigger allergic reactions.
- Help wound healing and prevent infection.
Bee pollen’s antimicrobial properties may prevent infections. In fact, one study showed bee pollen extract was similarly effective at treating burn wounds as “silver sulfadiazine”, a topical antibiotic, and the gold standard in burn treatment, with fewer side effects.
- Boost liver function.
The liver is a vital organ that breaks down toxins and removes them from the blood. Bee pollen may enhance its detoxifying abilities. Animal studies show bee pollen boosts the liver’s antioxidant defense, as well as encouraging liver healing.
- Anti-inflammatory properties.
Bee pollen includes several compounds that reduce inflammation and swelling, including the antioxidant “quercetin”, which lowers the production of inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids, such as “arachidonic acid”.
I recommend folks begin taking bee pollen slowly. Any bee product could cause allergic reactions in some folks. Start by placing a couple of bee pollen granules under your tongue to test for sensitivity, like sneezing, itching, swelling, rash or flushing. If you experience any allergic reaction, seek medical help. If no allergic reaction occurs, gradually increase to one to two teaspoons a day, or more. Pollen granules (being plant based) do have cell walls, so chew for better nutrient absorption. Just because you have pollen allergies doesn’t mean you can’t take bee pollen (remember “anemophile” pollen causes allergic reactions).
The best bee pollen I’ve found is produced by a company called Y.S. Organics. It can be found locally at Nature’s Storehouse.
Questions? Contact David at firstname.lastname@example.org