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One of nature’s healthiest foods prepared by the humble busy bee

August 19, 2010


One of nature’s healthiest foods prepared by the humble busy bee

The last places many of us would ever look to find any type of food would be flowers or insects. However, one of the most recent functional food discoveries may put an end to that. Scientists have found that bee pollen may turn out to be one of the most nutritionally complete foods out there. Bee pollen is produced when bees collect regular pollen from flowers, deposit them in their hives, and infuse them with honey, nectar, and special enzymes, which act together to fortify the pollen with nutrients while preserving them for future consumption.

Bee pollen is the dust-size male seed found on the stamen of any flower blossom. The pollen collects on the legs of honeybees as they move from flower to flower. The bees secrete a number of enzymes into the pollen. Pollen is usually collected commercially by placing a special device at the entrance of beehives that brushes the substance from their hind legs into a collection receptacle.

What makes bee pollen so special is that it packs a lot of nutrients in a tiny package that contains few calories and no fat. It’s rich in Vitamin B complex that boosts the body’s energy levels, allowing us to tackle the challenges of everyday life with more vigor. Additional energy is added by its rich carbohydrate content, which makes up about 55% of bee pollen. It also contains the powerful antioxidants vitamins C and E, which protect our cells from the damage brought about by age, stress, and other environmental factors.

Bee pollen is among the oldest known dietary supplements. Its use as a rejuvenator and medicine date back to the early Egyptians and ancient Chinese. It has been called many things, from a fountain of youth to an “ambrosia of the gods.” The Greek physician Hippocrates, sometimes called the father of modern medicine, used it as a healing substance 2,500 years ago. It is rich in vitamins, especially B vitamins, and contains trace amounts of minerals, elements, amino acids , and enzymes.

The pollen is composed of 55% carbohydrates, 35% protein, 3% minerals and vitamins, 2% fatty acids, and 5% other substances. It contains very small amounts of many substances considered to be antioxidants, including betacarotene, vitamins C and E, lycopene, selenium, and flavonoids.

Scientists have also observed that the addition of bee pollen to a person’s diet results in a dramatic reduction in blood triglyceride and bad cholesterol levels. This is a key factor in reducing the incidence of strokes and reducing the chances of developing heart problems in the future. Other components of our blood, such as oxygen carrying red blood cells and infection fighting white blood cells experience a boost in their numbers when bee pollen is consumed. The way bee pollen lowers blood cholesterol also contributes to weight control. Bee pollen is rich in the substance lecithin, which works to dissolve and then flush fat out from the body. Another way that it can help dieters lose weight is by suppressing appetite and eliminating any food cravings. Bee pollen contains a substance called phenylalanine, which influences the control center in our brain that signals our body when it is full or hungry. By suppressing the hunger signal, we crave and consume less food, which is a boon to dieters or people who wish to maintain their figure.

Another of bee pollen’s amazing health benefits is its ability to prevent and fight off cancer. Bee pollen somehow inhibits the growth and development of tumor cells, and can boost our immune function to help fight off the disease. These effects have been demonstrated time and time again in a number of scientific trials conducted on both laboratory animals and human volunteers.

The tiny bee pollen particles are easy to consume on their own, with one tablespoonful of it being enough o provide you with your daily nutritional needs. Those gourmands looking for an exotic yet healthy ingredient with which to jazz up their recipes and add more nutrition can sprinkle them on salads, soups, and beverages.


It takes about two hours for bee pollen to be absorbed into the bloodstream. The recommended dosages for preventative purposes are an eighth to a quarter teaspoon of granules once a day to start, gradually increasing over a month to one to two teaspoons, one to three times a day. The dosage for short-term therapeutic use is 3/8-3/4 teaspoon to start, increasing to three to six teaspoons, one to three times a day.

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