It is time for goji berries and chia seeds to step aside because there is a new superfood on the block: bee pollen. This is one of the most nutrient dense foodstuffs in the world, packed with everything that is good for you. And if recent studies are to be believed then it could also provide you with an array of health benefits.
Nutritional Values of Bee Pollen
There are a few things worth noting where the nutritional value of bee pollen is concerned. On the one hand, it is truly a superfood, and one that comes packed with over 250 nutrients. On the other hand, however, you need to consume quite a lot of it in order to get anywhere near your recommend daily dose.
There’s nothing wrong with a little of what’s good for you though, so take a look at these nutrient values of bee pollen:
Bee Pollen Nutrition per 100 grams
- Calories: 295
- Fat: 5 grams
- Carbohydrates: 45 grams – of which sugars: 28 grams
- Fiber: 5 grams
- Protein: 15 grams
- Folic Acid: 325%
- Biotin: 120%
- Copper: 80%
- Vitamin B6: 35%
- Vitamin C: 39%
- Vitamin E: 66%
- Niacin: 57%
- Riboflavin: 114%
*Percentages based on average adult diet of 2000 kcals a day
Bee Pollen for Weight Loss
There are a few ways in which bee pollen might be beneficial for weight loss. Animal studies have shown that it can aid with muscle protein and energy metabolism in severe calorie restricted diets. There are also suggestions that it can help to regulate hormones, potentially curbing the appetite.
The fact that it contains amino acids has led to suggestions that it can increase metabolism and burn fat at a greater rate, but amino acids are not magical fat burners and it seems unlikely that bee pollen would help in this regard. It can certainly improve overall nutrition and wellbeing during a weight loss program, but it’s probably not going to help with that program directly.
More Benefits of Bee Pollen
There are a few suggested benefits of bee pollen, including an improved immune system. Very few of these have been substantiated, but if we focus on the nutritional values of bee pollen then it would be safe to say that it could be highly beneficial with regards to skin and hair health. That’s because B vitamins like biotin, B6 and niacin all play an important role in keeping your skin and hair healthy and they can be found in abundance in pollen.
In fact, vitamin C and E, as well as riboflavin, folic acid and even copper may also play a role in hair and skin health and they are also key vitamins and minerals found in this substance. If you put all of that together then you have a potentially very powerful substance when it comes to keeping your hair, skin and immune system healthy.
Just make sure you actually eat it, as slathering it on your hair in the form of shampoo or rubbing it on your skin in some kind of cream or oil is not going to do you many favors.
Bee Pollen Dosage
There is no suggested dosage of bee pollen because it is not diagnosed to cure or treat an illness and there is no real upper limit with regards to how much is safe to consume for an individual who is not allergic. It would be akin to asking what the suggested dosage of honey is.
In terms of how much you need to notice any positive health benefits, it’s really how much you want to take. A single teaspoon will be more than enough to give you trace amounts of many vitamins and minerals and to move you closer to your RDA for others.
Some proponents of this substance take as many as 6 teaspoons a day, sprinkling it into smoothies, adding it to tea (from strong Earl Grey and Darjeeling, to herbal teas like Hibiscus) and generally looking for all possible ways to work it into their daily diet. Because of it’s high sugar content, caution is advised with diabetics, but only when large amounts are consumed and with single teaspoon doses it should be well tolerated by all.
How to Consume Pollen
Begin with half a teaspoon a day. If this is well tolerated, increase to 1 teaspoon and then advance from there to whatever dose you feel is comfortable. It’s high in carbs, so it’s not recommended for low-carb diets, but it is also a good source of protein, not to mention an array of beneficial nutrients.
You can add it to hot drinks (we like it with Greek Mountain Tea because of the added benefits, as well as ginseng and camomile), sprinkle it on foods or, if you’re feeling brave, just toss it onto your mouth and chew. It doesn’t have the best taste and is nothing like honey. But it’s certainly not horrible and is likely to be a far cry from many other medicinal substances you have consumed in the past.
Bee Pollen Side Effects
It’s a basic foodstuff, so there should be no bee pollen side effects if you are in good health and do not have any allergies or intolerances. However, caution is advised with diabetics (although it should be better tolerated than refined sugar) and it should be avoided at all costs by anyone with a pollen allergy.
This really should go without saying, but if you breakout in hives at the mere mention of pollen spores, then eating spoonfuls of the stuff is clearly not going to do you any favors. It can cause everything from shortness of breath to convulsions and many other unpleasant side effects.
Where to Find Bee Pollen
You can find bee pollen in many health food stores, including online health shops. No two bee pollen brands are the same so it’s worth putting some extra effort in to make sure you get a higher quality product. We would recommend opting for an organic bee pollen from a region known for producing great honey, such as Spain, France, Greece or Germany. We have tried pollen from these regions and are rarely disappointed.
We can’t really speak for the differences in flavor found across the many different types of pollen simply because we’re not lovers of the taste and try our best to mask it. However, there does seem to be a noticeable difference in the way it smells. In most cases, bee pollen is not sold as anything specific, so if the seller makes an effort to tell you where it comes from there’s a good chance you’re getting a better quality product.