The Buzz On Bee Pollen
One of the many positive attributes of the Beauty Detox Lifestyle is the way it naturally promotes a healthy metabolism. This is because it has been designed to continually cleanse and support your system, keeping it in optimal working condition.
An efficiently functioning metabolism allows your body to break down foods for energy and make the most of the nutrients you take in. This results in not just a lean body, but also the healthy expulsion of wastes, so that your skin looks more radiant, your eyes brighten and your overall energy becomes more magnetic.
A healthy metabolism is a positive feedback cycle that’s easy to develop when you eat the right whole, natural foods.
Bee pollen is simply an awesome Beauty Detox food to support you on this path. And I mean awesome! I’ve been a long-term fan of bee pollen, and started consuming it nearly daily ages ago. I even included it as one of my top 50 beauty foods in The Beauty Detox Foods. I started consuming it in NYC after my around the world trip as I read about it, but I was getting it at Wholefoods, and I found it be a little “wrinkly” and not the freshest of fresh (at least from the source I found back then). That all changed for me when I found a local bee keeper at the farmer’s market. The difference in the fresh pollen, as far as taste, looks (full-bodied pellets and not wrinkled at all!) and I believe, nutritional content, was incomparable. I became a pollen junkie from then on, and have always gotten my pollen from farmers’ markets…something I also encourage you to do if at all possible. If not, then experiment with the best you can find at local health markets, or what you can find that ships online.
What makes bee pollen so magical? Well to start, those tiny little golden beads are a wonderful source of protein. They are also packed with valuable amino acids, including choline and phenylalanine, which help to control hunger and appetite. They are also packed with vitamins, including B vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
I’ve found that consuming bee pollen is so nutritionally complete that it even helps my hunger levels stay consistent, and it definitely helps balance cravings.
Studies show that diets containing bee pollen have effectively increased metabolism and helped improve muscle mass, so it is definitely a valuable part of your meal plan when striving for healthy weight loss and control.
Its effectiveness in this regard is attributable both to the lecithin content and the fact that the nutrients in the product actually do increase the body’s metabolic rate, helping to enhance the fat burning properties of lecithin.
Lecithin is actually a fat itself, but we know that all fats are not created equal! Remember: healthy fats will help burn fat!
Not crappy, processed fats like trans fats of heated vegetable oils. Those are congestive, and unfortunately very aging. :(
But right now let’s talk about more of the positive stuff!
Where does bee pollen come from?
Bees are truly the most magnificent little creatures, providing us with a number of products that we can use to keep our bodies healthy and strong.
Most of us love the raw honey that the bees produce from the nectar they collect as they move from flower to flower, but never even considered that as they go about their work, the pollen from those flowers will collect on the hairs of their furry little bodies to be transferred to the next flower they visit, and so on.
As pollinators, bees are essential to the continuing health of our beautiful planet – absolutely irreplaceable contributors to the life cycle of flowering plants, making it possible for them to provide us with the nutritious fruits we eat and the life-giving oxygen we breathe.
This pollen that they are trudging through is collected and pushed toward the back of the bee’s body for transport, then brought back to the hive as the chief source of nutrition for the bees, providing them with valuable protein to fuel their little bodies as they go about their work.
And BOY, do they ever work! These tiny creatures will work an average of 12 hours each day, flying from 2 to 6 miles each way, back and forth from the nectar source, where they harvest as much as they can carry, then to the hive to off-load their precious cargo.
The bees carry the nectar for honey in a second stomach where it mixes with their own digestive enzymes before being deposited back in the hive, and the pollen is carried in special pollen comb or “pollen basket”on the rear leg of the bee where it is mixed with either honey or nectar to create the product we call “bee pollen” or “bee bread.”
Professional bee keepers fit the entrance to each comb with a pollen trap so that some of the granules will drop off into a cup as each bee enters the hive. This is how the pollen can be harvested without hurting the bee at all.
Note: Bee pollen does come from a bee, but a lot of vegans such as myself, will still consume bee pollen since it is a mix of their own fluids with the pollen of the land. After talking to my beekeeper, and seeing how lovingly he treats his bees, and hearing him explain that their very nature is to work, and it gives them purpose to be industrious…I feel good about consuming bee pollen. Of course, it is a personal choice and if you are a very strict vegan you might choose to avoid honey, but consider that bee pollen is produced differently, and consider it on those separate terms.
Also, do not confuse bee pollen with propolis, which is made from tree sap and works almost like a glue the bees use to seal up gaps or other unwanted spaces in the hive.
Although propolis has wonderful healing properties, bee pollen is one of nature’s most complete foods, absolutely bursting with an absolute bounty of nutrition.
Believe it or not, bee pollen contains most known nutrients, including practically all of the ones we humans need to survive.
Bee pollen is approximately 25% complete bioavailable protein (50% more protein by weight than beef), containing at least 18 amino acids. In addition, bee pollen provides more than a dozen vitamins, 28 minerals, 11 enzymes or co-enzymes, 14 beneficial fatty acids, 11 carbohydrates, and is rich in minerals.
While we never waste time counting calories, I must mention that the calorie profile of bee pollen truly qualifies it as a “nutrient dense” food.
Here are just a few of the ways bee pollen contributes to your health and beauty:
1 – Healthy Weight Loss – Bee pollen is rich in fat-burning amino acids like choline and phenylalanine. As your body burns fat, you don’t find yourself craving sugar.
With those cravings out of the way, you will find that your appetite is easier to control (and the B vitamins will definitely help reduce stress while they give your energy levels a welcome boost).
It is not a dramatic reduction by any means. But over time, you will begin to notice a steady, positive change.
Don’t misunderstand, there is nothing wrong with having a healthy appetite. It is just that in our fast-paced society, we tend toward the quick fix (usually empty carbs) to satisfy our hunger. Too often we are caught on the roller-coaster of spiking blood sugar followed by the inevitable crash an hour later.
*Bonus: The amino acid, Choline is also a wonder for headache sufferers, as even a small amount can trigger a positive result. If you suffer from migraines, you should definitely consider adding bee pollen to your daily regimen.
2 – Clear, Glowing Complexion – Bee pollen is rich in antioxidants and healthy fatty acids to support your smooth, beautiful skin and help fight free radicals which contribute to the development of fine lines and wrinkles.
Its high levels of collagen-repairing Vitamin C and skin-repairing vitamin E make it a valuable beauty food in your anti-aging diet. Because of its natural anti-inflammatory properties, it also helps combat puffiness – especially around the eyes, working to reduce the appearance of bags. As mentioned, the B vitamins help your body better contend with stress- which in an of itself is a contributor to accelerated aging.
Bee pollen has natural antibiotic properties, so it helps control and prevent blemishes. It also contains nucleic acids which help prevent premature aging of the tissue while promoting healthy new skin growth, keeping you looking younger and allowing your natural beauty to shine through!
Bee pollen is rich in wonderful beauty minerals like potassium and zinc which promote the development of healthy skin and can prevent wrinkles and stretch marks (which, let’s be honest, we ALL want to keep at bay!), while speeding blemish healing. Zinc also helps prevent brittle, peeling nails and hair loss. Potassium is also important for regulating fluid levels in our cells.
*TIP: Make a bee pollen mask! Mash together a tsp. of bee pollen, a Tbs. of raw honey, a tsp. of coconut milk (or coconut yogurt) and 1 Tbs. of avocado. Spread all over your face and neck and leave on for about 20 minutes. This amazing concoction will leave your skin feeling soft, velvety smooth, and glowing with your natural beauty!!
3 – Digestive Aid – Bee Pollen is a wonderful source for important enzymes which can aid in the healthy digestion of food.
Yes, our bodies have tens of thousands of different enzymes which help regulate pretty much every single metabolic function necessary to sustain life, but when we are talking about our digestion, there are a select few that are really crucial.
A lack of enzymes (ie not eating any Glowing Green Smoothie or having raw, fresh foods on a daily basis as part of your diet) can cause the body to compensate for this is by producing more hydrochloric acid in the stomach and increase the amount of amylase in the saliva. This is why, for many, food sits in the stomach and digestive tract for hours and begin the decomposition process before digestion is even complete. That is why enzyme-rich bee pollen can act as a fabulous digestive aid to speed digestion along!
4 – Immune System Booster – Bee Pollen is naturally probiotic and supports your own healthy gut flora, which is one way that it provides a healthy boost to your immune system.
The health of the entire hive depends on its hygienic condition, as an average of 50,000 bees must share this space with hundreds of developing offspring. Bee pollen, as the chief source of nutrition for these hard workers, provides them with antibacterial as well as antioxidant properties to help fight diseases and promote healthy development.
5- Detoxifier –In an important Viennese study, bee pollen was shown to counteract the effects that radiation and chemical pollutants have the immune system, significantly reducing the side-effects of both radium and cobalt-60 radiotherapy in twenty-five women who had been treated for inoperable uterine cancer, and boosting their immune systems and increasing their production of red blood cells.
Imagine what it can do for you!!
Where can I buy it?
If possible, you should try to purchase your bee pollen from a local, organic source, like a local bee keeper or at your farmer’s market. As I mentioned earlier, I really love to visit my beekeeper and watch how he handles the bees, so lovingly and with such extreme respect.
The pollen should be kept refrigerated to ensure its freshness, as pollen will begin to ferment and can get moldy if left at too long at room temperature. I actually keep a small amount in my fridge at eye level so I see it and consume it often, and then store the rest of my supply in the freezer.
If you simply do not have access to fresh bee pollen, then be sure that the product is freeze-dried at the point of collection.
Although some manufacturers prefer heat drying because it prolongs the shelf life, bee pollen that has been heat dried to remove the water content has also lost most of its nutrients.
*NOTE: Bee pollen is not typically recommended for women who are pregnant or nursing as it can be a raw product . Also, if you have never tried bee pollen, it is very important that you start with a very small amount – like ¼ teaspoon – and build up from there to be certain that you don’t have an allergic reaction to it. If you experience any swelling of the tongue or shortness of breath, discontinue immediately and consult your doctor. If you are allergic to pollen, you should avoid bee pollen!
(That being said, I will say that I enjoyed bee pollen for years, and personally feel comfortable having it during my pregnancy. That is just my personal choice. But it is one of the “raw” foods that is not formally recommended, so please note that disclaimer if you are pregnant and nursing. If you want to be on the safe side, you can avoid it for the pregnancy/nursing period).
Bee pollen is good in so many different things. I love it added into the Power Protein smoothie or even blended into a salad dressing. I will often have a quick tablespoon on my way to yoga or simply as a quick snack when I am on the go.
I find that bee pollen gives me a nice lift, making me feel invigorated and ready to take on the day! I love it and hope that you feel inspired to give it a go after reading all this :).
Come visit me again soon!
In love and health,