What is Bee Pollen?

What is Bee Pollen?

Is bee pollen good for you and is it a 'Super Food'?  These are some of the questions I'll be exploring.

Flower Pollen

Let's start with flower pollen first of all, and what it is.  Flower pollen grains carry the reproductive cells of the flower, read more on my page about this on my links below.

Bees gather flower pollen because flower pollen provides vital food for bees and their developing larvae. (again, more about why bees need nectar and pollen by following the relevant link at the end of the page).

How Is Bee Pollen Different From Flower Pollen?

(- or What's The Difference Between Flower Pollen And Bee Pollen?)

After the bee collects the pollen, something happens to it.  Since bee pollen is sometimes collected from honey bees and sold as a food supplement, we'll consider what happens to pollen gathered specifically by honey bees.

When honey bees collect the pollen, they regurgitate tiny amounts of nectar from their honey stomachs. During the vibration of the wings during flight, the pollen being carried by the bee, is then compacted. Amidst the whole process of collecting and carrying pollen, bacteria are transferred - from the nectar to the pollen - resulting in a natural preservation technique.

In short, what the bees end up with in the honey bee hive, after the lacto-fermentation process has taken place, is bee bread, which is a wonderful and very important source of food for bees, as it helps to ensure the future health of the colony.

Is Bee Pollen Good For You?

There may be some small differences between different batches of bee pollen, because the nutritional content of pollen varies between species of plant.

Pollen contains a number of anti-oxidants, minerals, proteins and a number of other ingredients so that some believe bee pollen benefits humans as well as bees.  Having examined the evidence, I am personally sceptical of the claims made, and if anything I would be wary of the marketing claims made, and the methods where non-conclusive evidence, or evidence to back up one source of food, has been twisted and used as justification for making claims about bee pollen as a super food.

What do IBRA,  (International Bee Research Association) say about it?:

“Two other bee products are pollen and royal jelly - the health giving properties of these are less well documented in the scientific literature”. - IBRA

To take a look at some of the claims made with regard to whether or not bee pollen is good for you, see these links:

  • bee pollen nutritional benefits - this page features a break down of nutritional tables.  It compares these values with those found in far less expensive and widely available foods, such as an apple, or a portion of kale.
  • health benefits of bee pollen - considers some of the claims made, in relation to health, such as improved athletic performance, aging and eye sight.
  • bee Pollen & Weight Loss - examines whether bee pollen is an aid to losing weight - taking into account that bee pollen is fairly high in calories in comparison with other beneficial foods.  Upon anaylsis, some of the claims made are certainly questionable in my view, and the dieting industry has not exploited bee pollen as a dieting aid.

What Is Bee Pollen? - Products And Preparations.

Supplements can be purchased in a number of formats, in tablets, capsules and granules, and sometimes combined, for example with royal jelly or propolis.

However, according to the book ‘The Healing Powers of Pollen’, the author, Patrice Percie Du Sert states that we now know that drying pollen destroys most of the beneficial active ingredients in bee pollen.

If he is right, this may be of concern to those considering purchasing dried pollen. Patrice Percie Du Sert advocates fresh bee pollen that is removed from honey bee hives, and he has devised a way to supply and sell bee pollen in such a format through a special process involving freezing the pollen.

My Conclusion

My analysis outlined on the links above, suggests that bee pollen contains a number of nutrients in tiny amounts that are essential to bees, with their tiny bee bodies and developing colonies. These nutrients are also of benefit to humans, however, they are also available in many commonly eaten and available foods (which happen to be less expensive).   So if anyone would ask me "What is bee pollen and is it a Super Food?", I'd have to answer "it's a super food for bees, but as for humans, you may as well go and eat a portion of boiled kale, or even an apple - unless you want to consume lots of extra calories in your diet!".

Honey vs Sugar
Go from What Is Bee Pollen to this nutritional comparison of honey and sugar, complete with comparison tables.

Pollen Count.
Go from What Is Bee Pollen to information about today’s pollen count – but remember, hay fever is generally caused by wind borne pollens, rather than bee pollen.

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