Bee Pollen Nutrition - The Nutritional Content Of Bee Pollen And Comparisons With Other Foods

Updated: 28th April 2021

A number of claims are made about bee pollen and nutrition, in particular, that it's a super-food, and can offer real value to the human diet.

If you are considering purchasing supplements as a means of adding it to your diet, then this page will provide you with useful information about bee pollen and nutrition.

However, if you wish to read about some of the claims made in connection with disease, athletic performance, and general health, please take a look at the page: health benefits of bee pollen.

When looking at the nutritional value of bee pollen (sometimes labelled a ‘super food'), one of the ways in which we can gain a balanced perspective is by comparing it with every day foods found in the diet.

Here, we look at carbohydrate, fat, protein, anti-oxidants, enzymes and other minerals in bee pollen.

In this way we can also assess whether we need supplements.  Are they adding anything unusual to the diet, that might be difficult to obtain elsewhere at lower cost? - or are they, on balance, unnecessary?

Of course, pollen is essential for bees – which is why bees collect it.  An explanation of why bees collect and need pollen can be found at the bottom of the page.

Bee Pollen Nutrition Breakdown

granules of bee pollen

Fat & Carbohydrates In Bee Pollen

How many calories does Bee Pollen contain, and are those calories derived from carbohydrates or fats?

(Note: Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet)
Bee Pollen 100g Raw Unpeeled Apple 100g Boiled Kale 100g
Calories 314 52 28
Cals from Fat 44 1 3
Carbohydrate % DV 14% 5% 2%

Incidentally, 100g Bee Pollen has more calories  than 100g of a Mac Donald's Big Mac (Ref 1), which has 257 calories, in comparison with 314 calories from the same amount of Bee Pollen.

Vitamins & Mineral Nutrient Value of Bee Pollen

Vitamins & Minerals
(Note: Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet)
Bee Pollen 100g Raw Unpeeled Apple 100g Boiled Kale 100g
Vit A 0% 1% 272%
Vit C 83% DV 8% DV 68% DV
Calcium 8% 1% 7%
Iron 35% 1% 5%
Vit K *** 3% 1021% (yes, really)

***One source of information states that there is some vitamin K in fermented pollen inside hives (the bee bread), but not in the pollen that is collected at the hive entrance. The book goes on to state that our intestinal flora usually manufactures sufficient vitamin K to meet our requirements, but fresh pollen along with fruit and vegetables can assist maintaining and regenerating intestinal flora.

However, kale is high in vitamin K, (as are other vegetables and fruits, including brocolli, spinach, turnip, cucumber, onions, parsley, asparagus, carrots, blackberries, pears, and raspberries to name a few).

Kale is also high in vitamins A and C. Bee pollen is high in iron. Alternative foods rich in iron include meet and fish, cashew nuts, sesame seeds, wheatgerm, blackcurrants, liquorice and figs.

Anti-oxidants, Enzymes, Other Minerals In Bee Pollen

I found an impressive list of a broad range of anti-oxidants, enzymes, amino acids and other elements contained within bee pollen. But equally, I found many of these, and others, listed in other foods, like kale and apples, so that I simply didn't have time to list them all, and by food item.

In the end, I really did not find a good reason to justify any person buying bee pollen over and above what could be provided in ordinary foods.

If you are eating a healthy balanced diet, it seems like an unecessary expense.

If you read my health benefits of bee pollen page, you will have seen my point about age-related sight deterioration. Spinach has been found to contain ingredients that are protective for the health of the eye. Because of this, the claim had been made that due to bee pollen also containing this protective ingredient, this must mean that bee pollen is good for the eyes.

This may be the case, but to me, no justification was really given for spending money on a supplement when again, a good diet incorporating vegetables like spinach, would equally do the trick. Take into account that eating 100 grams of spinach would also give you more vitamin K, but not as much fat and fewer calories than 100g of bee pollen. This may be a consideration for you if you do not wish to put on weight.

Summary: Nutritional Benefits Of Bee Pollen  - Are They Worth The Price?

If you are seeking some extra-ordinary nutritional advantage of taking bee pollen, to be honest I can't really find any.  Even when organically sourced, I can't see the point.  I think there are far less costly ways to add those minerals etc, to our diets.

Why not leave the pollen to the bees?

Bee pollen nutritionally doesn't appear to provide anything unique or extraordinary - not that I have found at the time of writing this article, but if I find out any new information or if you become aware of any, I'll add it to this site, so please get in touch via my contact page.

If you'd like to find out more about bee pollen, check the links on this site, as there are further pages about the use of bee pollen for health, in weight loss, as well as an introductory page looking at the question what is bee pollen?

Why Do Bees Need Pollen?  Why Do They Gather It?

Quite simply, bees need pollen, as it is a crucial source of protein. It is used for feeding larvae.  Research shows that workers bees with developed hypopharyngeal glands  (from which royal jelly is secreted)  consume more pollen.  

Only honey bee pollen is currently harvested by humans.

All types of bees need pollen (queen bumble bees will seek to feast on good quality pollen when they emerge from hibernation over winter, as pollen helps their ovaries to ripen). 

Ref 1:

Health Benefits Of Bee Pollen
Go from Bee Pollen Benefits to this page examining some of the specific claims made about bee pollen in relation to health, from effects on eye sight to athletic performance.

Bee Pollen & Weight Loss
This page examines whether bee pollen is an aid to losing weight.

What Is Bee Pollen?
Go from Bee Pollen Benefits to this introductory page about bee pollen and the different types of pollen.

How To Take Bee Pollen
Information about the formats available.

What Is Pollen
Another introductory page, this time about pollen generally, incuding such topics as how to remove pollen stains.

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