Those of you that read The Detox Diva on a regular basis know that I am not one that touts the benefits of many foods as “superfoods” simply because “food” when eaten seasonally and in its most perfect state possible (organic, wild, grass-fed, pastured, etc.) is “super” without needing any other label. I also don’t ascribe to the idea that an açai berry that has travelled thousands of miles out of the Amazon is the end all be all food for someone, say, in North Dakota in the same way it would be for someone IN the Amazon.
It occurred to me the other day that there are a few products that I do use every day that I absolutely do consider “superfoods”. Those products all contain ingredients from one of my favorite “animals” and definitely my only favorite “insect”, the honeybee. In fact, I hadn’t realized just how much these ingredients are part of my day to day life until the other day when I was reaching for my Virgin Bee Panacea at the first hint of an upper respiratory infection and then again today clamoring for my bee pollen when making my famous honey mustard dressing. I remember when my husband and I were first together and he had a bout of gripping fatigue from overwork. Out came the bee pollen. It, along with the odd royal jelly in a smoothie when sick, has been a part of my nutrition and culinary roster for years.
I have recommended it to countless clients for various symptoms but it dawned on me today that I hadn’t shared this potent if not somewhat banal powerhouse. Bee pollen has been touted for its health benefits since the “flower power” generation and, unfortunately, this has somewhat dimmed its celebrity.
I intend to bring it back in style!
What is bee pollen?
Bee pollen is the food of young bees made by honeybees. It is essentially the sperm of flowers, blossoms, and plants but not to be confused with the pollen that trigger hay fever and allergies. This pollen is nothing short of miraculous and nourishing. Every food has an energy and, perhaps as a result of this food being able to be harvested without stress to the bees.
It is the most “complete food on earth” higher in digestible protein than any animal source and with more amino acids than eggs or beef! Half of its proteins are in the form of free amino acids which are directly utilizable by the body along with a myriad of B vitamins and metabolizable folic acid. That’s a pretty impressive food source if you think about it.
Let me wax poetic about the many very real benefits of bee pollen. I will, at some point in the near future, talk about royal jelly too but I don’t use it with any real regularity. Bee pollen is actually a food source that I do use very nearly every day though and it occurred to me that when I am working with fertility clients (especially those with high FSH or low LH) this is my number one “supplement” on the recommendations. It should be on my list of supplements for nearly everyone!
What are the benefits of bee pollen?
- Allergy treatment. Although bee pollen is not to be confused with the pollen that contributes to seasonal allergies, pollen has been shown to reduce histamine reactions dramatically when fed bee pollen. In fact, in many research studies (too numerous to list but if you are curious, email me) over 94% of patients who ate bee pollen reported a complete cessation of symptoms such as sinus, asthma and itchy watery eyes, and many other allergy symptoms. This leads us to our next great benefit.
- Respiratory tonic. Bee pollen is wonderfully anti-inflammatory in general and has a particularly strong benefit for lung tissue halting the onset of asthma and treating bronchitis and other respiratory ailments. (I know this first hand as every few years bronchitis sets in and bee pollen is super effective at keeping it from developing into something worse.)
- Immune booster. Bee pollen has a positive effect on intestinal flora. (Both prebiotic and probiotic effects.) Healthy intestinal flora encourages a strong microbiome and this boosts immunity. Bee pollen has antibacterial, antibiotic, and antimicrobial properties. Now, according to Joseph Mercola this means a protection against viruses. Of course I should remind Dr. Mercola that antibiotic properties are not the same as antiviral properties and that one has nothing to do with the other, however, he and I are in agreement that bee pollen is an immunity superpower and a healthy instestinal flora leads to fewer incidences of leaky gut which means the body is naturally more protected against viruses and bacteria alike.
- Digestion supercharger. Bee pollen is one of the best sources to a myriad of enzymes, vitamins and minerals. Although the body, in balance, creates its own enzymes to be able to extract nutrients from the foods we eat, in this day and age, with fruits and vegetables grown in land devoid of trace elements, flown and trucked in from great distances, along with the stress and “speed eating” we do today, often our enzyme “bank accounts” are depleted. Bee pollen can fill in those blanks and aid digestion and nutrient assimilation.
- Cardiovascular support. Bee pollen contains an inordinate amount of Vitamin P1 or Rutin, an antioxidant bioflavonoid that aids in strengthening capillaries, blood vessels, supports the healing of circulatory problems and balances negative cholesterol levels. There is anecdotal evidence that its potent anti-clotting powers could help prevent heart attack and stroke.
- Fat fighter and energy enhancer. Bee pollen contains a natural lecithin (not to be confused with soy lecithin) which helps dissolve and flush fat cells. As a bonus lecithin also nourishes brain cells. Bee pollen is also loaded with B vitamins and trace minerals so the easily metabolizable nutrition will increase energy.
- Fertility factors. Bee pollen enhances, and in some cases, can even restore ovarian function. This helps in cases where the FSH is elevated (though in fairness if the ovarian reserve is truly depleted not even bee pollen can create eggs where none exist). Bee Pollen also contains a gonadotropic hormone very similar to the human pituitary hormone, gonadotropin, which functions as a sex gland hormone. This stimulates progesterone (and minimal amounts of testosterone necessary for a healthy sex drive.)While I normally focus on supplements to detox estrogen dominance , there comes a time when progesterone production needs to be stimulated and bee pollen can be a boon before or even in place of bioidentical progesterone replacement therapy. Both bee pollen and royal jelly help balance out DHEA levels as well which is a valuable ally in the treatment of PCOS. Going back to that gonadotropin, impotent men almost always show significant improvement with the addition to bee pollen to the diet as do men with low sperm counts after only a month of taking it!
- Bee pollen contains amino acids that act as precursors to human growth hormone (HGH) which can stimulate fat loss and muscle growth and is a potent anti-aging “supplement”. Perhaps it is the nutritionally complete aspect of bee pollen (B vitamins, minerals, and amino acids are known for skin rejuvenation qualities) or the precursors to HGH but bee pollen, when taken internally and blended into skincare, is a wonderful skin smoother. It is a super effective treatment for psoriasis and eczema. (I also gave it to my babies for diaper rash and it worked beautifully!)
What’s the best way to take bee pollen?
I love bee pollen. I sprinkle it into my salad dressings when using honey, into candies, smoothies, and even take it by the teaspoon. Some people don’t love the taste and in those cases, I recommend pairing it with strong tastes like cocoa, honey, lemon, coconut, etc. Some people sprinkle it into oatmeal. I don’t believe, if you are using high quality bee pollen it should be hard to get down but I would experiment putting it into things that you would normally love as you probably will easily be able to mask the taste. It should be taken in small amounts in the beginning and the dosage increased slowly. I would start with even a few grains at first working up to a teaspoon a day for optimal results. A little will definitely go a long way.
What is the best bee pollen to take?
Although ideally finding high quality bee pollen locally would be best, it is increasingly difficult to find beekeepers that don’t feed their bees sugar or where bees are not exposed to a great number of GMO crops. If you are lucky enough to source fresh bee pollen locally, I would say this is the ultimate. Because a great number of fruits and vegetables in the US come from California, the next best thing is fresh, sustainably sourced bee pollen from Hive Mind. This bee pollen is fluffy and light (making it easy to take in comparison to the hard nuggets so often languishing on the shelves of health food stores) and comes vacuum sealed to preserve freshness. The producers of this amazing bee pollen are 4th generation, small batch producers that harvest the bee pollen without disturbing the hive which further maintains the integrity of the energies of this true superfood. Because this bee pollen comes from a wide variety of plants, blossoms, and flowers, it enhances the nutritional profile (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fats, and proteins) all the more.
Where to buy: Honey Colony 5 0z. of Hive Mind Bee Pollen for $17.95
Use code ‘Pollinate’ for 15% off all orders!