I first heard about the supposed health benefits of bee pollen from a cold-busting tea recipe featured in Gwyneth Paltrow’s goop newsletter. Timing couldn’t have been more perfect–I was totally knocked out with a beyond awful late-winter cold and feeling terrible, and thus sent my boy out to Whole Foods to round up the ingredients for G’s sickie potion: cayenne, cinnamon, lemon, ginger, and bee pollen. I sipped multiple servings of the concoction over the 48 hours that followed, and by the weekend I felt pretty much like myself again. Score. While we used up the majority of the ingredients in the tea-making process, I still had almost an entire jar of bee pollen left–naturally I had to find a use for it! I did, and now I’m obsessed. Soooo…Here’s what’s up with bee pollen.
What is it?
Pretty much just what it sounds like: it’s the pollen collected by bees from flowers! You’ve probably actually seen it before–the little yellow puffs that collect on the legs of bees as they fly from flower to flower? That’s it. The tiny pellets are harvested by bee keepers and sold as a whole food.
Why consume it?
For starters, bee pollen is a super food! It’s richer in proteins than any animal source, is a highly-concentrated source of amino acids, and contains a wealth of vitamins like B-complex and folic acid. It’s one of the most complete, most nourishing foods around. Use bee pollen as an an addition to smoothies, sprinkle it on a salad, or simply eat it by the spoonful in combination with peanut butter or coconut oil. The taste is subtly sweet and floral. Bee pollen has been said to enhance energy, increase endurance, curb cravings, lower cholesterol, boost the immune system, lessen allergy symptoms, and aid in weight loss. Pretty bomb, no?
Any risks or drawbacks?
While bee pollen is generally considered safe for short-term use, allergic reactions aren’t unheard of, and those side-effects–like shortness of breath, hives, and anaphylaxis–are no joke. Proceed with caution, and start small. Personally, I sampled a few granules to gauge my tolerance before drinking my pollen-laced tea, but if you already know you’re allergic to bees or honey, you probably want to steer clear of this one!
K. You can shop for bee pollen or find out more about the super food using the links below.
- The Use of Bee Pollen as a Superfood, via Mercola
- Bee Pollen: Uses, Sources, Dosages, and Evidence, via NYU Medical Center
- 10 Amazing Health Benefits of Bee Pollen, Via Food Matters
- Stakich Bee Pollen Granuels, 1lb, $15.95
- Nature’s Way Bee Pollen, 100 Capsules, $6.09
- YS Eco Bee Farms Naturally Fermented Bee Pollen Powder, 10.6oz, $13.75