Chef V explains why bee pollen is the ultimate boost for Green Drinks and low-sugar smoothies. (Hint: there’s more to this super topping than allergy prevention!)
I’m no history expert but was surprised to learn that bee pollen isn’t just a recent health fad. When I was geeking out on some bee pollen research, I discovered that both the Bible and ancient Egyptian texts tout bee pollen like it’s the bees' knees.
Most people first hear about bee pollen because it’s one of the best foods for seasonal allergy prevention. That’s one reason to add bee pollen to Organic Green Drinks, low-sugar tropical smoothies like my Tropitaya smoothie, or breakfast bowl smoothies.
I’ll cover bee pollen and allergies below. But first, I want you to know that there’s a lot more to bee pollen than preventing an occasional sneeze when you stop to smell the springtime flowers. In fact, for thousands of years, people have been using pollen for all sorts of physical ailments.
“Since antiquity, people throughout the world used bee pollen to cure colds, flu, ulcers, premature aging, anemia, and colitis,” says a research review in an allergy and asthma journal.
So let’s get to know more about bee pollen.
What is Bee Pollen?
When honey bees construct a hive, they mix saliva and wax to create a sticky, resiny substance like super glue. This resin is known as propolis. Bee pollen is a mixture of this propolis, nectar, and plant pollen.
Bees don’t intentionally set out to pollinate plants. Instead, bees consider pollen a superfood, just like a Whole Foods shopper does! So bees collect pollen from flowering plants, place it in their shopping carts (true story: bees collect pollen in mini baskets), and eventually bring it home to their pantry (hive) to munch on with their honey as a healthy snack.
Beekeepers carefully collect the bee pollen by placing a mesh screen at the hive entrance, allowing the bees to enter but separating the pollen from their bodies. The collected bee pollen is then carefully dried to preserve its nutritional content.
Bee Pollen: A Gold Mine of Nutrition
After reading the research about bee pollen, I’m all abuzz about adding it to my daily morning Green Drink and smoothies. For instance, a 2021 study published in the journal, Nutrients says bee pollen “is a gold mine of nutrition due to its active components that have significant health and medicinal properties.”
And what are those components? Bee pollen contains bioactive compounds, including proteins, amino acids, lipids, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, and polyphenols, which are potent antioxidants. Polyphenols are essential to include in your diet because they neutralize free radical damage caused by environmental pollution and other forms of stress.
“The vital components of bee pollen enhance different bodily functions and offer protection against many diseases,” the researchers writing in Nutrients conclude.
The Health Benefits Of Bee Pollen
Does bee pollen support immunity and help prevent allergies? Let’s forget what health bloggers are saying and see what legit research has to say.
Remember I mentioned polyphenols, the powerful antioxidant? It turns out that bee pollen contains a type of polyphenol called flavonoids.
Researchers from that allergy and asthma journal I mentioned say, “Bee pollen flavonoids … have anti-allergic, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, … and can be excellent candidates for future studies including phytotherapy, molecular pharmacology and substitutes for chemicals used in treating allergic and immunological disorders.”
In other words, bee pollen may help strengthen the immune system against seasonal allergy attacks.
Add Bee Pollen to
These Smoothie Recipes
Lowers Blood Sugar and Body Weight
Should Ozempic users consume a daily dose of bee pollen? According to research from the Nutrients study, bee pollen inhibits the production of a particular enzyme and, in doing so, helps to lower blood sugar levels. As for weight loss, in an animal study, obese rodents were fed bee pollen for eight weeks and lost nearly 20% of their body weight.
Protects The Heart
The same research study suggested that bee pollen’s anti-inflammatory effects may help prevent the lining of blood vessels from constricting.
In animal studies, bee pollen removed toxic fluoride.
Instead of drowning your sorrows in booze, boost your mood with bee pollen. According to a 2022 study in Neuroscience Letters, bee pollen reduced anxiety-like behavior and suppressed inflammation in the brain.
(It’s important to note that this finding was also from an animal study. Human clinical trials are super expensive; trust me, I know from experience.)
Again, let’s skip the health blog hoopla. Instead, what does the research say about bee pollen for skin health?
“Bee pollen is a potent antifungal, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, immunostimulating agent, and it also facilitates the granulation process of burn healing,” reads a 2020 study in the journal, Molecules.
You won’t find me rubbing bee pollen all over my face. (Hmmm, that gives me an idea: bee pollen facial masks.) But you better believe it when I say I boost my Green Drinks and healthy smoothies almost every day with it.
These are just some of the health benefits of bee pollen. I should also mention that it’s a great source of B vitamins, so if you need an energy boost in the morning, boost your Green Drinks and smoothies with bee pollen.