Afternoon bees, we hope you’re well on this chilly Monday afternoon! This week we couldn’t resist telling you about one of The Hive’s best-kept secrets: bee pollen, or a.k.a. ‘bee gold dust’! Yes, this one is high on The Hive’s hot list. You may have spotted us sprinkling it on our porridge or seen mentions of its health benefits in the media, but perhaps still wondering – what on earth is it!? How is it made? Is it edible? Is it beneficial? Where can you buy it!? Well today we’re answering all these buzzing questions and more. And we’ll promise to keep our, ahem, ‘a-pollen’ puns to a minimum…
What is bee pollen and how is it made?
- Check out the worker honey bee in the picture above! She is carrying lots of pollen (the big yellow balls) on the back of her legs.
- This is a collection of pollen particles from the middle of flowers, stuck together with nectar – the sticky liquid which becomes honey (also from flowers).
- It’s stored in her special ‘pollen baskets’ on her legs and taken back to the beehive for food – it’s packed full of protein so it’s great to feed to the baby bees (see below for more on the nutritionals)!
- NB – it’s worth noting here that responsible beekeepers ensure there is (more than) enough pollen in the hive for the bees before extracting for human consumption – just like they do with honey. The first and most important consideration when keeping bees is ensuring the bees are healthy and have enough food to grow their colony – see here for more info on why bees are important and how you can help.
OK, but why is it beneficial for ME to eat?!
We’re not going to beat around the beehive. Bee pollen has a seriously impressive nutritional profile. Some might go so far as to say that it’s better than honey (sorry Pa Harper!). But don’t worry; honey is too delicious, it’s definitely still the winner on taste!
According to Susan Curtis (natural health director at Neal’s Yard Remedies), a single teaspoon of bee pollen contains over 2.5 billion nutrient-packed flower pollen granules! Each spoonful is magical and a ‘nutrition powerhouse’, containing nearly every single nutrient that the human body needs to survive!
Nutritional content of bee pollen:
40% protein, 55% carbohydrate, 2% fatty acids and 3% minerals and vitamins.
We can’t guarantee all the claims, but the health benefits are said to include:
- Helps with hay fever (allergy relief)
- Enhanced stamina and endurance
- Better digestion
- Weight control
- Improved circulation
- Improved immunity
What does it taste like? And how do I eat it?
Bee pollen is powdery and has a slightly sweet and floral taste. Most (including us here at Just Bee) like to eat bee pollen in its natural form – raw and sprinkled over foods such as porridge, smoothies, yoghurt and pancakes. But if this isn’t your cup of Just Bee (tea), it can also be taken as a nutritional supplement.
One word of caution bees… If you are allergic to pollen, then you may also be highly allergic to bee pollen too! Please BEE careful. Start with ½ teaspoon and then gradually increase the amount once you know you’re safe!
Now, if we’ve intrigued you enough to give it a go, here’s where you can find it:
- Larger health food shops such as Holland and Barrett, Planet Organic and Wholefoods, and most independent health food shops will sell at least one variety.
- Local honey seller stalls at farmers markets will often sell their own variety too.
- Pa Harper’s Hives (for now, this is just for the Just Bee worker bees, but one day we might start selling it too!)
So there you have it. The wonders of bee pollen. It might sound a little crazy to sprinkle it on your breakfast, but we promise it’s worth a shot! Every year Chef Bee swears it helps to keep her hay fever at bay and it’s certainly worked wanders for our digestion. This week we’re giving away a box of Just Bee to our favourite bee pollen picture. Whether it’s on your porridge, smoothies or straight from the jar, we want to see how you use it! Tag @justbeedrinks or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Flower power to you all!
Blogger Bee x