Have you ever used bee pollen? I have – and I’m here to tell its story 🙂 I got my love of bee pollen from my uncle, who used to consume it regularly. As a World War II survivor and a proponent of healthy eating back when the concept of “healthy eating” hadn’t even been born, my uncle knew how to keep himself active and his body filled with delicious nutrients. He would often tell us stories about the benefits of honey, bee pollen, royal jelly and propolis, and I would listen and take mental notes. He truly was a great storyteller…
I took a long break from bee-related products during and after our relocation to the US, but I am happy to report that I got back on track recently, thanks to my trips to Sugar Beet Food Coop in Oak Park IL. I highly recommend this place for its abundance of healthful, consciously grown/made products, and for its bulk food section in particular, where I was able to find bee pollen, after a really long hiatus. Since then, I could also locate bee pollen online, at Beekeeper’s Naturals.
So, what is bee pollen, and what makes it so special? According to Healthline.com, bee pollen “is a mixture of flower pollen, nectar, enzymes, honey, wax and bee secretions.” It is a super nutritious ingredient with a high antioxidant content, cholesterol-lowering properties, and liver supporting functions, amongst others. As Susan Curtis, natural health director at Neal’s Yard Remedies, says, bee pollen “is a nutrient powerhouse of eighteen vitamins including a B complex, all essential amino acids, fatty acids, RNA/DNA nucleic acids, enzymes, and is at least 25% protein.” Very impressive, right? The first peer-reviewed studies on the topic have produced equally glowing assessments, and have led to the increase in popularity of bee pollen, as of late. Still, while experts agree on its benefits, they also mention the potential risks of taking bee pollen, such as allergic reactions, interactions with blood thinners, and uterine contractions, if pregnant.
How do you eat bee pollen? If you’re interested in giving bee pollen a try, I recommend you start off small, using 1/2 teaspoon in your breakfast bowl, sprinkled over oatmeal or pancakes. As for me, I have recently started using it in fruit salads, such as this one below.
For flavor and immunity-boosting reasons, I like to pair bee pollen with citrus fruit and raw buckwheat honey (I get the latter from my beloved Amish store in Franklin Park IL). I love the flavor and the texture contrast between the sour citrus slices and the sweetness of the honey, with a dash of crunchy goodness from the pollen!
Sometimes I cheat by adding a few buttered fruits – notice the halved cherries below. Naughty 🙂
I love bee pollen for its abundance of impressive nutrients and for its delightful crunch – and equally important, for its healthful symbolism. As someone who is a big believer in the power of natural healing, I look at bee pollen as my ally in the fight against time and as a powerful example of nature’s resourcefulness. Last but not least, I love bee pollen for its delightful memories – memories of talking to my knowledgeable uncle, under the cherry tree in his front yard, many many years ago. To me and my family, bee pollen has been a great memory-maker – and I am happily keeping the memory-making going.
How do you use bee pollen? Any favorite recipe you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments 🙂