What In The World Is Bee Pollen? Why It’s One of The World’s Most Nutritious Foods & BONUS RECIPE: KITK’s Glow-From-The-Inside-Out Chocolate Collagen Bee Pollen Bites!
I have recently become obsessed with putting bee pollen on everything! I love it on my oats, yogurt & as a topping for my smoothies! Ever since I started using it more regularly, I’ve been getting tons of questions from you guys about what exactly it is (I don’t blame you, I also had no idea until I did my research), what it tastes like, why I use it & why it’s beneficial to my health & how to incorporate it into recipes!
So here I am, about to rave & rant away about WHAT IT IS & all that other good stuff. AND THEN… I’ll share with you a recipe I put together today that is simply B.E.Y.O.N.D. & that obvs incorporates ‘DAT POLLEN & tons of other deliciousness! I whipped up the recipe in such a way that it’ll allow you to make swaps & modifications to your liking, based on your preferences! BUT, we’ll talk about the recipe later.
RIGHT NOW: BEE POLLEN.
BTW, IN A NUTSHELL: TO ME, BEE POLLEN IS LEGIT HONEY ON STEROIDS (Not actually…, but ya know! I say the same thing about Manuka honey). What I’m trying to say is that it has all the benefits of honey AMPLIFIED, in a more potent & concentrated form.
WHAT IN THE WORLD IS BEE POLLEN?
Bee pollen is a product made by bees & is the food of the young bee. I won’t go into the whole scientific way of how they go about making it because it’s really hard to explain & quite frankly, I don’t really understand all the terminology. But, basically what you need to know is that it’s a product that is NATURALLY made by bees & that cannot be synthesized in a lab. In fact, to put things into perspective, it takes one bee working eight hours a day to produce ONE TEASPOON of bee pollen. So you can imagine how much those bees have to work in order to produce this stuff!! (GOOD NEWS IS JUST ADDING A LITTLE BIT WILL GO A LONG WAY!).
It’s rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, B complex vitamins, folic acid, lipids & fatty acids, enzymes, carotenoids & bioflavonoids (antioxidants) & contains almost all the nutrients required by the human body to thrive. It contains more vitamin C & magnesium than most foods.
Its protein makeup is almost 40% & it contains more protein than any animal source & more amino aids than an equal weight of cheese, eggs or beef. I’m all about plant-based protein & trying to find alternatives to animal protein, so you can imagine how excited I was when I discovered that bee pollen is a great source of plant-based protein to incorporate into my diet. In fact, about 1/2 the protein content in bee pollen is in the form of amino acids, which are ready to be used directly by he body. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, which means that they are the fuel for helping your body build lean muscle mass, strengthen your body overall & provide tons of energy to your tissues to keep you thriving!
FUN FACT: It’s so powerful & beneficial that research has shown that it has the ability to lengthen the lifespan of certain animals. Those studies have not been conducted on human beings, so it’s not conclusive, but it’s such a beneficial food, that I would not be surprised!
Bee pollen has been used as a natural way to relieve allergies. It contains a high quantity of antioxidants, that have an anti-inflammatory effect on the tissue int he lungs, which may also help prevent the onset of asthma. If you do decide to take bee pollen for allergies, keep in mind that it should be taken consistently before the allergy season begins & continued throughout the season in order to have its full effects. The research is more conclusive regarding allergies, but it can also be effective for asthma.
Like honey, bee pollen contains antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal & antibiotic properties. It may therefore help prevent certain infectious diseases, such as colds or flus. There is also a substance in the pollen that may help inhibit the development of harmful bacteria & the antibiotic factor may be effective in fighting salmonella & other strains of bacteria.
Bee pollen also strengthens your capillaries (good for any tissue in your body!) & reduces inflammation. Inflammation is the leading & root cause for most disease, ailment & illness. Anti-inflammatory foods & supplements are therefore beneficial for EVERYONE!
Bee pollen is good for the gut & promotes healthy skin. It has actually been compared to Naproxen, in terms of its effectiveness & strength. Its anti-inflammatory & omega-fatty acid content makes it effective when it comes to treating certain skin conditions or irritations, such as psoriasis or eczema. The amino acids also help protect the skin from the inside out, bring protein to the skin, strengthen & firm the skin, fight the signs of aging & the vitamins (vitamin C, for example) & antioxidant help in the replenishment, renewal, turnover & regeneration of skin cells. BTW: EGYPTIAN MAGIC ACTUALLY CONTAINS BEE POLLEN (as well as bee propolis, royal jelly, honey & olive oil). As you can see, there is a recurrent trend: every ingredient is related to ‘DEM BEES! It can basically be used for anything from burns, wounds, skin healing, etc.
From a digestion point of view (because ‘all know that digestion is my jam!), it contains enzymes that help promote easy digestion & assist the body in being able to optimally & properly absorb nutrients needed from the food consumed (ergo, digestive enzymes). When you take digestive enzymes, you do so because you’re concerned that your body does not have ability to produce the enzymes necessary or enough of them to digest certain foods. Bee pollen is actually a natural way to provide your body with those enzymes naturally! This is especially important if you’re eating nutrient-rich foods because you want your body to be able to have the capacity to reap all the benefits from them to function.
It also contains cellulose & fibre, which helps boost intestinal function. The anti-inflammatory perks also help cure any inflammation in the gut lining, promoting an overall healthier gut.
Given that bee pollen is good for intestinal flora, this also makes it effective at supporting & boosting immunity. If you have a strong immune system, you can fight off illness, disease & infection, such as certain types of cancer, heart disease, diabetes & the common flu or cold.
Bee pollen may also help regulate hormones & relieve menopause symptoms. I mean, I’ll take it in about 20 years when I need to manage those hot flashes?! Ya dig?
Due to its protein, carbohydrate & B vitamin content, it boosts energy naturally. It may also help enhance stamina, physical endurance & fight fatigue or energy slumps.
Research has also shown that bee pollen can serve as an analgesic & help to relieve pain brought on by stress or injury.
Bee pollen possesses metabolic activity & amino acids that help increase metabolism & dissolve fat cells within the body.
Bee pollen may also help treat anemia. Most anemia is caused by an deficiency & studies have shown that bee pollen can help increase hemoglobin, the red blood cells in the body that carry oxygen, thereby helping cure iron-deficiency anemia.
Bee pollen also lowers cholesterol. Research has shown that if taken consistently, bee pollen may help normalize cholesterol levels by reducing bad (LDL) cholesterol & increasing HDL (good) cholesterol, as well as reduce triglyceride levels. This makes it good for people at risk for diabetes or heart disease or who suffer from any of those issues.
It also protects against liver toxicity & oxidative stress, so it really helps fight off free radicals in the environment. In fact, research has shown that the inhibitory activity (how effective it is at inhibiting all the oxidative stress from entering the body & causing infection) of bee pollen is similar to that found in fermented foods, such as miso, apple cider vinegar, kombucha probiotics, etc. And y’all know how important fermented foods are in order to maintain & flourish a healthy gut.
Bee pollen is also heart healthy; it contains an antioxidant called rutin, which helps strengthen the blood vessels, helps boost circulation & cure circulatory properties & controls cholesterol levels. It also has some anti-clotting powers, which may be effective in helping prevent heart attack &/or stroke.
Bee pollen helps relieve stress by promoting & improving the blood supply to nervous tissue, boosting mental capacity & strengthening the nervous system that may be weakened or damaged by stress. Since it has such an effect on cognitive function & mental capacity, it can help lift mood & can be a natural way to relieve certain symptoms of sadness, depression, anxiety or stress.
With any tissue in your body, it will contribute to cell regeneration, inject life into dry tissue or cells, replenish the cells, provide properties that will fight dehydration & fight the signs of aging (in muscles, joints & skin). So yes, it will make the skin look more radiant, make you feel stronger & provides a fresh blood supply to your cells, which allows them to replenish & regenerate themselves.
IF YOU HAVE AN ALLERGY TO POLLEN & YOU NOTICE THAT YOU ARE ITCHY, SWOLLEN, HAVE SHORTNESS OF BREATH, FEEL LIGHT-HEADED, PLEASE STOP TAKING IT & CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR. I am not a doctor. I’m simply sharing with you my knowledge about bee pollen & how I use it but I cannot gage how you will react to it if you have an allergy to pollen.
HOW I USE IT, HOW MUCH TO TAKE, WHAT TO LOOK FOR & WHERE TO GET IT?
Taste-wise, it has a taste similar to honey, so yes, it’s sweet, but it’s definitely a little bit more tarte! I absolutely LOVE the texture because I find it adds a bit of a crunch factor to oats, Greek yogurt or smoothies. But, when it blends in with oats or yogurt, it kind of takes on a bit of a creamy texture, which is nice to! I ALSO LOVE THE COMBO OF BEE POLLEN & CINNAMON. OHMAHGAWD.
If you don’t enjoy the taste, you can also consider blending it into smoothies! It will get diluted & mixed in with all the other flavours but you’ll still benefit from all the amazing benefits.
You can find it in most health food stores in the supplements section (& usually in the fridge!). Make sure you are buying a product that is free from pesticides & make sure the bee colonies were not treated with chemicals. The label on the packaging will provide those indications for you.
Bee pollen is a very potent ingredient & as you guys can see, it can have amazing, but very powerful effects, so my recommendation would be (like with anything new to your body) to gradually work your way up! I would start out with a tsp. & build up your intake to about 1 tbsp. per day!
Ok, now that we’ve got all that down-packed, let’s talk about those energy bites… I BET YOU’VE BEEN DYING TO HEAR ALL ABOUT THEM. But admit you learned a thing or two from my extremely long rant, right?
Most recent obsession: homemade protein / energy bites! I know, you can buy them ready-made at some stores… BUT WHY WOULD YOU WHEN YOU COULD MAKE THIS DELICIOUSNESS SO EASILY AT HOME?
What I love about making my own is that for one, it lets me explore my creativity & figure out ways to combine my fave ingredients in the perfect proportions to create something amazing. And, not only does it allow my imagination to run kinda wild, but I like that it allows me to know exactly what’s going into these babies! These two points mean that the little bites I whip up in my kitch are always DELICIOUS & NUTRITIOUS! It’s a double whammy, but the good kind (Is there such thing as a good whammy? Whatever, you catch my drift).
The reason I called these GLOW FROM THE INSIDE OUT bites is because that’s what they are… DUH! They contain TONS of ingredients that will help you glow from the inside out, ’nuff said. What am I talking about, you ask? Turmeric, bee pollen, almonds, chia seeds, collagen, maca & brazil nuts. They are packed with inflammatory goodness, tons of omega fatty acids, vitamin E, anti-aging benefits, vitamin C & antioxidants! I mean, what more can you ask for, BUT A GOOD ‘OL GLOW?
These babes are all things chocolatey, naturally sweet, fudgy, chewy, moist, decadent, absolutely marvellously perfectly delicious & so good, they can be called a treat!!!! And can we discuss how pretty they are? The bee pollen & turmeric blend makes them look like sunshine! AND LET’S BE HONEST, these balls are so nutritious that they will make you feel & look that way too!
As if all the glow-boosting ingredients weren’t enough, I also used almond butter, raw cacao, chia seeds & brazil nuts to pack these babies with all the healthy goods: essential fatty acids, protein, fibre for days, magnesium & tons of energy-boosting ingredients!
You can freeze or refrigerate them based on the texture you want to achieve: If you want them a little more fudgy, I’d freeze them! If you prefer them a little less fudgy & more chewy, the fridge is where they shall sit & look pretty until you devour the heck out of ’em!
- 3/4 cup raw organic brazil nuts
- BEST SUBSTITUTES: Macadamia nuts or almonds
- CAN ALSO WORK: Cashews & walnuts
- 10 organic Medjool dates, pitted
- Add ~2 more if you want a sweeter treat!
- 2 tbsp. bee pollen
- 1.5 tbsp. raw organic almond butter
- Swap for cashew, coconut, walnut, pecan, peanut, sunflower seed or hemp nut butter
- 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1/2 tbsp. ground chia seeds
- 1 tbsp. psyllium husks
- Swap for ground flax or hemp seeds
- 2 tbsp. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
- Swap for any other protein/collagen powder of your choice or a combination of your fave superfood powders, such as: ashwagandha, maca, chaga, reishi, cordyceps, etc.
- 1 tsp. raw yellow maca
- 1 tbsp. raw organic unsweetened cacao powder
- 1/2 tbsp. pure organic vanilla extract
- OPTIONAL: 1 tbsp. pure organic maple syrup or raw organic honey or brown rice syrup for a sweeter taste.
- TOPPING: Bee pollen
- Add the brazil nuts to the bowl of your food processor & pulse until they break down into small pieces. They don’t have to look like flour, but they should be small enough that they look like crushed nuts.
- Once the brazil nuts are crumbled, add the dates & pulse again until it forms a sticky & crumbly mixture.
- Now, add in all the other ingredients (except the almond butter & pulse again a few times!).
- Open the lid of your food processor, scrape the sides & add in the almond butter. This is a little extra step but I like to do this to prevent the mixture from getting dried out.
- Once blended, your mixture should stick together when you squeeze it between your fingers. If it’s not sticky enough to roll into balls, you can add a bit more almond butter or vanilla (or maple syrup, honey or brown rice syrup).
- Scoop out the mixture into the palms of your hands & roll it into balls. Place the balls on a plate, repeat until you run out of the batter, sprinkle with bee pollen & ENJOY! 🙂
- Store the babes in an airtight container & freeze or refrigerate to your liking (based on whether you want ’em fudgy or chewier!).
- They should keep well for about 2 weeks (& even longer if you freeze ’em!).