They don’t call them busy little bees for nothing! Raw honey, manuka honey, and bee pollen—the entire honey-making process just blows me away, not to mention all the nutrition to gain from it. I definitely owe those bees a big thank you for all the cool products they create for me to enjoy and benefit from.
What is Bee Pollen?
Not to be confused with honey or royal jelly, bee pollen is the pollen collected by bees as they gather nectar from flowers for making honey. Like honey, bee pollen is used as a food by the hive. The pollen granules are stored in pollen sacs on the bees’ hind legs.
How is Bee Pollen Collected?
Beekeepers who wish to collect bee pollen place a screen over the hive with openings just large enough for the bees to pass through. As the bees enter the hive, the screen compresses their pollen sacs, squeezing the pollen from them. The beekeepers can then collect the pollen from the screen.
Nutritional Value of Bee Pollen
Believe it or not, bee pollen is extremely nutrient dense, containing at least 18 vitamins, 25 minerals, 59 trace elements, and 11 enzymes. It also contains 25% protein and 14 different fatty acids.
It contains vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, pyridoxine, Pantothenic acid, biotin, folic acid, and vitamins D, E and K.
The minerals found in bee pollen include phosphorous, calcium, potassium, iodine, zinc, copper, sodium, sulfur, magnesium, chlorine, manganese, selenium, molybdenum, silica, boron and titanium.
Bee Pollen, Rutin and Heart Health
Bee pollen contains rutin, which is a flavonoid antioxidant found in buckwheat seed, fruits and fruit rinds, especially citrus fruits (orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime) and berries such as mulberry. The richest supply of rutin is found in buckwheat pollen.
Having rutin in bee pollen is significant because it has a protective action on the heart, blood vessels and especially on the capillaries. Rutin provides increased protection to the walls of the capillaries, throughout the entire capillary system. The rutin in bee pollen also has anti-inflammatory activity and inhibits platelet aggregation, which makes blood thinner and improves circulation.
The polyunsaturated fats and flavonoids found in rutin enhance blood circulation and help prevent arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis by reducing the cholesterol and triglycerides ratio.
A lot of research still needs to be done on Bee Pollen's effect on heart health, but it's exciting to think something so natural can benefit something as powerful as our heart!
In Health and Happiness,
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods
Rutin and blood vessel health: Angiology. 2008 Feb-Mar. Department of Biomedical Sciences, Chieti-Pescara University, and the San Valentino Vascular Screening Project, Italy.