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18 bee pollen benefits and recipes in 2021

In 2021, with the lingering health threat posed by COVID and other common respiratory viruses, many are seeking to bolster their immune system by refining their diet, including by introducing or expanding supplementation. An increasingly popular supplement is bee pollen, which is associated with a number of health benefits:

  1. According to health research website, bee pollen consumption can strengthen the immune system[1].
  2. It can also help reduce stress[2].
  3. It works as a dietary supplement[3], containing over 250 biologically active substances including proteins, carbs, lipids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants.
  4. Its high antioxidant content (e.g. flavonoids, carotenoids, quercetin, kaempferol and gluthathione) works to combat free radicals in the body[4] and may have anti-inflammatory effects.[5] These properties may collectively promote wound healing, while antimicrobial properties may prevent wound infection.[6]
  5. Studies show bee pollen supplements may lower heart disease risk factors such as “bad” LDL cholesterol and lipid oxidation.
  6. Animal studies indicate bee pollen boosts liver health and may offer protection of the liver against harmful substances.[7]
  7. Animal and test-tube studies show pollen’s antioxidants may reduce the severity and onset of allergies and kill harmful bacteria.
  8. Bee pollen may ease symptoms of menopause[8]; in one study, 71% of women found their symptoms improved while taking it; in another study, 65% of women taking a supplement reported fewer hot flashes.[9]
  9. It may improve the body’s utilisation of nutrients; a study of iron-deficient rats found they absorbed 66% more iron when pollen was added to their diet, likely attributable to the absorption-boosting effects of vitamin C and bioflavonoids in pollen. Healthy rats fed pollen absorbed more calcium and phosphorus from their diet.
  10. As a natural food source, for most of the population, bee pollen is safe to consume. However, people with pollen or bee sting allergies, pregnant or breastfeeding people, and those taking blood thinners should avoid it. Anyone unsure about safety should always consult their GP before adding any supplement to their diet.Now the benefits are known – what are the most effective and delicious ways to incorporate bee pollen into your daily diet?
  11. Overnight oats with bee pollen – simply mix oats with the other ingredients and flavours you prefer (e.g. grated apple, berries, nut butter, maple syrup or honey, vanilla extract, cinnamon), and stir in one teaspoon of bee pollen. Then add enough milk (plant-based or dairy, according to preference) to incorporate all the ingredients and achieve the desired consistency, and store in the fridge for several hours or overnight. Before serving, sprinkle a little more bee pollen on top.
  12. For a quicker, warmer version of oats, porridge is an excellent source of fibre with anti-inflammatory properties, and again, bee pollen can be stirred through and/or used as a topping.
  13. Make your own granola and incorporate bee pollen. A mix of raisins, rolled oats, honey, vegetable oil, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and almonds can be mixed with bee pollen – about three tablespoons for a recipe yielding one large jar – and baked until golden-brown. When milk is added to a serving, the bee pollen dissolves, enhancing the taste and colour of the granola bowl.
  14. Add one to two teaspoons of bee pollen to your usual smoothie recipe, and if you like a smoothie bowl, add it with your favourite toppings.
  15. Sprinkle bee pollen directly over salad, or incorporate it in a thicker homemade or store-bought salad dressing such as honey mustard.
  16. Use bee pollen to enhance the flavour and nutritional value of baked goods – this shortbread recipe calls for a dusting of sugar and pollen.
  17. If you like to make your own healthy sweets, use pollen as a garnish on top of dark chocolate bark or as a coating for sugared almonds or hazelnuts.Bonus note – to get the best out of your bee pollen, take care with how you store it:
  18. When stored properly, it can keep for about three years. The best places are the fridge or freezer, or your pantry if it is cool and dark. Keep it away from sunlight or other hot spots to preserve the nutritional value.

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