What is Bee Pollen?
The most popular product among bee products is raw honey / flower honey. But other bee products are just as important as honey. As the bee world is being explored recently, it is more clear how wide and magnificent the beehive and the bee products are.
According to some sources, the word pollen was first used by Swedish botanist Linne in 1760. Pollen, which is a Latin word, means “fine, dust, flour”..
Bee Pollen is a natural mixture of flower pollen, nectar, enzymes, honey, wax and bee secretion. Bees collect pollen from plants and carry it around on their legs to the beehive to store and use as a food for the whole colony. They consume both the pollination of plants and the protein, minerals and vitamins necessary for their nutrition by consuming pollen. Pollen is a strong food containing protein, vitamins and minerals that bees need.
Bee Pollen Benefits
It is considered as a superfood due to its high nutritional properties.
Bee Pollen boasts an impressive nutritional profile. It is composed of approximately 40% carbs, 35% protein, 4-10% water, 5% fats and 5-15% other substances.
It contains lipids, carbohydrates, fiber, protein, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, antibiotics, phenolic compounds, helpful vitamins, nutrients and over 250 biologically active subtances.
Mineral profile of bee pollen is not only composed of plant oils, but also shows great differences according to soil, geographical origin and growth conditions.
Generally, bee pollen contains sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chlorine, phosphorus, iron, copper, manganese, cobalt and nickel minerals and some of these minerals play an important role in the lives of bees.
Pollens come from many diverse plants, so the composition and contents of bee pollen can vary significantly. So, pollen's nutritional properties depends on the location of the bees and what trees and flowers they can access to, as well as the season that it is collected.
Bee Pollen contains large amount of antioxidants such as carotenoids, flavonoids, quercetin and kaempferol.
Honey bees consume pollen to meet their nutritional needs such as protein, fatty acid, lipid, sterol, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates. In short, all the amino acid, fat, sterol, mineral and vitamins necessary for the survival of honey bees are met by bee pollen.
Bee pollen is also very important for the continuity of the colony. Depending on the size of the colony (numerical size), bees store honey as well as pollen. If the amount of pollen is small, the colony cannot produce offspring.
Pyhsical Properties of Bee Pollen
The physical structure of bee pollen may vary according to the plant species from which it is produced. Even the same type of pollens can be of different shapes and colors. The dimensions range from 6mm to 300mm on average.
Recent research has made it easier to have an idea about the color diversity of bee pollen. When we look at the color types of bee pollen, it is generally seen from yellow to black, purple to blue and from green to red. Bee pollen carotenoids that give color, the pollen does not contain chlorophyll.
Carotenoid is color pigments commonly found in nature.
And Chlorophyll is a green biological pigment that absorbs light from various wavelengths, causing photosynthesis in the plant.
Chemical Properties of Bee Pollen
Bee pollen is rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins and meets the all nutritional needs of bees as aforementioned.
The chemical properties of a Bee Pollen may vary depending on the plant species. And when the chemical structure of a bee pollen is examined, it has been seen that the obtained results are very complex. Therefore, although the content of a bee pollen’s exact results cannot be accessed, approximate values can be obtained.
On average, 25% of the Bee Pollen has protein content of at least 18 amino acids. And along with pollen, there are also various vitamins, 28 different minerals, 11 enzymes/coenzymes, 14 fatty acids, 11 carbonhydrates and hormones. Pollen is also found to be very rich in B group and A, C and E vitamins. The containing B group vitamins are B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6 and these are essential for the feeding of honey bee larvae. Bee pollen also contains carotenoids, folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, human growth hormone and gonadotropin.
The chemical profile of the Bee Pollen may vary according to the species of plants from which it is collected. In addition, climatic conditions and storage methods play a role in determining the chemical properties of pollen.
Bee Pollen can be consumed directly or added to smoothies, yoghurt, cereal, muesli or other favorite foods. It does not really have a specific taste, so it is easy to add to most foods.
Bee Pollen is safe for adults and children over 1 year.
Recommended daily consumption for children is 1-2 teaspoon daily and for adult is 2-4 teaspoon.