The rumour mill is in overdrive… nup I’m not talking about the Packer-Gyngell bust-up or Kim and Kanye’s suspected wedding – I’m talking about bees, or a lack thereof. We’re being told again and again that the world’s bee population is diminishing. This is terrifying and not from a purely selfish point of view; honey is eaten daily in my house and really is the bee's knees (get it?!). Bee products also have incredibly therapeutic, nourishing and healing properties.
But are they really diminishing? Research indicates that one of the main reasons for the serious decline in bee populations, especially across North America and Europe is related to the use of pesticides and, specifically, neonicotinoid chemicals. These interfere with the bees’ homing signals, causing foraging bees fail to return to the hive. According to Sustainable Gardening Australia, evidence has also linked the chemicals to an 85% drop in the production of Queen Bees that are essential for the establishment of new hives.
A serious concern, besides the obvious environmental impact, is that bee products such as raw honey, royal jelly, propolis and bee pollen will diminish in availability. Why does this matter? Because they are some of the richest superfoods we have that can prevent and address chronic disease. David Wolfe, the raw food and superfood nutrition guru, recently said that bee products are the most complete food source in the world and should be at the top of the list of super foods.
When you’re buying bee products opt for local options where possible. If you've got to hit the supermarket then ignore the cheap Kraft honey lining the shelves and go for the organic honey, which only costs a fraction more and ensures you’re getting the real stuff... unheated and unprocessed honey that still contains all of its antibacterial and antioxidant properties.
The Low-down on Bee Pollen
Yep, bee pollen is just that, pollen from the flowers. It’s actually the male seed of the flowers, that bees brush into the pollen sacs on their legs and is the young bee’s food.
Bee Pollen, also known as ‘Nature’s Fountain of Youth’, is made up of 55% carbohydrates, 35% protein, 3% vitamins and minerals, 2% fatty acids and 5% other minerals. But here’s the real clincher – bee pollen contains approximately 6 times the amino acids (protein) found in beef. Not to mention it’s loaded with antioxidants, including selenium and lycopene, both of which support healthy aging, boost immune function and support cardiovascular health.
What are the Benefits of Bee Pollen?
- Reduces allergies
- Stimulates your metabolism to aid weight loss
- Contains lecithin, which normalises cholesterol
- Supports healthy hormones
- Optimises fertility
- Balances blood sugar levels
- Regulates energy levels
- Supports muscle recovery
How can you use it?
It’s recommended to have one teaspoon per day for immune benefits, to reduce allergies and support your health and wellbeing. Simply sprinkle some on your breakfast, salads or smoothies and enjoy the extra crunch.
So there you have it, those buzzing, busy little critters that we often swear at and wildly wave our arms at are in fact your hard-working friends. Now buzz off and get yourself some bee products!
Caution: If you are allergic to pollen then avoid bee pollen.
Olivia McFadyen, based in Mosman on Sydney's Lower North Shore, is a qualified Naturopath, Nutritional Therapist, Herbalist and Homoeopath. Whilst Olivia is a qualified Naturopath and Nutritionist, she is also a realist and understands the demands of modern day life, offering nutrition, herbal medicine and homoeopathic consultations and support without compromising on the enjoyment food can bring. She is passionate about supporting patients to reach their lifestyle goals, optimise their health & develop a healthy yet balanced way of life through naturopathy and homoeopathy. She services her clients by offering 4 and 12 week natural health programs from her clinic in Mosman on Sydney's Lower North Shore.