One of my favourite toppings for granola & fruit breakfast bowls, dairy-free coconut yogurt, almond or cashew cream, smoothies, chia puddings & oatmeal is bee pollen. You’re probably wondering, what on earth… she uses pollen as a topping? Well, not quite the kind that floats in the air & makes you sneeze if you have allergies. We’re talking bee pollen, an antioxidant-rich powerhouse & superfood with so many health benefits. I always describe it as “honey on steroids”… in other words, it has all the benefits of honey amplified in a more potent & concentrated form.
Bee pollen is naturally made by bees (& 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, a little does 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 also 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. 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 the 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 in the 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 chronic diseases, ailments & illnesses. Anti-inflammatory foods & supplements are therefore beneficial for EVERYONE!
Bee pollen is also 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 with the replenishment, renewal, turnover & regeneration of skin cells (One of my favourite skincare products, Egyptian Magic, is actually made with bee pollen, bee propolis, royal jelly, honey & olive oil & it has done wonders for my skin!).
Regarding digestive health, 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. Consuming bee pollen is a 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. 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. It also increases metabolism & dissolves 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 bad (LDL) cholesterol & increases HDL (good) cholesterol, as well as reduces 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, 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.
Any side effects? Keep in mind that if you have an allergy to pollen & you notice that you’re itchy, swollen, have shortness of breath or feel light-headed when you consume bee pollen, you should stop taking it & call your doctor (& always contact your doctor before adding new supplements/foods that you have doubts about to your routine). 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.
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!
How does it taste? Of course, that’s important too! 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 creamer recipes. But, when it blends in with oats or yogurt, it kind of takes on a bit of a creamy texture, which is nice to! 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.
Now, more importantly, let’s talk about these Glow From the Inside Out Energizing Superfood Balls I made with none other than bee pollen. I love making homemade snacks because 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 wild, but I also know exactly what’s going into these babies!
The reason I called these “glow from the inside out” 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? 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 them!
Without further ado, let’s get to the recipe.
- 3/4 cup raw organic brazil nuts
- Best swaps: Macadamia nuts or almonds
- Will also work with: 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
- Best swaps: 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
- Best swaps: ground flax or hemp seeds
- 2 tbsp. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
- Best swaps: 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 them fudgy or chewier!)
- They should keep well for about 2 weeks (& even longer if you freeze them!).