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Employee Wellness: What’s the Buzz on Honey and Bee Pollen?

Updated: Apr 1




There is research that shows that honey and bee pollen are classified as superfoods, but what are the benefits of using honey and bee pollen for health?  

 

Honey is created by bees collecting nectar with their tongues, and storing it in the second stomach, also known as the honey stomach. The stomach uses enzymes to break down nectar into simple sugars, which is then chewed and shared with the other bees. By the end of the process, honey is created and then stored in the waxy honeycomb cells for future food and carbohydrate sources when flowers are not in bloom. 

 

Bee pollen is flower pollen collected by bees using their bodies and legs. The pollen is then mixed with some of their salvia, and stored within the hive to be used as a protein source. 

 

What are the nutritional components of honey and bee pollen? 

 

One tablespoon of honey contains:  

  • 64 calories 

  • 17g carbohydrates (50% glucose and 50% fructose) 

  • Trace amounts of protein 

  • No fats 

  • Vitamins and minerals (B vitamins, calcium, copper, iron and zinc) 

  • Polyphenols (antioxidants and anti-inflammatories) 

 

One tablespoon of bee pollen contains: 

  • 40 calories 

  • 7g carbohydrates 

  • 2g protein 

  • No fats 

  • Vitamins and minerals (B vitamins, vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin C) 

  • Enzymes and antioxidants 

 

5 Benefits of consuming honey and bee pollen: 


1.Reduces environmental allergies. Honey and bee pollen have been used to prevent allergies through a process called immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is achieved by repeatedly exposing yourself over time to an allergy making you less sensitive to that allergen. Bees will collect nectar and pollen from flowers, which could contain the allergen you may be experiencing allergies from. Store-bought honey may not contain the allergens you specifically need and buying locally would increase your chances of consuming an allergen that is local to you.  


2. Abundant in antioxidants. Honey and bee pollen both contain antioxidants, which are defenders of free radicals. Antioxidants are important because, without them, the free radicals can damage cells and cause diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Consuming either honey or bee pollen may help reduce the risks of getting certain diseases or cancer.  

3. May help suppress coughing. Upper respiratory infections, allergies, and seasonal colds can be the culprits of coughing. Honey has a thick texture which can coat the irritated throat, reducing the urge to produce a cough. Both honey and bee pollen contain antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties which can lower the inflammation in the throat.  

 

4. Wound healing properties. Honey and bee pollen contain anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that when applied to wounds can aid in reducing the healing time. The properties in both honey and bee pollen provide antimicrobial action which can promote tissue repair, and reduce inflammation, edema, and pain associated with a wound.  

 

5. Lowers “bad” blood cholesterol. The antioxidants found in both honey and bee pollen can help decrease LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol. The antioxidants can protect the fats from oxidizing and clumping together, which is what restricts blood vessels, increasing the chance of heart disease risks. Using honey or bee pollen may help decrease LDL cholesterol, reducing the chances of heart disease.   

 

Overall, honey and bee pollen contain many important nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants making them superfoods. Adding both can be a beneficial addition to your diet, but try to obtain your honey and bee pollen from local sources to increase its benefits. In addition, the deeper the color of the honey, the more nutritious it is. Although both honey and bee pollen are a beneficial superfood to add to your diet, it should be noted that honey is a sugar, which is calorically dense. Consume honey in moderation to enjoy its benefits!  

 

Learn more about Wellness Workdays and our wellness program offerings by downloading our brochure.  

 

Written by: Alivia Worley, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern 

 

Sources: 

 

 

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