Bee Pollen and Longevity
Many of us already know about the benefits of bee pollen. This substance — a mixture of honey and pollen collected by bees, fed by bees to their larvae — contains an incredibly wide array of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other nutrients essential to life. Various studies have shown that bee pollen can be beneficial to our health: that it increases our stamina and endurance, helps us cope with stress, builds resistance to allergies, and strengthens our immune system. Some studies even suggest that bee pollen can aid in the treatment of cancer.
Some doctors have reported that bee pollen has a biological effect on our cells, preventing the premature aging of cells and promoting the growth of new cell tissue. This process stimulates the flow of blood to skin cells and smoothes away wrinkles. And further, some studies suggest that bee pollen might help us live longer.
Some researchers theorize that “natural aging” may not be all that natural — that we, in fact, tend to age prematurely because of our habits, and that longer lives are within our reach. Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling and others have reported that Vitamin C, taken on a regular basis, can extend life for a decade or more. And unhealthy habits and environments — such as excessive sunlight, fatty foods and food additives, cigarettes, and air pollution — can damage our tissues, and shorten our lives.
Dr. Nicolai Tsitsin, a Russian biologist and experimental botanist, did research on human longevity, sending questionnaires to 200 centenarians. Most of these elderly people lived in the Caucasus Mountains region (in what was, at the time of Dr. Tsitsin’s research, the Soviet republic of Georgia), a region long noted for the longevity of its inhabitants. Dr. Tsitsin found that a large number of the centenarians were beekeepers, and that they ate the fruit of their labor every day. And they did not eat primarily honey — the pure honey was sold to customers — but the residue that they scraped from the bottom of the honey containers, which as it turns out is bee pollen.
And, importantly, the beekeepers did not process this pollen in any way — they consumed the pollen unprocessed, unfiltered, and unheated, in its natural state. Further, although they were not wealthy by any means and led difficult lives, they were for the most part active and healthy, and fully satisfied with their lives, even in their last years.
Research by Dr. Tsitsin and others on longevity is inconclusive and more studies remain to be done, but we can still take advantage of the benefits of bee pollen. To receive the full benefits, it’s best to emulate the Caucasian beekeepers and eat the pollen in its raw, unprocessed state. You may be able to source bee pollen from a local beekeeper in your area; or, visit your health food store and purchase unprocessed bee pollen granules. The taste can be strong at first but, added to yogurt, cereal, apple sauce, or a fruit smoothie, bee pollen can easily become part of your regular diet.