How to Purchase Bee Pollen
The potential health benefits of bee pollen are manifold: various studies have indicated that bee pollen acts as an anticarcinogen, strengthens the immune system, increases energy and endurance, builds resistance to allergies, and more. Because bee pollen contains so many vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other nutrients that are vital to human life, it can be a valuable food supplement for just about anyone.
However, many first-time buyers may be uncertain about how to purchase bee pollen. Generally, it is best to purchase bee pollen in its rawest state: granules. You may be able to purchase the freshest granules directly from a local beekeeper; call your local chamber of commerce to find any beekeepers in your area. Bee pollen from beekeepers is usually 100 percent natural — it is not processed or preserved — and thus the effectiveness of the nutrients is not compromised. Ensure that the granules have not been subjected to any heating or drying process, as this reduces the nutritional value; but because the granules are so “raw,” some beekeepers may freeze them, which is perfectly acceptable. And if you don’t consume your bee pollen granules within a short period of time, be sure to refrigerate the pollen, or freeze some yourself for later use.
You can also purchase bee pollen granules at your local health food store; ensure, again, that the granules have not been processed or preserved, or subjected to a heating process. (Freeze-dried granules, on the other hand, should be perfectly OK.) Consult with the salesperson to make sure you’re getting the best product. And as with raw granules purchased from a beekeeper, be sure to refrigerate your store-bought granules, and consume them before their expiration date.
Some people simply eat bee pollen granules by the spoonful; however, others are initially put off by the strong flavor. You can sprinkle granules in yogurt or cereal, or mix them in a blender if you’re making fruit smoothies. They should be eaten raw; don’t cook them.
Bee pollen is also available in capsule form; capsules are easier to keep and consume, and many people may prefer this convenience. Bee pollen capsules should be GMP-compliant (“Good Manufacturing Practice”); this designation indicates that the capsules have met an international standard of quality control, as all GMP-compliant foods and pharmaceuticals must pass rigid testing undertaken by national and international agencies.
The disadvantage to capsules is that the raw granules are processed prior to encapsulation, and in the course of processing, the natural shell that forms the outer layer of each granule is broken down, allowing some nutrients to escape. Some capsule manufacturers may claim that, by breaking down the natural shell, the nutrients within become easier to digest, but skeptics point out that these nutrients are first exposed to oxygen and light, which oxidize and break down the nutrients themselves, rendering them ineffective. In any event, our bodies are perfectly capable of naturally breaking down the shells that encase the raw granules, so capsules should only be considered by those with particularly weak digestive systems.
However you purchase and consume your bee pollen, the benefits are well worth the effort.