It is estimated that Americans consume about 1.3 pounds of honey on a per person annual basis. A single average honey bee can produce only 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its entire life. We know that the bees are incredibly important for our environments, as they are natural pollinators. The slow decline of the honey bee is concerning for a number of reasons, and not just as a source of sweetener.
Yet the by-products of honey, as well as honey itself, have health benefits beyond just sweetening a cup of tea. In fact, products such as bee pollen and royal honey can be a healthy addition to most diets.
Can Adding the By-Products of Honey Into Our Diets Yield Health Benefits?
Americans are constantly told to cut down on the amount of sugar in their diets. Sugar is not just from sugar cane, but also from maple syrup, corn syrup, agave, and yes, honey. But are all sweeteners made equal? Arguably, while slashing our sugar consumption is important, we should not treat all sources of sweetness the same.
The Health Benefits of Raw Honey.
Raw honey should never be fed to infants under the age of six months, as raw honey may contain spores that a very young infant’s body cannot defend against. Typically, the honey bears for sale at chain grocery stores are pasteurized and safe for infants. But to see health benefits, you’ll need to have raw, unpasteurized honey.
Interestingly, honey is technically classified as an acid due to its pH rating being between 3.2 and 4.5. This pH is actually low enough to inhibit the spread of some bacteria strains. Raw honey, especially from local beekeepers, can help with seasonal allergies due to the pollen from local flowers being converted into a more palatable form. Honey is also a great source of glucose, which our bodies use for energy. It is also a natural cough suppressant, which is more appealing than a spoonful of medicine for many children.
The Health Benefits of Pure Royal Jelly.
What is pure royal jelly? It is a pale, milky substance that is a side product produced by worker bees. Pure royal jelly has an interesting makeup: it is between 60 to 70% water; about 12 to 15% protein; nearly 15% sugar; about 3 to 6% fats; and the remaining 2 to 3% a mixture of salt, minerals, and essential amino acids. The name ‘royal jelly’ comes from the fact that this secretion is fed to young queen bees to support and foster their development.
Pure royal jelly is believed to have a number of health benefits, whether ingested or applied. These benefits include:
-Boost immune system
-Seasonal allergy support
-Boosts brain health
-Eases osteoporosis symptoms
-Reduces menopausal symptoms
Pure royal jelly is essential to see any benefits. Diluted royal jelly does not show promising evidence in assisting with the general health issues listed above.
The Health Benefits of Bee Pollen.
Bee pollen is comprised of about 40% protein, which makes it an excellent food for young honey bees. While raw honey can be suitable for people with seasonal allergies, one pellet of bee pollen can contain up to 2 million grains of straight flower pollen. People who are are very sensitive to flower pollen may find that they have a reaction to bee pollen as well.
The health benefits of bee pollen are similar to those of raw honey. Relief from seasonal allergies, high in antioxidants, and providing a boost to the immune system are all great benefits. However, bee pollen does differ from raw honey and royal jelly due to it’s nature of being unrefined. It is recommended that one does not ingest bee pollen in large amounts, or everyday for 90 days without a break in consumption.
Bee pollen, royal jelly, and raw honey are delicious additions to anyone’s diet. Besides providing a bit of sweetness, there is some evidence to suggest that adding one or all of these elements to one’s diet can provide health benefits. If you do choose to begin consumption, ensure that the products you buy are organic, pure, raw, and from a reputable source. In other words, make friends with your local bee keeper.