Remember when chlorophyll water or sea moss gel was all the rage? Well now it’s time for bee products to have their turn in the spotlight. Whether it’s a honey face mask, bee pollen, or propolis throat spray, it seems like everywhere you turn, there’s a new bee product to try. I’m all for a new wellness trend, so I had to investigate bee products for myself. Spoiler alert: I became a huge fan. Bee products have been shown to have many health benefits, namely improved immunity. But in order to fully understand the different types of bee products out there, their benefits, and how to consume them, I turned to the experts. Ahead, the lowdown on what they had to say.
What are the different types of bee products?
Today, there are tons of bee products available, but three of the most popular types are superfood honey, propolis, and bee pollen. As you probably already know, honey is the liquid processed by bees–but what may surprise you is the difference between the honey you find in your local grocery store and superfood honey. Dr. Mahmud Kara, MD, a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic and Founder of KaraMD, shared that most honey found in stores have undergone manufacturing and refining processes that rob honey of its beneficial nutrients and compounds. Superfood honey, on the other hand, has not undergone these processes and retains all its benefits.
Propolis is referred to as the “glue” or sticky substances that bees pick up from various plants to create their hives. It can be consumed in a variety of ways, whether it’s in the form of capsules, a liquid extract, or a throat spray, and can be found at many health food stores. Lastly, there’s bee pollen, which Dr. Kara said is the combination of plant pollen or residue and secretions that honeybees make while building hives and creating honey. The best way to buy bee pollen is in its 100% raw form. It is usually sold in jars and looks like small, yellow beads (available in some supermarkets and most health food stores). I find the best way to consume bee pollen is sprinkling some into smoothies, yogurt, or a salad.
What are the benefits of bee products?
Superfood honey, propolis, and bee pollen all provide immunity to the body in various ways. Kelly Springer, a registered dietician and nutrition ambassador at Wedderspoon, shared that superfood honey includes trace amounts of amino acids, vitamin B, vitamin C, minerals, and antioxidants. She added that including superfood honey in your diet can be extremely beneficial during cold and flu season, as well as before or after a workout. As an added bonus, superfood honey can also be very good for your gut microbiome, which impacts every part of the body, from your brain to your heart. Another perk of superfood honey is its benefits for the skin. Springer suggested making a DIY honey face mask, which can help support healthy and supple skin (adding to my skincare routine as we speak).
According to a 2017 study, propolis has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant properties. In other words, adding it into your diet can help reduce inflammation, Dr. Karr confirmed. My favorite way to consume propolis? Using Beekeepers Natural’s Throat Spray. Every time I use it, I immediately feel the effects. As for bee pollen, similar to superfood honey and propolis, it’s packed with numerous vitamins and minerals. Recent studies have even shown that bee pollen can help reduce the risk of disease, blood sugar regulation, cardiovascular protection, and immunity. The health benefits of bee products are extensive, but like adding any new product to your routine, there are some factors to be aware of.
What to know before consuming bee products
A large percentage of the population is allergic to bees and bee-based products, so talk to your doctor before adding any bee products into your diet. If you get the green light and decide to try a bee product, it’s important to consider where you buy it from. Choosing brands that are transparent about their sourcing, ingredients, and dosage instructions, ensures you get exactly what you are looking for when buying a bee product.
Bee products have been consumed by humans since ancient times as a natural remedy for illness and other ailments. Whether you take a spoonful of superfood honey to help fight a cold, add bee pollen to your smoothie for better gut health, or use a propolis throat spray for stronger immunity, bee products (when consulted by a doctor) can be a great aid in better overall health.