Composed of nearly 40 percent protein, bee pollen is described by Dr. Joseph Mercola as one of nature's most nourishing foods. Though bee pollen has been used for years in Chinese medicine, it has recently gained more attention in western societies, as well. Before adding bee pollen to your diet, check for signs of allergen sensitivity. Individuals who become short of breath, dizzy or experience an increase in heart rate after eating bee pollen should seek immediate medical attention.
Buy local bee pollen. Using local pollen is an effective way to strengthen your immune system and decrease the severity of seasonal allergies, says Dr. Joseph Mercola. Shop at community farmer's markets and whole food grocery stores to find bee pollen that is native to your region.
Test for possible bee pollen allergies. Even those who are not allergic to bee stings may be sensitive to bee pollen when consumed as a food product. Dr. Mercola encourages individuals to evaluate their sensitivity by ingesting a single bee pollen pellet, and monitoring for signs and symptoms of intolerance. Impaired breathing, increases in heart rate or dizziness after eating bee pollen may indicate an allergic reaction, and you should seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms.
Use caution when cooking with bee pollen. Heating bee pollen granules can denature the active enzymes in the product, and limit its nutrient value. Instead, consider adding it to smoothies, juices or salad dressings. Consider adding herbs or spices -- such as cinnamon -- to supplement the flavor of bee pollen.
Increase your bee pollen intake gradually. Start with a granule or two of bee pollen daily, says Mercola, and gradually build your consumption to about one tablespoon per day. Depending on your body weight and previous health history, the amount of bee pollen needed to provide optimal health benefits may vary substantially.
Be sure to keep bee pollen refrigerated at all times to avoid spoilage.
Kathryn Vera holds a master's degree in exercise physiology, as well as licensure as a Registered Dietitian. Currently, she works as a Clinical Exercise Physiologist in Cardiac Rehabilitation, where she provides care to patients living with chronic heart disease.