The flowers are very important to nature. Not only are they beautiful to look at, they also take part in balancing the ecosystem. Even the beautiful flowers contribute to the activities that are happening around us.
Pollination in Flowers
Pollination is the reproductive procedure between plants in which the male gametes; called pollens, are transferred to the female gametes; called ovules. The process however can only take place with the help of the wind or through an animal.
The animals that are involved in the process of pollination are called pollinators. Pollinators can either be insects like bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, some flies, beetles, and mosquitoes; some lizards; birds like hummingbirds; and also other mammals like monkeys, lemurs, and possums.
The Process of Pollination
The pollination process in plants happens in the following order:
- The pollinator goes to the male plant and some of the pollens are transferred to the pollinator’s feet.
- The pollinator hops to the nearby plant. In this case, the pollens get transferred. However, it is necessary that the pollens get transferred to a plant of the same species. It is also possible for a flower to transfer the pollens to itself, since most perfect flowers have both male and female organs.
- The pollens stick to the stigma. The stigma is the part of the flower where the pollens germinate; it is also placed in the plant’s pistil which is the female sexual organ of a flower.
- The pollens are then transferred to the ovary via a pollen tube in the style. The ovary is where the pollens are supposed to fuse with the ovules.
- The sperm nuclei from the pollen grain fuse with the female ovules.
- After the fusion of the male and female gametes, it results to the ovules turning into seed and the ovary becomes a fruit.
By understanding how pollination works, we can see how important this process is for the ecosystem; including the flowers and the pollinators that do the work. Also, through pollination, there are certain byproducts produced and one of them is bee pollen.
What is Bee Pollen
As previously mentioned, the bee pollen is a byproduct of pollination. It consists of flower pollens, nectar or honey, enzymes, and other bee secretions like saliva.
The bees that acted as pollinators tend to bring a few of the pollens back to their beehive where it serves as a food for the bee colony.
The bee pollen that is produced by the bees are recently discovered as healthy and nutritional. So far, the Federal Ministry of Health in Germany has validated the health benefits of the pollen and they also introduced how powerful it can be as a medicine.
According to the people who discovered how nutritious bee pollens are, they contain lots of nutrients like vitamins, amino acids, lipids, and a huge amount of active substances that counts to over 250.
Bee Pollen: Healthy and Beneficial
A few of the benefits the bee pollen can provide are the following:
- Bee pollen may help reduce inflammation.
- Bee pollen contains helpful antioxidants.
- It improves the health of the liver.
- It nourishes the immune system of the body.
- Bee pollen works as a dietary supplement.
- Bee pollen relieves menopausal symptoms.
- It has the ability to lessen stress levels.
- It has the ability to accelerate the healing process.
Bee pollens physically look like pellets or granules. They are crunchy when eaten. And a tablespoon of these contains the following nutrients:
- Calories – 16
- Fat – 0.24 grams
- Protein – 1.2 grams
- Carbohydrates – 2.18 grams
- 250 active substances and nutrients; such as vitamins and flavonoids
The given nutrients are what the pollens contain in general. However, it may also depend on the season the pollens are collected and from what plants they have been gathered from.
Studies have proven how different the nutrients are depending on which flowers are the source. An example of this is the pollens from pine plant that contains 7% protein while the pollens from date palm boasts a huge amount of 35% protein.
Bee Pollens are Super Beneficial
Aside from the abovementioned health benefits of bee pollens, these are a few more benefits that are proven to be true:
- Bee pollens contain antioxidants that have the ability to keep the body safe from free radicals and possible chronic diseases. The antioxidants that the pollens contain work against harmful substances called free radicals. These free radicals are capable of causing chronic diseases like cancer and even type 2 diabetes, therefore they must be immediately flushed out of the system. According to studies, consumption of bee pollens have proven its ability to decrease inflammation, remove harmful bacteria in the body, fight off infections, and prevent the spreading and growth of tumors.
- Bee pollens have the ability to improve the performance and functions of the liver. Also, they protect the liver from possible harmful toxic substances. This is because of the present antioxidants in the pollen. Some studies were performed to see how the pollens work with the functioning of the liver. The studies have proven that the antioxidants from bee pollens defend the liver against damage from toxic substances, also they promote healing of the liver too.
- Bee pollens boost the immune system of the body, therefore giving the body the capacity to avoid certain illnesses and allergies. The pollens kill the certain bacteria that may cause unwanted illnesses or allergies.
- Bee pollens may assist in the treatment of wounds and they also have the capability to prevent further infections. The combination of the anti-inflammatory property of the pollen and its antioxidants is enough to help in the healing process. At the same time, the way these pollens prevent infections on wounds make them a go-to treatment by most people. There are now products like balms that are made of bee pollens; they are ointments that are applied to wounds.
The Side Effects of Bee Pollen
However useful bee pollens are, there are still precautions with regards to their consumption.
Since the pollens can be crushed into powder and made into dietary supplements, they are mostly sold at the market with labels. Even the pure bee pollens are sold in packagings, be sure to always check the labels.
The worst thing that may happen is if the bee pollens purchased are contaminated; they may cause severe conditions such as increased heart rate, and even deadly conditions like cardiac arrest which may also lead to the person’s death.
Another precaution is for people with allergic reactions to bee stings or wasps must avoid consuming bee pollen. There are possible symptoms if one is allergic to bee pollen and they are: itching, swelling, feeling lightheaded, and difficulty in breathing.