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Our “WTF is” series will focus on one elusive health term that maybe you’ve heard of but never fully understood. So, please, allow us to clear things up and break it all down for you.

If you’ve been to a health food store, or even a smoothie shop, you may have come across bee pollen. “What the hell is bee pollen,” you may have asked yourself, because at first it doesn’t seem like a kind of thing that would be normal for us humans to eat. Well, let us break it down.

Bee pollen, which collects on the bodies of bees as they travel from flower to flower, is the food that young bees eat. Much like human breast milk, a food that young humans drink, it is considered to be one of the most nourishing nature-created foods available. Interestingly enough, bee pollen, like breast milk, cannot be reproduced in a laboratory setting. This is because bee pollen contains over 250 nutrients, some of which we don’t even yet have a name for. Isn’t that cool? So is everything else you have yet to learn about this incredible super food.

What are the health benefits of bee pollen?

Bee pollen is 23% protein, 10% of which is provided in the form of free amino acids. These free amino acids are easily used by the body to satisfy all of its protein requirements. This means that bee pollen can be a better protein source than any meat or dairy product available, and it can be a major asset to athletes and parents — two groups of people that need some serious stamina and energy assistance.

Bee pollen is also full of vitamins (including C and B varieties). While bee pollen is nourishing your body with its vitamins and protein content, its antibiotic properties, which have been shown to be impressively effective against bacterial strains as serious as salmonella, are working away at keeping you healthy alongside its antioxidant, antiviral and antifungal properties.

One of bee pollen’s biggest strengths is its ability to increase both red and white blood cells and improve blood circulation. That’s great news for those suffering from anemia or an infection that just won’t quit, as well as for those who find themselves needing to take anti-inflammatory medications somewhat regularly. The anti-inflammatory properties of this super food have been shown to be comparable to those of popular medications like naproxen.

Bee pollen can help manage your weight.

Another benefit of regular bee pollen usage is weight control. Bee pollen helps to stabilize weight by stimulating the metabolic processes, by reducing cravings as a result of the phenylalanine it contains and by helping to rid the body of excess fat thanks to its lecithin content (15%). The incredible things that happen within your body upon ingesting lecithin result in protection against unhealthy cholesterol levels and that ever-threatening risk of heart disease.

Is bee pollen good for your skin? YES.

Last but not least is bee pollen’s ability to improve skin’s health and overall appearance — especially in regard to acne. This is because bee pollen stimulates cell renewal and the formation of new tissue. Sufferers of skin issues such as psoriasis and eczema may also find relief upon regular ingestion of bee pollen because of these properties.

It can help with menopausal symptoms.

Some women may want to consider taking small doses of bee pollen regularly when it comes time to handle menopausal symptoms, as its ability to provide relief has been proven. If you find yourself somewhere in between pregnancy and menopause, bee pollen can help with stress management and the boosting of your immune system, which all of us overthinkers and overdoers could use some assistance with.

Is bee pollen safe to use in your diet?

Mostly, yes, but if you have a pollen allergy, you will most likely have an allergic reaction. That being said, using bee pollen in allergy desensitization sessions has been proven successful, and may be worth speaking to your allergist about.

Interested in adding bee pollen to your daily health regimen? According to Dr. Axe, a natural medicine expert and certified nutrition specialist, it is safe to consume one teaspoon of ground pollen by mouth three times per day for 30 to 60 days when using it as a means of treating a specific health condition, such as inflammation or depression. For daily use you can mix smaller doses with food such as honey or cottage cheese, or you can purchase bee pollen granules and add them to water, yogurt or baked goods.

One of the more satisfying ways to ingest bee pollen is in healthful smoothies. Blend with coconut milk, blueberries, bananas and ice for an energizing and happify-ing start to your morning.