It may not be quite as tasty as honey.
But another substance created by bees is being touted as the latest superfood.
Bee pollen is collected and processed from plants as the insects carry out their vital task of pollinating plants and flowers.
It can be used in supplements or sprinkled over salads and its champions claim it has a number of health benefits.
Described by devotees as nature’s secret ingredient, bee pollen is now available to buy in Selfridges and is being used in salads sold at the London department store’s Wonder Bar.
Bee pollen contains antioxidants, which prevent the body’s cells being damaged by harmful free radicals, excessive amounts of which can lead to diseases including cancer. Independent dietician Dr Sarah Schenker agreed that bee pollen could have certain beneficial effects.
But she warned that very little research had been done on the subject. She said further tests would hopefully give scientists and nutritionists a greater understanding of how bee pollen affects humans. ‘From a scientific point of view, it contains plant chemicals which can show advantageous effects in humans, though whether it has a miraculous effect is another matter,’ Dr Schenker said.
‘Bee pollen is likely to contain bioactive substances and antioxidants.
‘Most of those chemicals act as antioxidants and prevent damage to cell DNA.’
She added: ‘If that effect was to be found in humans too, that would always be a good thing.
‘That’s the number one reason for eating plant-based foods.’
But Dr Schenker also pointed out that there would be no reason to eat bee pollen if people already ate a healthy and balanced diet.
However, there are a number of safety concerns surrounding bee pollen, which has been reported to cause allergic and even anaphylactic reactions, according to various scientific journals.