Eating healthy is not only important for keeping us fit, but many body functions can greatly benefit from it, as healthy food improves your mood, gives you more energy, and helps you fight various diseases. But taking care of your health doesn’t just mean reducing the amount of junk food you eat and being more physically active – it is important to consume the food that nourishes our body and keeps it healthy.
Superfoods are those types of food that are rich in various nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals and healthy fats that help our organism fight vicious diseases and prolong our life span. One of the most famous superfoods are blueberries known for their vitamins. Spirulina, possibly one of the oldest life forms on Earth and a plant that has between 50 and 70% protein, has become one of the most popular superfoods.
What exactly is Spirulina?
We are mostly used to seeing spirulina in a form of a powder or as a capsule, but have you ever wondered what it is exactly? It is actually a blue-green alga that has been around for a very long time, but people have recently started being aware of its numerous benefits such as the ability to boost your energy, strengthen your immune system, balance pH levels and improve your digestion. It is rich in many amino acids essential for our body, and it can be a great source of iron, B and K vitamins, calcium and magnesium. And as already mentioned, it has more protein than certain types of meat and fish.
Where can Spirulina be found in nature?
Spirulina in the form of algae grows in freshwater lakes, rivers, and ponds as well. It prefers lots of sunlight with moderate temperatures and clean water. The wild form of spirulina can be found in Mexico and in Africa, but due to its rise in popularity, it is commercially grown worldwide.
Spirulina is very rich in nutrients
The reasons spirulina is so beneficial for our health are obvious if we take a look at nutrients contained in spirulina. With the range of vitamins such as vitamin A, B6, B12, C, E, K and minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, spirulina represents a healthy source of essential vitamins and minerals our body needs. Together with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids and the high amount of proteins, spirulina is a real immunity booster bomb.
It is rich in proteins
Spirulina contains from 50-70% proteins which have all the necessary amino acids and are highly digestible. It can be a great source of protein for people who don’t consume meat. One cup of spirulina (112 grams) contain s around 64 grams of protein, which is a little more protein than we need in a day – recommended daily intake for women is 46 grams and 56 grams for men.
It is rich in B12
The lack of vitamin B12 can cause anemia, fatigue, and depression, thus it is important to have enough of this vitamin in our organism. B12 is commonly found in foods such as different types of meat, eggs and cheese, and less commonly in plant foods. One of the exceptions is spirulina which is high in vitamin B12 and as such a great source of this vitamin for vegans.
It contains Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) and Omega-3s
Both gamma linolenic acid omega-3 acid have numerous health benefits, such as reducing inflammation, helping with skin conditions, high cholesterol, heart disease, nerve pain, depression, asthma and so on. Spiruilna is a natural source of these acids, and considering the fact that GLA is rarely found in food sources, this makes spirulina that more valuable.
Benefits of Spirulina
It is difficult to list all the benefits you can feel when consuming spirulina, thus we’ll try to list the most important ones.
Spirulina balances blood sugar There are a number of studies conducted on animals indicating that spirulina is as effective as some diabetes medication, if not more effective, in helping to control blood sugar levels. Another study conducted on 25 people suffering from type 2 diabetes further confirms how beneficial spirulina is in balancing blood sugar.
Spirulina helps with allergies If you are suffering from allergies and experience symptoms such as nasal discharge, sneezing, nasal congestion and itching, spirulina will help you relieve those symptoms, as it has been proven it is effective o n allergic rhinitis.
Spirulina helps fight oral cancer Evidence suggest that spirulina may be successful in helping people fight cancer, and it has been studied in relation to oral cancer. In a study conducted on 87 people with precancerous lesions in the mouth, 45% of the group consuming 1 gram per day during one year saw a complete regression of lesions.
Spirulina improves muscle strength and endurance In order to prevent muscle fatigue and injuries when exercising or engaging in physically demanding activities, you need to consume foods with antioxidant properties and spirulina is very rich in antioxidants. Furthermore, studies have shown that spirulina can have preventative effects on muscle damage and increase exercise performance.
Spirulina helps regulate blood pressure According to a study conducted in Mexico, taking 4.5 grams of spirulina per day reduces high blood pressure both in men and women.
Spirulina helps regulate cholesterol Higher cholesterol means you are at risk for heart diseases. Luckily, there are natural ways to lower cholesterol, such as consuming spirulina. A study conducted on 78 elderly males and females, where they consumed 8 grams of spirulina per day for 16 weeks, showed a significant reduction in cholesterol levels.
Spirulina helps fight anemia Anemia is characterized by a deficiency or red cells and hemoglobin, and it causes fatigue. 40 elderly people suffering from anemia were subjects to a study which proved that the consumption of spirulina increased hemoglobin content in blood.
Spirulina helps weight loss As spirulina contains high amounts of proteins, it may satisfy your hunger and lead to fat burning. Its benefits are obvious in long term and are much more effective than short-term diets, as this study suggest.
Spirulina helps eliminate candida If pH balance in our bodies is for some reason disturbed, it can cause candida to grow, thus causing many problems, such as leaky gut syndrome. Several animal studies indicate that spirulina is effective in inhibiting the uncontrollable growth of candida.
Spirulina helps in protecting the brain Spirulina can help you improve your focus and concentration, but it may also prevent degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson diseases due to its antioxidant properties, as one study shows.