I’m sure many of you have heard of the superfood chlorella. But do you know about it’s equally helpful cousin, spirulina? That’s right. I know it sounds like a pasta shape, but this superfood is actually a blue-green algae that can grow in either freshwater or salt water. It comes in either powder form, flake form, or in tablet form.
People in the health world are well aware of this superfood and its intense flavor. Currently, there are more than a thousand scientific researches and studies about spirulina.
In 1974, the World Health Organization tagged spirulina as “an interesting food for multiple reasons, rich in iron and protein, and is able to be administered to children without any risk.” That just goes to show how beneficial it can be to the human body.
Spirulina Nutrition Content
Spirulina is a great source of protein, riboflavin, thiamin, copper, iron, manganese, omega-3 fatty acids, and omega-6 fatty acids. It has dietary fiber and a minimum amount of calories, fat, and carbohydrates. For its vitamin content, it possesses vitamins A, B6, C D, E, and K. It also has niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, and choline. For its mineral content, it includes calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, and selenium.
Benefits of Spirulina
Like most superfoods, this one is no exception. It has multiple benefits for you and your body. Here are just a few of those.
Promotes Heart Health
Spirulina has phycocyanin. This has antihypertensive effects. This means it lowers blood pressure. Consuming this algae reverses endothelial dysfunction in metabolic syndrome. This syndrome actually increases the risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
It also lowers total cholesterol, LDL “bad” cholesterol, and triglycerides. At the same time, it also increases HDL “good” cholesterol. And finally, this superfood also normalizes blood pressure and get you on track for optimal health.
Taking in spirulina increases the production of antibodies, infection-fighting proteins, and other cells that help ward off cancer. It has other properties that reduces cancer occurrence and tumor size.
It is especially effective in fighting against oral cancer. One study shows that people with precancerous lesions called oral submucous fibrosis (OSMF) were given 1 gram of spirulina every day for a year. The result was 45 percent of the group had a complete regression of the lesions. When they stopped taking spirulina, almost half of the responders developed the lesions again.
Also, spirulina inhibits the growth of MCF-7 breast cancer cells.
Allergic rhinitis is due to inflammation in the nasal airways. This is triggered by different environmental allergens. Some examples are pollen, animal hair, and wheat dust. Fortunately, spirulina reduces the inflammation that causes these sinus problems. This algae is also effective in reducing itching, nasal discharge, sneezing, and nasal congestion.
Fights against Anemia
Anemia is quite common among the elderly. The most common form of anemia is one where there is a low level of hemoglobin or red blood cells (RBC) in the blood. This leads to long periods of weakness and fatigue. This blue-green algae helps increase RBC count.
Spirulina is also a big help for anemic girls and women with iron deficiency.
Many people who take spirulina daily testify that they have improved energy. In addition, it also boosts muscle strength and endurance. This is because of this superfood’s high iron content. This increases circulation of oxygen in the body, therefore maximizing the use of oxygen throughout. This increases athletic performance and leads to the body not getting tired easily.
Helps with Diabetes
This algae significantly reduces blood sugar levels. It has a positive effect on HbA1c. This is a marker for long-term blood sugar levels. In some cases, it proves to be more effective that some diabetes drugs.
Detoxes Heavy Metals
Many people all over the world are plagued with chronic arsenic toxicity, most especially in the Far East. This condition is when there is a high concentration of arsenic in drinking water, and people are drinking the contaminated water. Those who took spirulina paired with zinc had a 47 percent decrease of arsenic in the body.
Helps with HIV/AIDS
Spirulina inactivates the human immunodeficiency virus linked with HIV and AIDS. A study shows that there is an improvement in CD4 cells. These are T-helper white blood cells that fight infection. There is also a decrease in HIV-1 viral load, which is an HIV biomarker.
Supports Healthy Weight Loss
Spirulina has been known to be very effective in shedding extra weight. It is low in calories, having only 3.9 calories for each gram. Also, it maintains lean tissue and contributes to fat burning. It is also an appetite suppressant. For better effectivity, take this superfood in the morning or at noon instead of at night.
Promotes Eye Health
Having some trouble with your eyesight? Well, spirulina can help you out. It is really rich in vitamin A, which is essential for healthy eyes. In fact, it has 10 times the amount of beta-carotene as compared to carrots.
How can vitamin A help with your eyes? Well, it protects the cornea. If left unprotected, its damage leads to blurry vision, eye pain, eye redness, and many more. It also protects the retina from clump deposits that lead to complete vision loss.
Strengthens Digestive System
Spirulina eases the passage of waste through the digestive system. This then reduces the overall stress in the system. It also makes sure the body properly absorbs dietary nutrients. In addition, it promotes healthy bacteria in the digestive system.
Its vitamin B6 content helps in protein metabolism. Also, its thiamin and riboflavin allows you to generate energy from the food you eat. And finally, niacin controls your appetite and supports overall healthy digestion.
Spirulina Side Effects
Of course, as with anything that you take in your body, there’s bound to be a few side effects. With regard to spirulina, you might experience a slight fever. This is because of the high protein content that elevates body temperature. Also, since it has a high chlorophyll content, it can make your waste matter a dark green color. You may also experience a temporary phase of breakouts and itchy skin.
Your body will most likely go through an adjustment period as you introduce spirulina into your system. Make sure to take this in gradually, and not in big doses.
And another thing, if you have severe seafood or iodine allergies, do not take this superfood. And lastly, if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or if you have hyperthyroidism, make sure to consult with your primary care physician before trying it out.