We often fear things that we do not understand and spirulina is a good example of when that fear is misplaced. Spirulina is an algae powder consisting of single-cell vegetable bacteria, often referred to as pond scum – this doesn’t make a very appealing profile. However, according to David Neidermeyer, nutritionist at YesWellness, this algae is one of the most nutrient-dense substances on the planet and while it may seem a little off-putting at first, there is no reason to fear the green superfood.
Due to its amazing profile of nutrients, spirulina has gained popularity and inclusion into many supplement regimes. But spirulina is actually nothing new, as it has been used in Central America since the 9th century. Here are some reasons why you should add spirulina to your diet.
High Protein Content
Protein is one of the essential building blocks used in building and repairing bone, muscles, cartilage and skin. Protein is used to make enzymes, hormones, and a number of other chemicals found in your body. Protein is a macronutrient that is needed in large amounts and can come from a number of sources like meat, fish, legumes, milk and soy. With all this importance placed on protein, did you know that spirulina contains 65 to 71 percent complete protein while beef contains a mere 22 percent? This means that this algae gives you three times as much complete protein as beef, and that’s without cholesterol and with only a fraction of the calories.
For those who work out regularly, you may also be surprised to find that the algae has also made its way into your vegetable-based protein powder.
Lowers cholesterol and blood pressure
Aside from reducing the necessity to eat red meats for protein, spirulina also does wonders for your blood.
Phycocyanin is a pigment found in spirulina that has been shown to lower blood pressure and help with hypertension. As one of the leading causes for heart-related diseases, hypertension is a rising danger considering the prevalence of processed foods in our diets. Similarly, spirulina has shown to prevent atherosclerosis and reduce elevated blood cholesterol levels.
Helps with detoxification
With the increase of heavy metals such as arsenic in our everyday lives, detoxification can be a key to staying healthy. But how can we get rid of these dangerous compounds in our bodies? Spirulina is one of the unique foods that helps detoxify our bodies by binding to heavy metals and radioactive isotopes to help eliminate them from our bodies. The algae is an alkalizing substance, which helps boost liver functions – an essential step in filtering toxic substances out of your blood.
Contains gamma linolenic acid (GLA).
GLA is an essential fatty acid known for its abilities to fight inflammation, which helps protect your body from harm. This fatty acid is also used for conditions that affect the skin including psoriasis and eczema. The body usually creates GLA from an existing fat - linoleic acid but there are a few foods that actually provide GLA. Spirulina is among the short list of naturally-occurring GLA that includes evening primrose oil, borage oil and black currant seed oil.
Helps fight cold and flu symptoms
As part of its inflammation-fighting abilities, spirulina helps with the inflammation that causes sinus problems, which helps reduce itching, nasal congestion and sneezing. Studies have also shown that spirulina can inhibit the growth of the influenza virus by slowing its replication rate, which reduces the duration and severity of the flu.
Rich in Vitamins and Minerals
Perhaps the most persuasive reason to consume spirulina is the abundance of vitamins and minerals that it contains. The blue-green algae contains Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, iodine, potassium, calcium iron, manganese, zinc and much more. Also, do not forget Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B8, B9 and B12 as part of the package. Consuming this superfood is almost like taking a natural multivitamin. With so many nutrients, it is possible for a person to live off consuming only spirulina, not that it would be recommended.
A strong antioxidant
Stress levels, pollution and processed foods are some of the factors that increases the amount of free radicals in the body to harmful levels. Spirulina contains a blend of vitamin E, carotenoids, selenium, and phenolic acids, making it an impressive force to neutralize free radicals and defend your body against cellular damage. The algae is one of the most antioxidant-rich foods in the world, being approximately four times more potent than blueberries.
There are still many more benefits of spirulina that have yet to be discovered, but there is already an overwhelming contingent of the population that agrees that spirulina is one of the miraculous foods for our health. At first glance, this algae seems frightening, but with so many benefits it’s hard not to give it a chance.