“These spirulina benefits totally make up for its color and taste”
I know color is one thing that turns people off from eating certain foods, regardless of the associated health benefits or nutritional value. Spirulina, also refereed to as “pond scum”, is one of those not so appetizing looking foods, although it contains an enormous amount of nutritional value.
This blue-green microalgae is a freshwater plant that’s grown all over the world and is one of the most researched superfoods today. For centuries, the natives of Mexico, Asia, and Africa have incorporated spirulina as a staple in their diets.
There are nearly 1,200 peer-reviewed scientific articles evaluating spirulina’s health benefits. It is quickly assimilated allowing our bodies to quickly absorb the nutrients, making it a great supplement for individuals with poor nutrition.
Spirulina contains a high concentration of amino acids making it a popular nutritional supplement for athletes and those who also burn energy at a higher rate.
Spirulina is also a great quality source of other nutrients, including essential vitamins and minerals, and has many health benefits. This is why you may see it more and more today in supplements, smoothies, juices, and whole-food bars.
There are some side effects associated with spirulina to be aware of, but that’s due to contaminated spirulina. Quality plays a key role in determining the nutritional value and benefits of a particular food.
Due to the nature of our society today, there are companies that exploit healthy foods and supplements, by using the cheapest possible ingredients, just to turn a profit.
They tend to trick the public, who rely on government standards to protect their health when consuming certain foods, with fancy marketing and health claims.
Always choose the highest quality product, read past the labels to the ingredients list, and try to buy organic and non-gmo brands when possible. If you still feel wary, look up their website for more information. Quality over quantity!
All in all, spirulina is a great food, despite its taste and color, for those trying to add in some nutritional content to their diets or those just wanting to be on top of their game.
Check below for specific nutritional value, vitamin and mineral content, benefits, and a quick delicious smoothie that can mask the taste yet supply all of spirulinas benefits!
Nutritional Value for 1 oz:
Dietary Fiber- 1g
Fat- 2g (sat.1g)
-Omega-3 fatty acids (230 mg)
-Omega-6 fatty acids (351 mg)
A- 160 IU (3%)
C- 2.8mg (5%)
E (Alpha Tocopherol)- 1.4mg (7%)
K- 7.1mcg (9%)
Thiamin- .07mg (44%)
Riboflavin- 1mg (60%)
Niacin- 3.6mg (18%)
B6- 0.1mg (5%)
Folate- 26.3mcg (7%)
Pantothenic Acid- 1mg (10%)
Calcium- 33.6mg (3%)
Iron- 8mg (44%)
Magnesium- 54.6mg (14%)
Phosphorus- 33mg (3%)
Potassium- 382mg (11%)
Sodium- 293mg (12%)
Zinc- .6mg (4%)
Copper- 1.7mg (85%)
Maganese- .5mg (27%)
Selenium – 2mcg (3%)
1) Detox Properties
Spirulina is known as a powerful chelating agent and contains very high levels of chlorophyl, which is known to be one of the most powerful detoxifying agents.
It tends to reach deep into bodily tissues and eliminate toxins like arsenic, mercury, cadmium, pesticides, synthetic food chemicals, and radioactive substances from the cells. It also assist in the transport of essential nutrients across the blood-brain barrier to replace the damaged areas from these toxins.
2) Eliminates Candida
Spirulina has been shown to be an effective anti-microbial agent, specifically it suppresses yeast overgrowth by restoring a healthy balance of gut bacterial flora in the intestines.
Healthy gut flora inhibits Candida from thriving, among many other wonderful yet complex benefits, and helps boost the immune system to eliminate the yeasts cells.
3) Helps Prevent Cancer
Over 70 peer-reviewed articles have been published evaluating spirulina’s ability to effect cancer cells.
The University of Maryland Medical Center states, “A number of animal and test tube studies suggest that spirulina increases production of antibodies, infection-fighting proteins, and other cells that improve immunity and help ward off infection and chronic illnesses such as cancer.”
According to Czech Republic scientists, “Spirulina is also rich in tetraphyrrolic compounds closely related to bilirubin molecule, a potent antioxidant and anti-proliferative agent.”
4) Lowers Blood Pressure
Spirulina contains a pigment called phycocyanin, which scientists have discovered to posses antihypertensive effects or, lowers blood pressure. It is believed that consuming this blue-green algae reverses endothelial dysfunction in metabolic syndrome.
5) Reduces Inflammation
Spirulina is listed as one of the top sources of Gamma Linolenic Acid which the body uses to convert into various inflammatory fighting compounds. Inflammation is the corner stone of all major diseases and can be linked to stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, high cholesterol, chronic fatigue, diabetes, depression and diabetic nerve pain, and many more.
6) Improves Eyesight
Carrots are said to be great for our eyesight due to the Vitamin A they contain. Spirulina contains 10 times more vitamin a than carrots on a gram per gram level, but contains far less sugar.
7) Boosts Energy & Speeds up Weight Loss
Spirulina not only contains a vast array of essential nutrients, it’s also jam packed of quickly absorbed, bio-available protein that can provide a quick energy boost.
It also unlocks sugar from our cells so it does not get stored as fat, rather it’s used as fuel. Like any food high in protein and low in carbohydrates, spiruilina takes more energy to metabolize and contributes to fat burning.
It also curbs hunger by supplying a nice steady level of energy with no dramatic drop like carbohydrates do. These benefits also make spirulina a great functional food/medicine for diabetics.
*Other benefits include cell protection, alleviation of sinus issues, strengthened teeth and bones, powerful antioxidant properties (400 times more antioxidant content than blueberries), more calcium than milk on a gram per gram level, anti-aging properties, great source of bio-available iron helping with constipation, anemia, and many other things, boosts brain function, improves the blood, strengthens the immune system, helps increase the libido, protection against infections such as AIDS and influenza, and many more.
Green Spirulina Smoothie:
Try this smoothie to get a serving of spirulina and all its benefits, minus the “pond scum”.
1-1.5 cup water or milk of choice (almond, hemp, coconut, cows, goats) depending on desired thickness
1 small banana (frozen or raw)
1-2 handfuls kale or spinach (frozen or raw)
1/2 -1 cup berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries)
1 serving size of spirulina
3-5 ice cubs are optional
Image 1: http://nutricionyganoderma.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/alga_espirulina_gal.jpg
Image 2: http://foodmatters.tv/images/assets/spirulina.jpg