Foods that have an incredible array of health benefits that go well beyond just their nutrient value are considered ‘super-foods.’
What is Spirulina: The blue-green algae spirulina is one of the most primitive forms of life on the planet. This algae is known for its extraordinary survival adaptations. Spirulina is considered a superfood due to its unique level of nutrient density.
Spirulina is a single cell blue green algae. Under the microscope it looks like long thin spiral threads. Spirulina has a completely unique combination of phytonutrients – including chlorophyll, phycocyanin and polysaccharides, that can help cleanse our bodies.
Where is it found: Spirulina is found all over the world in fresh water, saltwater oceans & natural springs. It thrives in pesticide free environments with plenty of sunlight and moderate temperatures. Spirulina was renowned for its healing properties and was a staple part of the North African and Aztec Indian diet many years ago. Today, natural health experts all around the world revere spirulina for its potential as a whole food mega-nutrient and natural medicine.
Why is it good for you? Spirulina has countless uses as a supplement for health and preventing disease and is often deemed the most nutritionally complete of all food supplements, containing a rich supply of many important nutrients, including protein, complex carbohydrates, iron, and vitamins A, K, and B complex. It also has a high supply of carotenoids such as beta carotene and yellow xanthophylls which have antioxidant properties. It is also rich in chlorophyll, fatty and nucleic acids, and lipids. Spirulina is the richest beta carotene food known, 10 times more concentrated than carrots. Twenty years of research proves eating beta carotene rich foods and vegetables gives us real anti-cancer protection. Beta carotene is good for healthy eyes and improving vision. It is also packed with antioxidants that are anti-aging.
Not only is Spirulina rich in beta carotenes but it also has the highest content of B-12 and rich in iron which is especially important for vegetarians and vegans.
About 60% of spirulina’s dry weight is protein, which is essential for growth and cell regeneration. It is a good replacement for fatty and cholesterol-rich meat and dairy products in one’s diet. Every 10 grams of spirulina can supply up to 70% of the minimum daily requirements for iron, and about three to four times of minimum daily requirements for vitamins A (in the form of beta carotene), B complex, D,and K. By itself, it does not contain vitamin C, but it helps maintain this vitamin’s potency.
With its high digestibility, spirulina has been proven to fight malnutrition in impoverished communities by helping the body absorb nutrients when it has lost its ability to absorb normal forms of food.
Another health benefit of spirulina is that it stimulates beneficial flora like lactobacillus and bifidobacteria in your digestive tract to promote healthy digestion and proper bowel function. It acts as a natural cleanser by eliminating mercury and other deadly toxins commonly ingested by the body.
Spirulina also increases stamina and immunity levels in athletes, and its high protein content helps build muscle mass. At the same time, it can curb hunger that may develop during the most demanding training routines. Thus, it indirectly acts as an effective way to maintain an athlete’s ideal body weight.
Spirulina’s ability to reduce the bad cholesterol LDL in the body helps prevent the onset of cardiovascular diseases, such as hardening of the arteries and strokes. It also helps lower blood pressure. While not clinically proven, spirulina may also protect against allergic reactions and liver infection.
How do you take it? Spirulina is now commercially available in tablet or powder form. Some health tonics contain spirulina as part of their ingredients. A simple daily regimen for spirulina involves taking a 500 mg tablet four to six times daily.
Are there any risks/ side effects from taking spirulina?
While it has a very high nutritional value, spirulina may also cause some side effects. Some individuals may suffer from allergic reactions to this algae, including rashes, hives, and difficulty breathing. Some commercial versions of spirulina supplements may have also been contaminated with toxic substances during production. It is therefore absolutely critical to buy spirulina only from reputable sources.While spirulina may appear safe at large doses, healthy adults should seek a doctor’s advice for the right dosage. Children and pregnant or nursing women should also consult a doctor before taking spirulina.
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