What Makes Spirulina a Leading Superfood?
Present on Earth for billions of years, spirulina is blue-green microalgae that played a key role in the production of the planet's oxygen. Without it, many of the life forms existing on Earth would not have appeared. For the past few decades, spirulina has been elevated to "superfood" status among health and fitness aficionados. In fact, along with water, humans could survive consuming only spirulina, which makes it a popular supplement for good health.
Technically a cyanobacteria rather than a plant, spirulina also obtains its energy from the sun making it rich in chlorophyll. If properly harvested from clean bodies of water, it is one of the most nutritious food sources in the world.
The nutrients in spirulina provide a number of important health benefits. Here are just a few:
- Spirulina contains all essential amino acids and 10 non-essential amino acids that support good health.
- As a rich source of the amino acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA), spirulina is said to offer anti-inflammatory properties, particularly when taken in conjunction with omega-3-rich supplements like cod liver oil.
- The chlorophyll in spirulina helps boost immunity and clear impurities from the blood.
- Vitamins found in spirulina include vitamins A, B-1, B-2, B-3, B-6, B-9, B-12, C, D and E.
- High levels of protein and iron make spirulina a good anemia, pregnancy and post-surgery product, as well as an excellent supplement for boosting the immune system.
- While blueberries are known as an antioxidant powerhouse, spirulina has been shown to have an ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) score of over 24,000, which is four times higher than blueberries. ORAC scores measure concentrations of antioxidants in foods.
- Calcium in spirulina is 26 times more than that found in milk, making it an excellent product for pregnant women, growing children, and aging individuals.
- Spirulina contains phycocyanin, found solely in blue-green algae. This promising compound has been shown to boost survival rates in mice with liver cancer.
- Some studies suggest that spirulina may be helpful in the treatment and prevention of allergies.
- Spirulina was used to treat children from Chernobyl who suffered effects of radiation poisoning. It is said to protect the organs from radiation and help remove it from the body.
Why take Spirulina?
As if the evidence above wasn't enough, consumers of this potent blue-green algae report increased energy and better overall health. It is thought to act as a cleanser, a healer, and a protector, offering defense against many chronic diseases and viruses like AIDS, the flu, herpes, measles, and mumps. Spirulina helps to promote good brain health, detoxifies the liver and kidneys, and binds with heavy metals to help remove them from the body. Finally, spirulina encourages healthy pH balance, which reduces inflammation in the body, the root cause of many health problems.
Best Ways to Take Spirulina
Named for its spiral-shaped growth pattern, spirulina grows best in warm, alkaline lakes, but it is also found in salt water. Harvested and dried, spirulina has a seaweed flavor, which is unpleasant to some people. Therefore, many consumers choose quick-swallowing spirulina tablets or powders that can be mixed with fruit or vegetable smoothies, as opposed to water. Shoppers should make sure to choose organic products free of nitrates and other additives.