Spirulina is a dark green algae that grows on the surface of warm alkaline lakes. It's been popping up in green energy drinks recently as people are re-discovering its many health benefits. However, Spirulina has actually been used by people for hundreds of years.
The Aztecs and other tribes used Spirulina harvested from Lake Texcoco as a food source up until the 16th century. The Aztecs also used to bake the algae into cakes and sell them to the Europeans. After the 16th century, consumption of Spirulina declined due to the draining of the surrounding lakes for agricultural and urban development.
In the African country of Chad, spirulina has also been traditionally harvested for a number of years. It is also dried into cakes which are then used to make broths for meals. The spirulina is harvested from small lakes and ponds around Lake Chad.
Spirulina is an excellent source of high quality protein. In fact, one ounce of spirulina powder is equal to about 15 grams of protein, the equivalent of eating two jumbo eggs or a half serving of chicken. Many vegans and vegetarians use spirulina as part of a green supplement to get enough protein into their daily diet.
It also contains many other nutrients and vitamins including Vitamin C, D, A, E, and B. It is also a good source of potassium, calcium, and iron as well as beta-carotene and chlorophyll. There is a bit of controversy over vitamin B-12 in spirulina due to a recent study that shows that the form of B-12 in spirulina is inactive in humans. Nevertheless, spirulina is a great source of Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, and B9.
Some research has suggested that Spirulina may be helpful in allergies and allergic reactions. It can also increase fat burning during exercise and is said to help boost the immune system. Spirulina can be purchased in powder form from health stores and added to smoothies and other recipes. If you're looking for more ways to get spirulina into your diet, consider a green drink that contains spirulina as well as other beneficial ingredients.
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