If you are an attentive person, the word spirulina probably rings a bell. In recent times, this blue-green alga has become an extremely popular dietetic supplement due to its exceptional nutritional value and the health benefits it provides. You’ve probably already come across spirulina powder on a supermarket shelf.
It is interesting to note that the spirulina plant was consumed on a daily basis by the Aztecs until the 16th century, and during the 1980s, it was proposed as one of the primary sources of food to be cultivated on long-term space missions. But what exactly is spirulina good for? That’s what we are about to find out.
1. High in nutrients
First things first, spirulina is set to give your nutrient levels a boost by being packed with protein, copper, iron, and vitamins B1, B2, and B3. You can also count on magnesium, potassium, and manganese, amongst many others.
It’s not by chance that spirulina holds a «superfood» status since this title implies a nutrient density that can only be found in the most complete foods – the ones that best nourish your body and improve your health.
Please bear in mind that despite being widely known for containing high levels of vitamin B12, this superfood actually does not contain this specific vitamin at all. For some inexplicable reason, this became a popular myth. Here’s spirulina’s nutritional value (per 100 g):
- Calories: 290
- Protein: 57.47 g
- Carbohydrates: 23.9 g
- Fat: 7.72 g
- Vitamin B1: 2.38 mg (207% DV)
- Vitamin B2: 3.67 mg (306% DV)
- Vitamin B3: 12.82 mg (85% DV)
- Iron: 28.5 mg (219% DV)
- Magnesium: 195 mg (55% DV)
- Potassium: 1363 mg (29% DV)
- Manganese: 1.9 mg (90% DV)
2. Helps the body get rid of toxins
That’s right. Spirulina assures that you keep those damaging toxins out of your body due to its strong detoxifying effect. It is such a powerful antioxidant that it is sometimes used to filter water.
This is because it can obstruct mercury and other toxins that usually contaminate water. All of this comes down to spirulina’s composition, which includes proteins and peptides – substances that are highly capable of eliminating toxins.
3. Lowers Cholesterol levels
The antioxidants contained in spirulina are key in reducing cholesterol levels. To prove it, a study gave a few participants with high cholesterol levels spirulina, and others a placebo. The result?
In just four months, the participants who took spirulina had significantly reduced their cholesterol levels. It not only reduced LDL levels (also known as “bad cholesterol”) but it also increased HDL levels (the “good cholesterol”).
4. Helps to control blood pressure
To add to the ever-growing list of spirulina positive effects, the same antioxidant properties that help reduce cholesterol can also contribute to reducing blood pressure, especially in overweight people who suffer from hypertension. How?
Spirulina stimulates the production of nitric oxide by the endothelium, which broadens blood vessels and allows blood to flow more easily, thus facilitating the heart’s functioning.
5. Acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
Inflammation due to oxidative damage can have a serious impact on a person’s health. The list of health consequences that may result from it includes cancer, so you can easily understand how dangerous it can be.
Spirulina’s powerful antioxidants are a strong protective shield against oxidative damage since phycocyanin is part of its composition. This component is also the reason for its singular and vibrant blue-green color.
Whether you are a professional athlete or you just like to hit the gym after work, spirulina should be part of your gym-prep routine. On the one hand, it has been proven that people who consume spirulina before training are likely to get less tired while working out when compared to people who don’t.
On the other hand, remember the fact that spirulina helped reduce blood pressure? Well, that too has a role to play in this equation, since while working out, your heartbeat increases and any help keeping the blood flowing is more than welcome. Give it a try and see for yourself if your workout performance improves.
7. A great ally in fighting allergies
Sneezing, itching, runny nose – we all know allergy season can be a true nightmare. When it comes to allergic rhinitis, spirulina can be the ultimate allergy medicine, as a study suggest.
In a group of 127 patients with allergic rhinitis, researchers found that only 2 grams of spirulina was just enough to help most of them fight the symptoms. It’s great to have an all-natural solution to reduce nasal congestion – we all know how annoying it can be!
8. Has anti-cancer properties
Some experts claim that spirulina can be considered an anti-cancer supplement. When it comes to oral cancer, vidence shows that spirulina can function as a preventive measure, and it can reduce tumor size.
A study found that 20 out of 44 participants that consumed spirulina for a year showed impressive results: the lesions caused by cancer of the mouth had successfully faded!
9. Spirulina can be used to fight anemia
Anemia is a medical term used to describe a decrease in the total amount of hemoglobin (red blood cells) in the blood. It can manifest itself through feelings of weakness and tiredness, shortness of breath, and poor ability to exercise.
One study has shown that anemic people who take spirulina supplements have a good chance of improving hemoglobin levels in the blood system.
Although the initial results are promising, it is obvious that more research is needed to support this claim. If it becomes scientifically confirmed, it is further proof that spirulina is a superfood.
10. Helps you lose some weight
Losing weight can be a tough task, but the good news is: spirulina can help! Besides being low in calories while at the same time being super nutritious, spirulina also contains 1-phenylalanine, an amino acid that reduces appetite. But wait, it doesn’t stop here!
Spirulina may also boost metabolism, which consequently leads to higher levels of energy, and a substantial increase is the number of calories burnt per day. Needless to say, spirulina will only have an impact on your weight if you maintain a healthy diet and practice regular physical exercise.