Spirulina? What the heck is that? It just so happens to be the best superfood around. To be more specific, it’s a cyanobacteria that is found in oceans and some salty lakes. What’s unique about it is that while its genetic makeup is that of a bacterium, it acts like a plant in its ability to capture energy from the sun.
Recent studies have been able to link spirulina to multiple health benefits, such as fighting fatigue, protecting against radiation effects and even preventing cancer.
1. Great Source of Protein and Iron
Spirulina is about 65% protein, by dry weight. Add spirulina to your diet along with plenty of nuts, legumes, and other sources of protein so make sure your muscles are getting the food they need. For its weight, this superfood is also full of iron. For the average adult under 50, you could achieve your entire daily value of iron needed in just five tablespoons of the powder.
If you can’t handle 5 tablespoons on a daily basis, try sprinkling the powder into your drinks and onto other foods to help support your iron levels.
2. Reduce Chronic Fatigue
Polysaccharides, B-vitamins, and essential fatty acids found in spirulina can help give you more energy and feel better overall. You can opt for a daily supplement to help fight off that afternoon dip in energy.
3. Allergy Help
Spirulina can also help those that suffer from allergies, especially seasonal allergies. Take at least 2 grams of the supplement every day and you will see a reduction in your allergy symptoms including runny nose, congestion, sneezing, and itchy eyes.
4. Antiviral Properties
Research have indicated that spirulina can help inhibit growth and reproduction of viruses. This includes viruses such as measles, mumps, herpes, and influenza. Some studies even suggest that daily consumption of a spirulina supplement can improve the quality of life for HIV patients.
More findings will be needed to understand exactly how it works, but it is clear at this time that it does indeed have strong antiviral properties and that taking a daily supplement can certainly help prevent the growth of viruses in the body.
5. Lowers Cholesterol
Many studies have been able to positively link consumption of spirulina with lower cholesterol levels in the body. Consume a daily dose of 2 grams-4 grams and you will be able to significantly lower your bad cholesterol, increase your good cholesterol, and reduce triglyceride levels.
One study of patients that took just 1 gram of the supplement every day for 12 weeks showed an average decrease in triglycerides of 16% and 10% decrease in LDL levels. It is also found out that a daily supplement of spirulina can lower blood pressure as well.
6. Diabetes Help
Consuming spirulina may also help regulate your blood sugar levels, which is very promising for diabetics. Manganese and cysteine are both found in it, and both of these components are related to insulin production. Consuming 2 grams of the supplement on a daily basis can help regulate your blood sugar levels and improve your body’s production and use of insulin.
7. Cancer-Fighting Properties
Who doesn’t love a good supplement that can help fight cancer? Phycocyanin is the active ingredient in spirulina that not only gives the super-food its color, but also can help prevent cell death. It is a powerful antioxidant that may be able to reduce both tumor size and occurrence.
While more studies need to be done to solidify the link between spirulina and a reduction in cancer, it could certainly be worth taking 1-2 grams of the supplement every day to improve your chances of avoiding or beating this disease.
8. Sport Performance
Think of it as a natural Gatorade, but better for you and with no possible negative side effects. Taking this supplement consistently (6-7 grams) can help improve your endurance during cardiovascular activity and may also prevent workout-related muscle damage. Spirulina may even be a good replacement for your protein shake, as studies suggest that it can also help build muscle mass.
9. Improve your Insides
Spirulina has a probiotic effect, which means that it can help keep your digestive tract healthy and prevent issues such as constipation and bloating. By promoting the growth of good bacteria, this superfood also reduces the amount of room left for bad bacteria to grow.
10. Healthy Skin
It is believed that spirulina can inhibit the growth of bacteria in the skin, which means it can stop the cause of acne in its tracks. It is also an effective anti-inflammatory when applied directly to the skin, which is also related to eczema, psoriasis, and other skin conditions. Make yourself a mask by combining ¼ teaspoon of the powder with just enough filtered water to create a paste. Apply to the affected area(s) and let sit for 10-20 minutes.
Needless to say, spirulina is a super-food that is certainly worth adding to your diet. Just be sure that you’re getting the real, pure stuff with no additives. Also, do a little research to find out where your spirulina is grown and harvested to make sure it is not captured from a toxic source. After you do your research, enjoy the many benefits of this natural super-food.