A few months back, social media went crazy over the marine algae. Its health benefits spread like wildfire and quite a number of scientific research have been conducted to prove these claims. If you thought of algae as gunk found in water, this article will change your perspective. What you might not know is that it’s a superfood with various health benefits. Before we get into the health benefits of algae, let’s explain what algae really is.
What is Algae?
Algae are organisms that grow in salt and freshwater bodies. They have been used for centuries as food and treatment for many conditions, with others heralding them as the most nutritious food you could ever eat. These plant-like organisms, also known as blue-green algae, are common in water with high salt content, especially the tropical and subtropical waters. They are the reason why water bodies look dark green. There are countless algae species but the most common and edible ones are:
Boosts Your Immunity
Studies indicate that spirulina and chlorella can enhance your immunity. Phycocyanin, a compound found in spirulina, is an antioxidant that protects your cells from anything that could cause damage. The algae stimulate your immunity system to produce killer cells that ward off any infections. Next time you feel signs of flu creeping in, incorporate algae into your diet to boost your immunity and that of your family.
Although there isn’t conclusive evidence linking algae to weight loss, researchers say that spirulina can help you lose weight. With one tablespoon containing only 20 calories and dozens of nutrients, taking it can have a positive impact on your weight. Spirulina also contains an amino acid known as 1-phenylalanine which is said to suppress your appetite. As a result, you end losing weight due to eating less food.
Algae are powerful enough to fight off cancer, in particular, oral cancer. In one study examining people who chew tobacco and had precancerous lesions, results showed that 45 percent of those who took one gram of spirulina per day for one year found out that their lesions disappeared. The findings, which were published in Nutrition and Cancer, went on to show that when they stopped taking spirulina, the lesions, also called oral leukoplakia, reappeared. In another study, researchers found out that spirulina contains polysaccharide which may help minimize the side effects of radiation treatment and chemotherapy. The research suggested that including spirulina in cancer therapy could be potentially in the recovery process.
Blood Sugar Control
Both spirulina and chlorella are effective at lowering blood sugar levels. A study showed that taking two grams of spirulina daily can reduce blood sugar levels by one percent. This might seem like a small change, but for people with type 2 diabetes, it greatly lowers the risk of death.
Algae Are a Good Source of Antioxidants
Algae have a high concentration of antioxidants with spirulina said to be a better source of beta-carotene than carrots. Beta-carotene plays a vital role in eye health as well as regulating the immune system. The antioxidants in algae raise glutathione levels in our bodies which prevent oxidative stress that’s associated with cancer and other cell-damaging diseases. The green color pigmentation of algae is because of a substance called Phycocyanin. This substance fights off free radical cells and also acts as an anti-inflammatory.
A Powerful Detoxifier
Algae are effective in flushing out toxins from your body. Exposure to heavy metals such as mercury, lead, arsenic, and aluminum causes acute toxicity. This can damage vital organs, proper functioning of the nervous system, and cause muscle degeneration.
Chlorella is a natural chelator which wraps itself around toxins to keep them from being reabsorbed by our bodies. In return, metal poisoning is minimized.
Muscle Strength and Endurance
Studies proved that athletes who take two grams of spirulina three times a day for one month had better endurance compared to those who didn’t. The reason behind is that your heart works extra hard when you’re exercising and a boost in blood flow will increase endurance. The same goes for heavy weight lifting and other strength training routines.
Algae Helps to Fight Allergies
If substances like animal dander, pollen, grass, and dust give you allergies, then spirulina is the remedy you want in your house. Researchers recommend a daily dosage of two grams to fight off these allergies.
The ability of algae to treat chronic diseases such as cancer and blood pressure as well as provide other health benefits make it the most sought-after food. That’s why you need to ensure you’re buying algae that are not contaminated. Always check out the seller or manufacturer with an emphasis on where they source the algae.