Superfoods have been on the rise lately from medical experts to health enthusiast the name and what’s more the possible health benefits it has to the body when consumed is enough to pique anyone’s interest. In fact, numerous types of research have been made in response to the reported health benefits it possess dating back to when it was discovered in Mexico and other tropical places.
With all that it’s hard to believe that this superfood came from such humble beginnings, harvested from oceans and salty lakes, it is a blue-green algae that was made into brick-like cakes and were a great source of protein in Mexico as early as the 16th century. Other places like Hawaii and Central Africa. So why the fuss? Is spirulina all it’s hyped up to be or is it another passing fad doomed to be faded in obscurity?
Here’s what we found out.
Some spirulina fast facts
Okay fair warning, we’re gonna get scientific with the explanations later. But don’t worry, we’ll make it so that it’s easy to understand. But first how about some facts about spirulina and its origins to slowly ease you into it.
- Spirulina is actually closely related to chlorella another type of super-food.
- Phycocyanin is the pigment that gives spirulina its bluish-green color
- Spirulina was originally classified as a plant because of its photosynthetic properties and pigment closely resembling plants
- There are many varieties of spirulina but the three most commonly studied are Spirulina platensis, Spirulina maxima and Spirulina fusiformis.
- Despite its strong color spirulina actually tastes quite mild.
Spirulina by the numbers
Curious as to why spirulina is considered a superfood? Here’s the reason why.
Protein: 39 g
Sugars: 0.9 g
Dietary fiber: 1 g
Total fat: 3% RDI
Copper: 85% of RDI
Iron: 44% of RDI
Manganese: 27% of RDI
Magnesium: 14% of RDI
Sodium: 12% of RDI
Potassium: 11% of RDI
Riboflavin: 60% of RDI
Thiamin: 44% of RDI
Niacin:18% of RDI
Vitamin K: 9% of RDI
Vitamin E: 7% of RDI
All that in just an ounce of spirulina! So we think it’s safe to say that spirulina is a nutrient-dense food. So even if you don’t completely believe the reported health benefits of spirulina it’s nutritional value is definitely something you should consider when you’re thinking of adding it to your diet.
Reasons to give spirulina a try
Aside from its stellar credentials in the nutrition department spirulina also boasts a ton of health benefits. Here are some of them.
- Detoxes heavy metals – you heard it right. Spirulina is known for flushing out indigestible metals in our body particularly arsenic. Arsenic poisoning can be traced to unclean water source and could be very damaging to the body. However, recent studies have shown that taking spirulina mixed with zinc can reduce the arsenic levels on your body. Think about that next time you try detoxing!
- Lowers the risk of heart diseases – turns out spirulina can also be used to combat heart diseases. It’s been known to lower blood pressure since phycocyanin found in spirulina were discovered to have antihypertensive properties. A separate study have found that spirulina can lower LDL and triglyceride levels which could help lower the risk of heart diseases..
- Improves symptoms of allergic rhinitis – recent studies were done that linked spirulina with the improvement of allergic rhinitis caused by allergens such as pollen or animal hair. The study show that spirulina helped in reducing nasal discharge, itching and congestion.
- Lowers the risk of cancer– recent studies have found that spirulina has high amounts of anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties which help in combating cell damage that is caused by free radicals. Studies have also been conducted where consuming spirulina regularly can decrease or stop the growth of oral tumors.
- Improves muscle strength and endurance – studies have also shown that spirulina can help improve muscle strength and endurance. Oxidative damage induced by exercise is one of the main causes of muscle fatigue, however, foods rich in antioxidants may help alleviate and even improve muscle strength for athletes and people who are active.
Spirulina is a great choice to add to your diet. Not only is it high in nutritional value but it also offers a lot of health benefits.