Spirulina Is So Nutritious You Can Survive Of It And Water Alone!
Spirulina is a single-celled algae living in fresh waters. A group of more commonly encountered algae would be seaweeds. Like plants, they contribute to producing oxygen in the atmosphere that’s why they are very important to our ecosystem. The main difference is that algae do not require a lot of things to survive, they only need a warm environment, scant minerals and water and they can live a long life. This is because the structure of algae is not complicated thanks to their single-cellular make up.
As simple as they may be, algae, specifically spirulina are packed with protein (amino acids), vitamins, carbohydrates and other essential nutrients that are important for the human body. Not only are they a very nutrient dense superfood, they are also very inexpensive to cultivate and they don’t need very close monitoring that’s why it has become an essential part of the diet especially in third world countries.
Spirulina is so versatile that they can live in swamps, ponds and desert lakes with temperature that’s otherwise inhabitable to other plants or animals. In fact, when their habitat completely dries up, they turn into amazing source of protein and energy in the form of sweet crispy leaves. The growth of spirulina in inland waters is not a danger to that certain ecosystem because it just releases oxygen as a by-product of photosynthesis and produces more spirulina.
Nutritional Benefits Of Spirulina
Spirulina, an excellent source if protein can provide the body up to 70% of its need. That is more than three times the amount of protein that beef can give, at 22%. It also contains amino acids that are important to nerve cells, cellular growth and the way we control our mood.
Minerals in brackish waters are absorbed by spirulina and because of that they are rich in potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium, selenium and phosphorous. Interestingly, it is selective to the minerals it absorbs because it is found to be low in sodium and heavy metal contaminants in fresh waters, like cadmium. The minerals it contains are readily mobilized by the body. Once spirulina is ingested, the amino acids and minerals are easily broken down.
This special algae is a good choice to incorporate in people who are in weight loss programs because it is loaded with phenylalanine, an amino acid that controls the appetite. Moreover, it is very low in sugars, fats and calories. It does not elevate blood glucose level because the sugar it contains is in the form of rhamnose. The fatty acids that spirulina contain is considered to be good ones and the caloric content is negligible.
It is also found to be very rich in antioxidants which helps fight the aging process..
Health benefits and cure for many diseases
It was found out by the Department of Aquaculture in Taiwan that it can help the immune system in fighting off infections. It supports the growth of the normal bacterial microflora in gut, maintaining a good balance and not allowing bad microorganisms to multiply in number. It can also inactivate viruses associated with HIV-AIDS and common colds. In terms of general health, it showed promising results in lowering cholesterol, incidence of cancer and risk for stroke. This just shows that spirulina can really help boost the immune system and lowers the risk of getting different diseases.
Aside from vitamin B-complex, beta carotene and vitamin E, it also has chlorophyll, pigments and enzymes that are beneficial to digestion and liver function.
Using spirulina as a supplement
Spirulina is available in powder, flakes, capsule or tablet form that can be added to supplement diet. The powder form has a grassy taste and adds a blue-green color to food. It’s great for smoothies! If one can’t get use to the taste, the tablet can be used instead because it is as effective. The most effective dose was found to be 3-5 g per day. This dose may be spread out two to three times a day.
Strict cooked-food vegans may lack the recommended amount protein in their diet because they do not consume eggs, dairy, fish and meat that are naturally rich in protein. Vegetables contain protein but this protein is easily degraded when vegetables are cooked. Unlike when the vegetable is consumed raw, it is able to preserve its natural protein content. The problem with this however, is that the body cannot retain protein from raw vegetables longer than it does with other food. It easily excretes protein from raw vegetables and does not store it leading to a protein deficiency. This lack of major nutrient could cause weakness and even cachexia.
To make sure that the body is consistently supplied with the right amount if nutrient it needs, make sure that every meal has a good source of protein, like spirulina. It contains about 1.2-2.4 grams of protein for every 2-4 grams. People who are vegetarians can benefit a lot from incorporating spirulina in their diet because it can easily provide them with the right protein requirement.
Spirulina And Weight Loss
Losing weight is pretty difficult especially if you have a big appetite for food. As already mentioned, spirulina contains phenylalanine, an amino acid that suppresses the appetite. To lose weight faster, people tend to consume phenylalanine in the form of over-the-counter pills that is found to have side effects like headache and hypertension if used in excess but spirulina can be used as a supplement to suppress binge eating without depleting the body of the nutrients and causing side effects.
People who are having a difficulty to eat because of prior surgery, ulcer, or other illnesses that suppress the appetite can benefit a lot from all the nutrients that spirulina can safely provide.
For women who are menstruating, prone to anemia and iron deficiency spirulina can be an effective supplement. The same goes with pregnant or lactating mothers.
Spirulina is very safe to use and has no known side effect. It is a good source of many nutrients and strengthens the immune system. It is strongly recommended that it is used as a supplement and not as a food replacement. For people with phenylketonuria, spirulina must not be consumed because they lack the enzyme to digest phenylalanine.