Spirulina: Superfood & Miracle from The Sea – Health Benefits and Nutrition Facts – Healthy Positive Mind –
Spirulina is a microalgae that has been consumed for centuries due to its high nutritional value and supposed health benefits. Today, popular lifestyle personalities endorse Spirulina as a secret, potent “superfood,” a “miracle from the sea.” Spirulina is extremely high in many nutrients and is an organism that grows in both fresh and salt water.
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that grows naturally in oceans and salty lakes in subtropical climates. The Aztecs harvested Spirulina from Lake Texcoco in central Mexico, and it is still harvested from Lake Chad in west-central Africa and turned into dry cakes.
Spirulina was once classified as a plant because of “its richness in plant pigments as well as its ability of photosynthesis,” according to a study published in the journal Cardiovascular Therapeutics. New understanding of its genetics, physiology and biochemical properties caused scientists to move it to the bacteria kingdom, in the genus Arthrospira at first, and later into the genus Spirulina. There are several species, but three — Spirulina platensis, Spirulina maxima and Spirulina fusiformis — are studied extensively because of their high nutritional as well as potential therapeutic values, according to the study’s authors.
It is a type of bacteria called cyanobacterium, which is often referred to as blue-green algae.
Just like plants, cyanobacteria can produce energy out of sunlight, via the process called photosynthesis.
A standard daily dose of spirulina is 1-3 grams, but doses of up to 10 grams per day have been used effectively.
A single tablespoon (7 grams) of dried spirulina powder contains:
-Protein: 4 grams.
-Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 11% of the RDA.
-Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 15% of the RDA.
-Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 4% of the RDA.
-Copper: 21% of the RDA.
-Iron: 11% of the RDA.
It also contains decent amounts of magnesium, potassium and manganese, and small amounts of almost every other nutrient that we need. This means that spirulina may literally be the single most nutritious food on the planet.
A tablespoon of spirulina contains a small amount of fat (around 1 gram), including both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
The quality of the protein in spirulina is considered excellent, comparable to eggs. It contains all the essential amino acids that we need.
Spirulina Has Powerful Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Properties
Oxidative damage can harm our DNA and cells. This damage can drive chronic inflammation, which contributes to cancer and other diseases.
Spirulina is a fantastic source of antioxidants, which can protect against oxidative damage.
The main active component is called phycocyanin. This antioxidant substance also gives spirulina its unique blue-green color.
Phycocyanin can fight free radicals and inhibit production of inflammatory signalling molecules, providing impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Spirulina Can Lower LDL and Triglyceride Levels
Heart disease is currently the world’s biggest killer. Spirulina can lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while raising HDL (the “good”) cholesterol. In a study of 25 people with type 2 diabetes, 2 grams per day of spirulina significantly improved these markers. Another study in people with high cholesterol found that 1 gram of spirulina per day lowered triglycerides by 16.3% and LDL by 10.1%.
Spirulina Protects LDL Cholesterol from Becoming Oxidized
Fatty structures in the body are susceptible to oxidative damage. This is known as lipid peroxidation, which is known to be a key driver of many serious diseases.
The antioxidants in spirulina appear to be particularly effective at reducing lipid peroxidation. This has been shown numerous times, in both human and animal studies.
In a study of 37 individuals with type 2 diabetes, 8 grams of spirulina per day significantly reduced markers of oxidative damage. It also increased levels of antioxidant enzymes in the blood.
Spirulina Appears to Have Anti-Cancer Properties
Some evidence suggests that spirulina can have anti-cancer properties.
Some research in test animals shows that it can reduce cancer occurrence and tumor size.
Spirulina has been particularly well studied with regard to oral cancer, which is cancer of the mouth.
One study looked at the effects of spirulina on 87 people from India with precancerous lesions called OSMF in the mouth. After using 1 gram per day for 1 year, 45% of the spirulina group had a complete regression of lesions in the mouth, compared to only 7% in the control group.
Studies Show that it May Reduce Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is an important driver of many killer diseases. This includes heart attacks, strokes and chronic kidney disease. While 1 gram of spirulina is ineffective, a dose of 4.5 grams per day has been shown to reduce blood pressure in individuals with normal blood pressure levels.
Spirulina Improves Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis is characterized by inflammation in the nasal airways. It is triggered by environmental allergens, such as pollen, animal hair or even wheat dust. Spirulina is a popular alternative treatment for symptoms of allergic rhinitis, and there is evidence that it can be effective.
In one study of 127 people with allergic rhinitis, 2 grams per day dramatically reduced symptoms like nasal discharge, sneezing, nasal congestion and itching.
Muscle Strength and Endurance May Improve
Exercise-induced oxidative damage is a major contributor to muscle fatigue. Certain plant foods have antioxidant properties that can help athletes and physically active individuals minimize this damage. Spirulina appears to be beneficial, with some studies showing improved muscle strength and endurance.
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