Why Is Spirulina So Super?
Why Is Spirulina So Super?
Superfoods have gained quite a bit of attention over the years in the health and wellness industry but they tend to come and go in terms of popularity. Firstly, what exactly are superfoods? Superfoods are foods that are mostly plant and fish based. They are nutritionally dense foods that are packed with a ton of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, antioxidants and protein. Essentially your one stop shop for giving your body everything it needs - hence the name “superfood”!
What is Spirulina?
Spirulina is a superfood that has maintained its spotlight for about 20 years now and is considered to be a super serious health supplement. Spirulina (Arthrospira Species) or blue-green algae was initially classified as a plant but has since been reclassified as a type of bacteria called cyanobacteria. Would you believe that it is one of the oldest organisms on earth! One of the great things about spirulina is that it does not contain a cellulose cell wall so it easier for human bodies to digest and get the most from it. Spirulina has become a nutraceutical food with diverse beneficial effects on many diseases due to its high contents of nutrients, like antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that contributes to its laundry list of health benefits. Some health conditions that Spirulina can be used for include: hypoglycemia, high cholesterol, malnutrition, allergies, high blood pressure, liver disease, ADHD and heavy metal toxicity.
Where Does Spirulina Come From?
Spirulina naturally grows in high-salt alkaline water reservoirs in subtropical and tropical areas including: United States, Mexico, Asia and Central Africa. It is able to grow in extreme conditions in which other water-dwelling organisms may not be able to survive in. Since it is quite easy to grow and harvest, it is considered to be a very sustainable type of food.
What Are The Main Nutrients Found in Spirulina?
What Are The Health Benefits Of Spirulina?
Safety of Spirulina?
Spirulina is generally considered safe for human consumption. Do keep in mind that Spirulina, like any blue-green algae can be contaminated with heavy metals like mercury, cadmium, lead or arsenic. It also contains microcystins that are reported in the blue-green algae species especially when grown and harvested in uncontrolled locations like open lakes. Microcystins accumulate in the liver possibly causing liver cell damage. So quality control in the growth and process of Spirulina to avoid contamination is mandatory in order to guarantee safety of Spirulina products. It is therefore important to purchase spirulina from a trusted source and trusted brand. Do not exceed 15 grams a day.
Also keep in mind to take spirulina blue-green algae away from iron supplements or iron containing foods! Spirulina is an iron chelating agent which can decrease the absorption of iron from food and supplementation. Lastly, blue-green algae is known to stimulate immune function which can theoretically worsen autoimmune diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and multiple sclerosis.
How Can You Use Spirulina?
The easiest and tastiest way to add Spirulina to your daily routine is to mix it in with other foods. Adding a spoon full of spirulina to water and drinking it can often times discourage people from drinking it due to the pungent taste. While, adding it to smoothies, foods and dips can make the taste of it less strong and more enjoyable while reaping the benefits of this amazing superfood!
Spirulina is a safe food supplement without significant side effects and huge potential benefits to health! Fall is a great time to start adding some spirulina into your daily routine for a great supply of vital nutrients, protein and some extra detoxification support!
** Disclaimer: The advice is in this article is for informational purposes only. It does not replace the care of a Naturopathic physician.