It seems as though trends come and go in the health food industry more than any other industry. In fact, very few superfoods today are without a rich cultural history as a nutritious food source, and spirulina is no different. This strikingly colored blue-green alga has been relied on as a nutrient-dense food for centuries. Its use dates back to early Spanish rule when the Aztecs ate it. Nevertheless, it has risen back to popularity and is highly revered as one of today’s superfoods for its many health benefits, ranging from reducing triglycerides to fighting cancer.
Contains Many Nutrients
Spirulina is known as a cyanobacterium and is an organism that grows in both fresh and saltwater. While it’s most well-known for its bright blue-green color, this isn’t all it has going for it. In fact, one of the reasons spirulina is so popular in the health food scene today is because it contains many nutrients.
Each tablespoon, about seven grams, of spirulina contains an amazing amount of nutrients, including four grams of protein, eleven percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin B1, fifteen percent of the RDA of vitamin B2, four percent of the RDA of vitamin B3, twenty-one percent of the RDA of copper, and eleven percent of the RDA of iron. The supplement also has notable amounts of other essential nutrients, including magnesium, potassium, and manganese.
Keep reading to learn about another health benefit of spirulina.
Antioxidant & Anti-inflammatory Properties
With its many nutrients and other active ingredients, spirulina is also known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation is more prevalent today than ever before, largely because of the mass amount of oxidative stress present in the body due to free radicals. Inflammation can contribute to many different conditions, including high blood pressure and cancer.
Spirulina is full of antioxidants that help prevent and reverse oxidative damage. The primary component of the supplement that assists in this way is phycocyanin, which is also what gives spirulina its unique color. Phycocyanin fights free radicals and prevents the production of inflammation-causing molecules, delivering powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
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Reduces LDL And Triglycerides
Spirulina has also been found as an alternative supplement for helping deter one of the world’s biggest killers: heart disease. Several factors are known to increase an individual's risk for heart disease and heart attack, including low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides. This supplement supports treatment of those risk factors in two important ways.
In a recent study, taking just two grams of spirulina was found to improve the most important markers of heart disease risk. The supplement reduces LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and it increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, otherwise known as the good cholesterol. Not only that, but another study of individuals living with high cholesterol found a one gram dose of the supplement each day reduced LDL cholesterol by just over ten percent and triglycerides by a little over sixteen percent. According to separate research, even higher doses of four and a half to eight grams per day may show even more favorable results.
Keep on reading to learn about yet another health benefit of spirulina.
Among spirulina’s many notable qualities is how it has anti-cancer properties. In fact, research indicates spirulina may be able to reduce both cancer occurrence as well as tumor size. In addition to these benefits, spirulina is also effective for reducing metastasis of cancerous cells, controlling melatonin production, detoxing heavy metals, and boosting the immune system.
More research needs to be done to identify the exact connections between spirulina and cancer prevention, but several indicators point to why the supplement is so helpful. Spirulina contains twenty-three thousand percent more iron than spinach, 3900 percent more beta-carotene than carrots, and three hundred percent more calcium than whole milk. It is also loaded with healthy fats, including GLA, EPA, DHA, and ALA. These nutrients, as well as the supplement’s other properties, work together to counteract cancer activity in the body, particularly oral cancer.
Continue to unveil another health benefit spirulina possesses.
Improves Endurance And Muscle Strength
For individuals who exercise, oxidative damage related to heavy exercise can be a significant contributor to fatigue. Supplements and other foods can help minimize this type of fatigue both before and during exercise. While more research is needed to definitively name spirulina as one such supplement, many studies have been done that do indicate the supplement improves endurance and muscle strength.
The antioxidant makeup in spirulina is useful for offsetting a large amount of oxidative stress, which also is what is believed to make it so beneficial in reducing muscle fatigue as well as improving strength and endurance. Not only that, but its overall nutritional profile makes it an effective source of nutrients for athletes who regularly deplete their bodies, which is a benefit as important as any other.