If we were to tell you that eating algae was not only good for you, but that it was something that people not only do by choice, but that they actually enjoy doing so, you would probably think we were crazy. Despite this however, this is exactly what we are telling you as there is a particular form of algae that is considered a superfood, which is being consumed by countless individuals all over the world. The algae in question is none other than spirulina, and it is this underappreciated and misunderstood health food that we’ll be looking at today. Spirulina is a blue-green algae that thrives in freshwater conditions and is considered by health experts to be one of the healthiest ingredients on the planet. Not only is it loaded full of nutrients that provide countless health and wellness benefits, but it also tastes fantastic in the process. If you’re looking for a new addition to your health supplement stack, look no further than spirulina. Here are just a few of the many health benefits this wonderful ingredient can provide.
It is rich in nutrients
Starting off nice and easy, one of the key reasons why spirulina is considered to be so healthy and good for us is because it is rich in nutrients. Whilst there are many nutritious plant-based ingredients out there, spirulina is on a whole other level entirely. Some of the key nutrients found in spirulina include: vitamin C, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, Iron, Copper, Magnesium, protein, and much more besides. These nutrients help enhance immunity, they boost overall well-being and vitality, and they play key roles in hundreds upon hundreds of physiological processes within the human body.
Great source of protein
As we briefly mentioned above, spirulina is a great source of plant-based protein, making it ideal not only for general well-being, but also for bodybuilding, and muscle growth, recovery, and repair. Spirulina is considered a complete protein source as it contains every single essential amino acid required by the human body. Essential amino acids are amino acids that the body needs to function correctly, but that it cannot synthesize by itself. Because of this, these amino acids must come from dietary sources instead, including supplements and whole foods.
Lowers LDL cholesterol
There are two separate forms of cholesterol in the human body, these are LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. LDL, or Low Density Lipoprotein cholesterol, is the dangerous cholesterol, whereas HDL, or High Density Lipoprotein cholesterol, is beneficial and food for us as it lowers LDL. The fact that spirulina can lower LDL cholesterol is very significant because heart disease is currently the number one killer in the world. What does this have to do with LDL cholesterol? Well, LDL cholesterol is responsible for fatty deposits and build-ups in the arteries that can cause heart disease, hypertension, heart attacks and blocked arteries. Numerous studies have revealed that spirulina can effectively reduce blood triglyceride levels and LDL cholesterol levels, whilst helping to boost healthy cholesterol levels.
Spirulina is not considered to be a superfood for nothing. Not only does it contain numerous nutrients which boost immunity, and therefore improve the immune system, but on top of that, spirulina also provides potent antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidants found in spirulina help to prevent oxidative damage caused to our cells, which can result in them mutating and changing their molecular structure. This can cause them to turn pre-cancerous, and even cancerous in some instances. Chronic inflammation in the body has also been linked to various strains of cancer, as well as other ailments, so the fact that spirulina provides anti-inflammatory benefits is very significant indeed.
It improves digestive health
Spirulina is also very beneficial because it has been found to improve digestive health and well-being. Spirulina functions as a potent microbial agent which helps to eliminate harmful bacteria in the gut known as candida. These dangerous bacterium have been linked with leaky gut syndrome, poor digestion, poor nutrient absorption, and other gastro-intestinal imbalances and conditions. The good thing about spirulina is that it helps to boost healthy gut flora in the digestive system, which in turn boosts digestive health and helps to eliminate harmful bacteria.
Reduced blood pressure
Thanks to increasing stress levels, a lack of exercise, lack of nutrients, and increasingly unhealthy diets, hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is now more common than ever. Hypertension is very dangerous as it can result in heart attacks, stroke, organ failure, cardiovascular disease, and much more besides. Spirulina however, is great in this instance because it contains a pigment known as phycocyanin. This pigment has experts especially excited because it has been found to drastically reduce blood pressure levels in people suffering with hypertension. One key way in which it is able to do this is down to the fact that it can improve metabolic syndrome symptoms as it can reverse endothelial dysfunction. As metabolic syndrome is often characterised via hypertension, this is very promising indeed. The bottom line is that spirulina will help to drastically reduce blood pressure levels, which could potentially save countless lives.
Enhances weight loss
Whilst consuming pretty much any healthy food (providing it is low in calories) can promote weight loss, spirulina has been found to be especially useful. Spirulina contains ingredients which help communicate with our cells and tell them to utilize glucose sugars for energy. This increase in energy means we burn more calories and that we can also become more active, which again results in us burning even more calories still. Spirulina is also rich in protein and amino acids, which makes it very thermogenic. This means that the body has to work harder to digest it and break it down, so more calories are burnt off, and the metabolism increases ever so slightly. On top of that, it is virtually fat free and is very low in calories, so there is no risk of entering a calorie surplus accidentally through spirulina consumption.