What is Spirulina?
If you’re looking for a plant that can nourish your body by providing most of its protein requirements, can prevent allergies and reinforce your immune system, then spirulina is what you need. Spirulina is a natural algae (cyanobacteria) that are incredibly high in protein and nutrients. It is obtained primarily from two species of cyanobacteria: Arthrospira platensis and Arthrospira maxima. Unlike other plants that grow in the soil, Spirulina grows in the form of blue-green algae in both fresh water and salt water in the wild. It is also commercially cultivated in Spirulina farms. The name originates from the Latin word for ‘helix’, or ‘spiral’, because of its spring like physical characteristics. This plant is consumed as food as well as a dietary supplement. It’s available in tablet, powder and flake form. Besides being consumed by humans, it is also used as a feed supplement in aquaculture, aquarium and poultry industries. Spirulina is largely composed of proteins and amino acids and hence, is beneficial for vegetarians. The high content of protein and iron makes it beneficial during pregnancy, after surgery, and for boosting the immune system. Since it is a concentrated whole food, it is easily incorporated in various dishes, particularly for children who do not like vegetables.
Spirulina Health Benefits:
Spirulina is a “superfood” which possesses tremendous nutritional value. Being rich in vital nutrients, this plant offers the following health benefits:
1.Treatment of Allergies:
According to research, Spirulina can help in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Consumption of Spirulina helps in reducing symptoms like nasal discharge, sneezing, congestion and itching.
2.Lowers Blood Cholesterol Levels:
Spirulina reduces the blood cholesterol levels naturally and boosts the absorption of vital minerals. Consumption of several grams of Spirulina daily can reduce LDL or bad cholesterol and improve the cholesterol ratio. This normalization of cholesterol plays a great role in weight reduction.
3.Beneficial in Diabetes:
In a study it was observed that taking Spirulina as a dietary supplement for 12 weeks results in a significant reduction in blood-fat levels. It is particularly beneficial for diabetics as it decreases inflammation and helps reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.
4.Aids in Weight Loss:
Spirulina is rich in beta-carotene, chlorophyll, fatty-acid GLA and other nutrients which are particularly beneficial for overweight people. Taking this supplement is beneficial while fasting, as it supplies the nutrients that are needed to cleanse and heal your system, while curbing your appetite.
Several studies have proven that Spirulina can arrest the development of cancer progression, reduce the risk of cancer initiation and boost your immune system. It is a great substitute for animal products as it contains a special form of protein that assimilates well. Unlike animal proteins, it does not burden your body with waste products. It is also rich in phycocyanin, a pigment with anti-cancer properties. It strengthens immunity and inhibits excess cell division. Spirulina also offers some protection against oral cancers.
6.Improves Brain/Cognitive Function:
Folate and vitamin B-12 play an important role in the healthy functioning of the brain and nervous system. Being rich in these nutrients, Spirulina helps in protecting cognitive function as one starts to age. This nutritional supplement helps maintain brain function.
Spirulina is a good source of folic acid which provides nourishment for the brain and supports the production of energy and blood cells. This makes it beneficial in the treatment of depression.
Research has shown that Spirulina is beneficial for the eyes. It is proven to be effective in treating eye diseases such as geriatric cataracts, diabetic retinal damage (retinitis), nephritic retinal damage and hardening of retinal blood vessels (angiosclerosis).
9.Treatment of Ulcers:
Spirulina acts as a good treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers, thanks to the presence of amino acids, cysteine and a high content of high quality protein. Being rich in chlorophyll, it is great for retaining and restoring a good digestion.
10.Treatment of Hepatitis and Cirrhosis:
Clinical reports have indicated that Spirulina prevents, as well as cures, fatty liver and hepato-cirrhosis. This supplement should be taken for at least one month to notice beneficial results.