7 useful benefits of Spirulina
Spirulina is often described as a “superfood” and boasts its fair share of health improving benefits. Although we cannot scientifically prove that it “cures cancer and aids” we can however prove that Spirulina is one hell of a food.
1. High nutrient density:
Spirulina is undeniably packed with lots of useful nutrients and vitamins; and is extremely high in the following:
Protein: It is considered a complete source of high-quality protein and is often compared to eggs regarding the amount of protein per gram. The protein in Spirulina is highly usable and has a protein content of up to 61%!
Calcium: Spirulina is incredibly high in calcium, with over 26 times more calcium than in milk.
Vitamin B1: Also called Thiamine, this vitamin is useful for the digestion of fats and proteins. It is also useful for increased energy, eye health, brain function and for improving nerve functionality.
Iron: Spirulina is vegetarians and vegan’s best friends, as it is one of the best plant sources of iron. Even for those who consume meat, it is a useful source of iron that is gentle on the digestive system.
2. Muscle Strength and Endurance May Improve
Exercise-induced oxidative damage is a major contributor to muscle fatigue. Certain plant foods, including spirulina, have antioxidant properties that can help athletes and physically active individuals minimise the damage.
As well as the high protein content, spirulina has added muscle benefits, with some studies showing increased muscle endurance and strength.
In two of the studies conducted, spirulina was shown to enhance individual’s endurance, significantly increasing the time it took for them to become fatigued.
Another study om college athletes found that supplementing spirulina increased muscle strength, but did not have any effect on endurance.
3. Spirulina decreases blood pressure
High blood pressure is a silent killer, and drives many fatal diseases. These diseases include heart attacks, strokes and chronic kidney disease.
While 1 gram of spirulina proves ineffective, a 4.5-gram daily dosage has been seen to reduce blood pressure in individuals with normal blood pressure levels.
This is thought to be driven by increased production of nitric oxide, a signalling molecule that helps the blood vessels relax, while easing dilation.
4. Anti-inflammatory properties
Spirulina contains a high amount of amino acids including the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA) which has gotten a lot of attention for its anti-inflammatory properties; especially when taken with other quality Omega-3 supplements.
GLA is rare to find in a food source and normally gets created by the body. Spirulina is one of the few foods with a natural GLA content.
Besides GLA, Spirulina also contains Omega 3-,6 and 9s and is especially high in Omega-3s.
5. Helps Remove Heavy Metals
Spirulina can bind with harmful heavy metals in the body and help remove them. It is also extremely high in Chlorophyll, which helps remove toxins from the blood; boosting the immune system. One study found that 500 milligrams of spirulina a day paired with zinc supplementation was enough to reduce arsenic toxicity by almost half!
6. Spirulina helps lower cholesterol
Spirulina benefits have also been shown to prevent atherosclerosis and reduce elevated blood cholesterol levels.
A recent animal study published in The Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology took rabbits, fed them a high cholesterol diet (HCD) containing 0.5% cholesterol for four weeks, and then fed them a HCD with 1% or 5% spirulina for an additional eight weeks.
After the eight-week trial was complete, LDL levels decreased by 26% in the group eating 1% of spirulina and 41% in the group eating 5% spirulina.
7. Spirulina increases your metabolism and promotes weight loss
Diets high in nutrient-dense protein-rich foods such as spirulina assist weight loss and low-fat stores through a variety of mechanisms. Because it takes more energy to metabolize, eating protein helps maintain lean tissue and contributes to fat burning.
It can also curb hunger/ cravings and help cut down on snacking. To maximize this benefit, try eating your high protein spirulina in the morning or during midday instead of at night.