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Spirulina is a biomass of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) that can be consumed by humans and animals. Spirulina has been around for quite some time. Dating back to ancient times, the Aztecs and Mesoamericans utilized spirulina as a food source up until the 16th century. Until recently (1940’s) spirulina had been long forgotten, but French botanist Pierre Dangeard found a tribe in Africa that was harvesting Spirulina and using it in a cake called a “dihe”. In the 60’s botanist Jean Leonard began studying the algae bloom, and growth requirements in a large scale production facility and was the basis for performing large scale production in the 70’s. As an ecologically sound, nutrient-rich dietary supplement, spirulina is being investigated to address malnutrition, and as a dietary support for long-term space flight such as Mars missions.
Spirulina is referred to as a superfood and is available as a powder and tablets. Spirulina was also a primary source of protein for the Aztecs. Call it what you want, but spirulina is more than worthy of its superfood title.
While this blue-green alga may look like slimy pond scum, it’s actually one of the most nutritious and nutrient-dense foods on the planet. To start, spirulina is 60% protein (more than two times the protein found in red meat). It contains 18 amino acids, including all essential amino acids and 10 of the 12 non-essential amino acids.
Spirulina is also a great source of phytonutrients, copper, iron, manganese, potassium, and B vitamins, iodine, and Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). Another reason why spirulina has earned its superfood title: it’s a sustainable food source. In addition to requiring 10 times less water than other vegetables, spirulina can be harvested year-round and is able to withstand extreme temperatures.
What is Spirulina
Spirulina is usually described as a blue-green algae, but technically it is a cyanobacteria. More referred to as a Cyanobacteria due to the bluish pigment phycocyanin, which captures light for photosynthesis. Because of this, spirulina also contains chlorophyll. Spirulina grows in both fresh and salt water and can be consumed by both humans and animals.
Spirulina has the potential to end world hunger. According to economist Urs Heierli, PhD, just 1 gram of spirulina per day can help correct malnutrition in a small child within few weeks. This idea is also supported by the United Nation.
#1 It Detoxes Heavy Metals
Spirulina is a powerful detoxifier that helps remove toxins, such as heavy metals, from the body. Heavy metals are a group of 23 elements that can be dangerous, even in low concentrations. This group includes lead, arsenic and mercury, just to name a few. Too much heavy metal in the body can be toxic and cause poisoning.
#2 It Boosts Your Immune System
Every fall and winter, people search for natural ways to protect their immune system from the common cold, the flu and even COVID-19. One way to boost your immune system naturally is to eat more fruits and vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables. But adding spirulina can also help.
According to a 2000 UC Davis study, “adding spirulina to cultured immune system cells significantly increases the production of infection fighting cytokines.”
#3 It Has Anti-Cancer Properties
Over 70 peer-reviewed studies show that spirulina is a powerful cancer fighter — especially against oral cancer. Two different studies found just 1 gram of spirulina per day reduced precancerous lesions by 45% and improved symptoms. Other studies show spirulina can reduce the growth of tumors.
#4 It Is Anti-Inflammatory
Like most superfoods, spirulina is high in antioxidants, especially phycocyanin. Not only does phycocyanin give the blue-green algae its blue color, it’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory agent helping to lower inflammation especially with a balanced diet. Studies have shown this antioxidant scavenges and fights the free radicals that cause oxidative damage to our cells.
#5 It Reduces Bad Cholesterol
If you’re looking for a natural way to reduce your LDL cholesterol (aka the “bad” cholesterol), you may want to consider spirulina. In a 2014 study published in the “Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture,” researchers gave 52 participants 1 gram of spirulina every day for 12 weeks. When they retested their lipid panel, the results showed triglycerides were lowered by, on average, by 16.3% and LDL by 10.1%.
#6 It Lowers Blood Pressure
#7 It Can Improve Sinus Issues
#8 It Boosts Your Energy
#9 It Fights Candida
#10 Provides 20% Daily Value of Essential Nutrients
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