A nutrient-rich, blue-green algae that has gained popularity as a dietary supplement due to its numerous potential health benefits, spirulina has risen to superfood status over the past few years. Here are seven amazing nutritional benefits of spirulina to know about.
Spirulina – a type of blue-green microalgae that is often used as a dietary supplement due to its potential health benefits, is known for its high nutritional content and has been consumed by various cultures for centuries. Rich in nutrients, including protein, vitamin B12, minerals and antioxidants such as phycocyanin and beta-carotene. Considered to be a complete protein source, spirulina contains all essential amino acids. Deriving its name from its blue-green colour, which is primarily due to the presence of a pigment called phycocyanin, the pigment has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Spirulina is available in various forms – including capsules, tablets, powders, and flakes and commonly taken as a dietary supplement, along with being used as an ingredient in smoothies, and salads. While spirulina is generally considered safe for most people when consumed in recommended doses, some individuals may experience side effects like gastrointestinal issues or allergic reactions. Often promoted as an environmentally sustainable food source because it can be cultivated in nutrient-rich water and does not require fertile soil, spirulina has a high yield per unit area compared to many traditional crops. Its unique, earthy flavour can be an acquired taste. Here are seven health benefits of including spirulina in your diet.
High Protein Content
Spirulina is an excellent source of plant-based protein, containing all essential amino acids. It is particularly beneficial for vegetarians and vegans who may have limited sources of complete proteins in their diet.
Spirulina is packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B-complex B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12, iron, copper and manganese. These nutrients play vital roles in various bodily functions, such as energy metabolism, immune support, and oxygen transport.
Spirulina is a potent source of antioxidants like beta-carotene, phycocyanin, and chlorophyll. These compounds help combat oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases by neutralizing harmful free radicals in the body.
Research suggests that spirulina may have anti-inflammatory properties due to its unique combination of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. This may help alleviate symptoms associated with inflammatory conditions like arthritis.
Immune System Support
The high concentration of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in spirulina can boost the immune system by enhancing the production of antibodies and immune cells, helping the body defend against infections.
Some studies suggest that spirulina may help lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels, thus contributing to improved heart health. Its high content of phycocyanin may play a role in these cardiovascular benefits.
Spirulina has been proposed as a natural detoxifier. It can help remove heavy metals and toxins from the body, primarily due to its chlorophyll content. This property can be particularly important for individuals with heavy metal exposure or those seeking to support their liver's detoxification processes.