What if I told you that the WHO has proclaimed spirulina as “the best food for humanity in the 21st century”? What are the benefits of Spirulina? Why is it getting increasing attention?
What is spirulina?
Spirulina is a microscopic alga, that is blue-green colored, and that grows in freshwater, exclusively in areas with warm and sunny weather.
Originally, it was used as food for the Aztecs (Amerindian people), although it is now cultivated in other countries where the climate allows it: such as Mexico, China, or Burkina Faso for example. In 2013 alone, 5,000 dried tonnes were produced!
Very low-calorie food, it is made up of a wide variety and a large number of nutrients.
# 1 It contains up to 70% protein
First of all, it is extremely rich in protein (from 60 to 70% protein, depending on the culture and drying process) and from a qualitative point of view, these proteins are complete because all the essential amino acids are included – although certain amino acids (methionine, cysteine, and lysine) are in smaller quantities. The optimum could nevertheless be reached by supplementation with cereals such as rice, wheat, and millet for example, or certain oilseeds such as sesame.
This richness in proteins is all the more interesting as it beats all records in terms of yields: indeed, its yield is 125 times greater than corn, 100 times more than beef or 250 times more than rice. It also contains between 18.5 and 20.7% carbohydrates, with an important fact, a very low cellulose content (0.5 to 0.7%), which improves the food efficiency of proteins.
# 2 It is an important source of vitamins and minerals
Spirulina is also an important source of provitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamin B9, E or C . It is rich in trace elements, such as iron (which is also highly assimilable), calcium, potassium, manganese, selenium as well as essential fatty acids ( omega 6). It also contains chlorophyll and phycocyanin, a pigment with antioxidant properties.
Why is Spirulina a superfood?
# 1 An excellent food against deficiencies
The mineral content of soils is getting lower and lower, which means that our food, which comes directly or indirectly from the soil, has also become very depleted of essential minerals – exposing us to more deficiencies.
# 2 Excellent ally for fighting famine
Due to its richness and diversity of nutrients, spirulina is used to combat malnutrition, undernutrition, or protein deficiencies in developing countries.
# 3 An ecological alternative to animal proteins
It beats all records in terms of yields: in fact, the yield of spirulina is 125 times greater than that of corn, 100 times more than the meat of beef or 250 times more than rice.
# 4 an excellent remedy for anemia
This incredibly rich in iron alga makes an excellent remedy in the prevention and treatment of anemia. The iron that’s found in spirulina is very well assimilated by our organism: according to studies carried out by researchers, the bio-assimilation of spirulina iron in humans has been estimated at 40%, or 6, 5 times more than that of beef.
# 5 an anti-fatigue remedy
Its richness in iron and vitamins is also a good ally against tiredness.
# 6 a means of prevention against thyroid disorders
Algae, such as spirulina, contain large amounts of iodine needed to produce thyroid hormones – thereby reducing the risk of thyroid dysfunction.
# 7 an ally against cholesterol
One study found that spirulina had a positive effect on the reduction of lipids in the blood as well as on the level of bad cholesterol in the blood. It would therefore, be a health asset against high cholesterol.
# 8 It reduces the risk of diabetes
The consumption of spirulina would also have a positive impact on the fasting blood sugar level and the efficiency of insulin, which are two major factors in the treatment of diabetes!
# 9 It improves kidney functions
One study found that spirulina has a protective effect on the kidneys thanks to the presence of a compound called phycocyanin.
# 10 antioxidant properties
Other studies in animals have shown that spirulina had antioxidant properties, in particular, because of its richness in beta-carotene, vitamin E and phycocyanin.
# 11 powerful anti-viral properties
According to another study (5), spirulina has powerful antiviral and antimycotic properties, which would make it an interesting ally in times of bodily weakness or viral diseases.
# 12 detoxifies the liver
Spirulina stimulates the liver function by helping to prevent the accumulation of fatty acids and reducing inflammation. It thus makes it possible to rebuild the intestinal flora, detoxify the liver, and reduce the risks of colon cancer.
Spirulina also helps rid our body of toxins in general, but also of heavy metals (mercury, lead, aluminum, etc).
# 13 Promotes weight loss?
Although spirulina has many benefits, it should be noted that contrary to the health claims found on the products, no reliable scientific study has proven its effectiveness on weight loss and reduction of appetite.
In what form should spirulina be consumed?
Although the natural form of spirulina is the best way to consume it because it retains all its natural properties, its natural form is almost not found on the market. The most common forms of spirulina on the market are:
# 1 Tablets and capsules
The supplementation in tablets or capsules is the most common way to consume Spirulina. It must nevertheless be admitted that consuming tablets is not very exciting in terms of taste or flavors …
# 2 Dried
The second common form of using Spirulina is in its dried form. It appears like shavings, which look like tea shavings. More interesting than tablets or capsules, it is nevertheless difficult to use it in recipes, this is why it is recommended that you rather use it in powder form.
# 3 Powder
Spirulina powder seems to be the simplest and most fun solution to enjoy the benefits of spirulina while having fun. Indeed, because spirulina powder can then be used in many recipes.