What is Spirulina?
The superfood “spirulina” is a special blue-green algae that is loaded with chlorophyll and many other potent nutrients that is extremely beneficial for your body. Being one of the most nutritious and concentrated food sources on the planet, it is appearing more frequently in natural foods and beverages, such as green foods and drinks, energy bars, and supplements.
Spirulina grows in the lakes of Mexico and Africa, but it is also grown and harvested all around the world. Since it reproduces quickly, it is also easy to harvest. In fact, the commercial production of spirulina is estimated to reach 220,000 tons by 2020. Japan is the largest spirulina producer, as well as the largest consumer.
Where to buy Spirulina
You can buy spirulina at any health food store. Make sure to get a brand that is organic or not tainted by pesticides or contaminants. “Prairie Naturals” & “Pure Planet” (Hawaiian) Spirulina are top quality. These 2 brands are certified organic and are not affected by radiation. Try to avoid spirulina that is produced and grown in Japan, due to the large amounts of radiation released from the Fukushima earthquake a few years ago.
Spirulina health benefits
Research shows that spirulina may boost immune function and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Spirulina also contains zeaxanthin, which can even prevent ARMD (age-related macular degeneration). This involves the deterioration of your macula, which is the region in your eye that controls acute vision. It can also reduce systemic inflammation, increase HDL (good cholesterol), help diabetics, and protect your liver.
In fact, spirulina is so high in antixoidants that it has been shown to have the highest neuroprotective effect on the brain, due to its ability to neutralize free radicals and reduce inflammation.
Spirulina Nutrition facts
Spirulina is rich in protein, which can be very useful for vegans. In fact, spirulina is 50%-70% protein by weight (even better than red meat – which is only about 27% protein!), and contains all of the essential amino acids that the human body needs. Adding an ounce (about 3 tablespoons) to a smoothie, would be around 15 grams, which is what you would find in 2 large eggs or half a serving of chicken breast.
Spirulina is also rich in beta-carotene (a precursor of Vitamin A), calcium, Vitamin K, and iron (which can be very useful for vegetarians). Note that although spirulina also contains several B vitamins, it is not a reliable source of B12, as the form of B12 is inactive in humans (vegans should not rely on this as a source).
Whare the Side Effects of Spirulina?
Spirulina is safe, even at high doses. However, it is important to buy a reputable brand because it can be contaminated by toxic substances or by radiation. If you have an autoimmune disease, such as multiple sclerosis, arthritis, or lupus, you should consult your physician before taking spirulina.