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Why you Must Start Consuming a Blue Green Algae Called Spirulina

Find out how beneficial a blue green algae — Spirulina — can be.

Updated
Health News
3 min read
Find out the benefits of the ancient staple food. 
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Spirulina, an ancient staple food of the Azetacs and Mesoamericans is now sold as a food supplement in the health food stores.

Natural and highly nutritious, Spirulina, is a blue green algae is rich in proteins (60%), essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, GLA (Gamma-linoleic acid), nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), beta-carotene(pro-vitamin A) and vitamins B, C, & E.

It is also rich in minerals like iron, potassium,magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, calcium and phytochemicals, such as chlorophyll (the green pigment) and phycocyanin (a blue pigment).
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It’s outstanding nutritional profile, high protein and low calorie count makes it a ‘superfood’.

In fact, spirulina shot to fame in the 1970’s when NASA (National Aeronautical and Space Agency), USA used spirulina for astronauts’ food in space.

Benefits of Spirulina

Spirulina has many health benefits. 
Spirulina has many health benefits. 
(Photo: iStock)

Centuries ago, the Aztecs and the Mayas realised the healing properties of Spirulina and enjoyed this superb source of vegetable nutrition as a ‘power-food’ to boost their energy levels and enhance their stamina.

Recent scientific research has revealed numerous health benefits of this ‘super-food’.

Spirulina has been shown to help regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol, alleviate pain and inflammation, balance immune system, alleviates allergies, improve digestion by increasing good gut flora, and deliver antioxidant activity to protect from life-threatening diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and stroke.

It has also been shown to suppress appetite and help weight watchers. Its high beta-carotene content helps in maintaining good skin and hair.

A study conducted at the J.C. Bose Institute of Life Sciences, Bundelkhand University, Jhansi, India, published in Journal Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology in 2005, reported that spirulina improves the activity of white blood cells, stimulates antibodies and increases the population of natural killer cells.

Anti-oxidant and liver protective properties of spirulina were also reported by a Joint Indian and Malaysian study published in the December 2008 in the International Journal of Integrative Biology.

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Health Food for all Age Groups

Spirulina’s concentrated nutrition makes it an ideal food supplement for people of all ages and lifestyles, fussy eaters and specially those who do not manage to eat adequate amount of vegetables.

However, pregnant and lactating women and people suffering from any illness, allergies to seafood or seaweed or hyperparathyroidism must consult their physician.

Tropical weathers, strong sunshine, pure water resource and pollution free environment is what spirulina needs for its cultivation.

However, if the water is polluted or contaminated with heavy metals, it is not suitable for spirulina cultivation as these metals and toxins will get highly concentrated in the spirulina plant and make it unsuitable for human consumption.

Hence, the source and purity of spirulina is critical.

In Modern Times

Spirulina can be added in pasta, salads. 
Spirulina can be added in pasta, salads. 
(Photo: iStock)

Commercially, spirulina is available as a powder, tablet, capsule and health tonics.

It can be added to soups, pasta, fruit and vegetable dishes, salads, pulses and lentils. Being high on nutrition and easy on digestion, it certainly is a good addition to our daily diets.

(The author is a clinical nutritionist, Founder of www.theweightmonitor.com, Whole Foods India and Founder President of Celiac Society of India.)

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