Spirulina Benefits: What is Spirulina?
Spirulina is a blue-green freshwater algae that is the latest thing to be called a “superfood.” Microscopic in size and tasting like seaweed, you might not think that such a small creature could contain many nutrients. But you’d be wrong! Let’s take a look at some potential spirulina benefits.
Spirulina is rich in the following nutrients:
- Amino acids
- B vitamins
- Vitamins E and K
- Linoleic acid
This versatile nutrient has also been linked to weight loss, decreased inflammation due to arthritis, and decreased diabetic symptoms. It is thought to have anti-aging properties, due to its antioxidant content. The chlorophyll in spirulina might help your body grow and repair tissues.
Spirulina also contains gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), which is a rare nutrient found in mother’s milk. (You may have heard of CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid; a similar nutrient that many people supplement with for weight loss.)
Spirulina Benefits: Great For Vegetarians
Spirulina is especially great for vegetarians for a couple reasons. For one thing, it’s a rich source of protein, amino acids, and B vitamins (especially vitamin B12). Unlike most other plants, spirulina is a complete protein, which means that it contains all of the essential amino acids (the ones your body can’t produce on its own), and 18 of 22 overall. These are nutrients that are found most often in animal food products, which means that vegetarians are notoriously deficient in them. All this from algae, a food that is vegetarian-friendly.
Spirulina Benefits: Protection From Radiation
Spirulina might also confer protection from radiation, and might even help to heal the body from harmful radiation. Apparently, spirulina reduces your body’s radioactive load, and was even used to help improve the immune systems of Chernobyl survivors. This radioprotective quality might help protect you not only from gamma radiation exposure, but even from some of the harmful effects of chemotherapy.
How Can I Get Spirulina?
You can buy a number of spirulina-containing products, including pills, powders, and flakes.
Dietary supplements are not monitored by the FDA, so when choosing a spirulina supplement, make sure to do your homework and pick a high-quality supplement. Inferior supplements might contain toxins, bacteria, and other contaminants. It’s also important to remember to talk to your doctor before you go making any big changes in your diet or lifestyle.