With a shift toward health and wellness on the rise, many people are on the hunt for more nutritious foods. It doesn't get much more nutritious than spirulina. This blue-green algae is chock full of important nutrients. Spirulina is sustainable and provides more nutrition per acre than any other type of food. With 18 amino acids and 62 percent pure protein, it makes a good food choice for vegetarians and vegans. Because the protein is 95 percent digestible, spirulina benefits people with gastrointestinal issues as well.
Spirulina offers an abundance of vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin B6, biotin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B12 and important minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, copper, and phosphorus. If that weren't enough, spirulina also delivers important enzymes, essential fatty acids, and carotenoids like beta carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein. Packed with so many nutrients, it's not surprising this green superfood is often the subject of scientific research.
Allergy and Infection
By stopping the release of histamines, spirulina may offer a protective effect against allergy symptoms according to a number of preliminary test tube and animal studies. Research in the laboratory also shows that spirulina boosts the production of antibodies that help ward off certain types of infection and chronic disease. Studies continue to determine if spirulina helps prevent allergies and infection in people.
Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
A study published in Lipids Health Digest showed that spirulina benefits cholesterol and blood pressure. Without making any other changes to diet or lifestyle, 36 people consumed 4.5 grams of spirulina each day. After six weeks, subjects showed lower readings for total cholesterol, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and body fat.
Related: Workout Tips to Lower Blood Pressure
People who chew tobacco sometimes develop white or gray precancerous lesions called leukoplakia. One placebo-controlled study examined the effects of spirulina on these lesions in 77 tobacco chewers. After taking spirulina supplements for one year, 45 percent of the subjects showed total regression of leukoplakia. Several animal studies have also indicated that intervention with spirulina results in tumor regression.
Due to nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin, many experts believe spirulina benefits could extend to eye health, especially if combined with astaxanthin, another eye health nutrient. More research is needed to verify these beliefs.
Due to a wide range of wholesome nutrients and many proven health benefits, more people than ever are making spirulina part of their dietary plan. Powdered spirulina makes a popular ingredient in green smoothies, or people can purchase dried spirulina in tablet form. Before beginning any supplementary regimen, it is wise to consult with a health care provider, especially if on prescribed medication.