While the idea of eating seaweed or pond scum might not sound like your ideal gourmet meal, thousands of people have been incorporating that into their everyday diet. Spirulina has been around for thousands of years, and people from cultures around the world have been known to even cultivate the stuff.
The Spanish conquistador, Hernan Cortes found that the ancient Aztecs grew lakes of spirulina that they then sold as cakes to the local population. Lake Chad in Africa is also an area where spirulina has been historically cultivated for its health and nutritional benefits.
Why have people for centuries been eating a bluish green alga that grows on stagnated bodies of fresh water? As we will see below, the benefits of spirulina are so great that many people willingly overlook the fact that pond scum is a part of their diet. Below we look at the top seven spirulina benefits for your health and wellbeing.
An Alga That Packs a Lot of Protein
When we think of sources of protein in our diet, most of us probably have an image of a juicy steak or grilled chicken. Cyanobacteria, such as spirulina, however, is also chock full of protein and is a complete protein with all of the essential amino acids.
One of the main spirulina health benefits, then, is that it offers a needed protein source for vegetarians and vegans. Its relatively neutral taste, allows it to be included into virtually any meal. If you don´t want to take spirulina as a supplement in pill form, you can enjoy the benefits of spirulina through sprinkling its powder form over your meal.
A Natural Antihistamine
If you hate the groggy feeling that comes after taking Benadryl or other antihistamines, spirulina also can help you deal with your allergies without any major side effects. One recent study found that small doses of spirulina taken on a daily basis helped reduced the frequency of rhinitis amongst people who suffer from this type of allergy.
A Super Food
Most of the foods that are part of the industrial diet are nothing more than empty carbohydrates filled with artificial flavors and a number of unpronounceable additives. The nutritional value of these foods is almost nothing, and the number of health issues arising from dietary issues is well documented.
In response to this, more and more people have turned to super foods as a nutritional and dietary alternative. Super foods are foods that pack a lot of nutritional punch in relatively small helpings. Spirulina is considered by many to be one of the most beneficial super foods because of the extraordinarily high concentration of vitamins and minerals.
While spirulina is lacking in some vitamins such as the B12 vitamin, it is proven to be a good source of iron and calcium and a whole host of other micronutrients including magnesium, potassium, and manganese. NASA even started using spirulina as a cultivable foodstuff during long term space missions in 2003.
Helps to Get Rid of Toxic Substances
It can be hard to know exactly what we´re putting in to our bodies. The industrial food chain is long and complex, and while the produce at our local grocery store can sure appear safe and healthy, there have been numerous instances during the past years of foods being found to be contaminated with heavy metals.
As the urban agriculture movement continues to grow, one of the major concerns is the environmental toxins that are concentrated in cities. Spirulina, however, has the ability to help our bodies detox from the harmful chemicals that we may ingest.
Spirulina is one of Nature´s most powerful chelating agents, meaning that it has the ability to chemically bond to certain metal ions. If you fear that the lettuce you’ve bought from the local urban farmer’s market might be contaminated with things you don´t want in your body, add a little spirulina powder to your salad to rest assured.
Adds Beneficial Bacteria to Your Gut
The sterility of most foodstuffs doesn’t do a lot to keep our digestive track healthy and functional. The excessive prescription of antibiotics and a diet based on heavily processed grains has also led to a number of serious gastrointestinal issues affecting thousands of people.
Adding fermented foods such as probiotic yogurt and apple cider vinegar is a great way to improve your gut health. Another of the most well-known and appreciated spirulina benefits is that, like certain fermented foods, it helps stimulate the growth and reproduction of beneficial bacteria while simultaneously controlling candida and other harmful bacteria.
Can Help Cure Insomnia
There is nothing worse than not being able to get the sleep and rest that you need. People who suffer from sleep deprivation and other conditions such as sleep apnea that affects your ability to get rested might benefit from a steady dose of spirulina in their daily diet.
Spirulina is believed to be a potent source of a certain amino acid that aids the body´s production of melatonin, a hormone that helps us get to sleep. While many doctors may prescribe chemical forms of melatonin for people who deal with insomnia, this can cause serious long term problems for the body´s autonomous production of this hormone. Spirulina, however, helps the body to improve the natural production of this important sleep hormone.
Helps Fight Anemia
Lastly, spirulina is thought to be an effective natural supplement to help people who suffer from anemia. Anemia is the reduction of red blood cells, or hemoglobin, in your blood stream that can cause stress, fatigue, and other serious health issues.
A daily supplement of spirulina has been found to increase the hemoglobin content of red blood cells. Since many elderly people suffer from anemia, adding spirulina to your diet is a great way to help ward off this potentially serious blood condition.
The Multiple Benefits of Spirulina
Whether you simply take a spirulina pill every morning or enjoy adding a bright bluish-green hue to your food with spirulina powder, the health and nutritional benefits of spirulina are too great to ignore. Finding ways to add this super food to your daily diet will add greatly increase your overall health.