Spirulina is an alga, more precisely a microalga, consumed for centuries for its healing properties, but also for its special nutritional qualities.
Spirulina is a superfood derived from blue-green algae, which grow naturally in salt lakes in the subtropical climate, but also in the ocean. It is attributed properties such as accelerating metabolism, lowering cholesterol , weight loss, but also treating mental disorders such as anxiety, depression or attention deficit.
Nutritional values 7 g of spirulina
- Calories: 20 kcal
- Protein: 4 g
- Vitamin B1: 11% of the recommended daily dose
- Vitamin B2: 15% of the recommended daily dose
- Vitamin B3: 4% of the recommended daily dose
- Copper: 21% of the recommended daily dose
- Iron: 11% of the recommended daily dose
* Spirulina also contains magnesium, potassium and manganese, as well as other important nutrients for the body.
Scientists have done a number of studies in recent years to find out what properties spirulina actually has. Following these studies, the following benefits of this superfood have been confirmed:
Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties – Being a rich source of antioxidants , spirulina protects the body from oxidative stress in DNA, but also in cells. Oxidative stress causes chronic inflammation, which contributes to diseases, including cancer. Therefore, consuming spirulina has a strong anti-inflammatory effect.
Decreases blood triglyceride levels as well as “bad” cholesterol (LDL) – In a recent study, it was shown that 1 gram of spirulina per day can reduce blood triglyceride levels by 16.3% and cholesterol by 10 ,1%. Because triglycerides and cholesterol that exceed normal parameters can cause cardiovascular disease, spirulina protects our heart health.
Treats candidiasis – According to researchers, Candida albicans is normally found in the body, in the oral cavity, in the gastrointestinal tract, but also in the vagina, but when imbalances occur, bacteria multiply and candidiasis appears, a form of vaginitis. Spirulina is effective in treating candidiasis, having effective antimicrobial properties in this microscopic fungus.
Lowers blood pressure – Phycocyanin, the substance that gives the spirulina a blue hue, has antihypertensive properties, helping people with high blood pressure.
Energizes the body – Spirulina has an energizing effect on the body. According to the famous doctor from overseas, Dr. Oz, if we mix 1 teaspoon of spirulina with 350 g of lime, we will get an energy drink with which we can successfully replace coffee.
Accelerates weight loss – Protein-rich diets accelerate weight loss by “melting” fat deposits.
Allays the symptoms of allergic rhinitis – Allergic rhinitis is characterized by inflammation of the nasal passages and is triggered by factors such as pollen, animal hair or dust. In a study of 127 people with allergic rhinitis, it was found that 2 grams of spirulina a day relieves the symptoms of rhinitis, such as sneezing, nasal congestion and itching (itching) of the nose.
Other benefits of spirulina are: it increases endurance while playing sports, fights fatigue, balances blood sugar levels, helps detoxify the body and prevents anemia.
Supports mental health
A research paper from 2018 highlights the potential role that spirulina could play in treating (affective) mood disorders. The theory behind this idea is that spirulina is a source of tryptophan, an amino acid that supports the production of serotonin in the brain. In turn, serotonin plays an important role in mental health.
Patients diagnosed with certain mental health disorders or conditions, such as depression and anxiety, may have low serotonin levels, and taking tryptophan supplements to maintain optimal serotonin levels may play a role in sustaining mental health. good. However, more clinical trials are needed to determine exactly what role spirulina plays in mental health.
How to consume spirulina
Spirulina can be consumed both in the form of capsules (here’s one I like on Amazon) and in the form of powder. If you choose spirulina in powder form, here’s how you can consume it:
- Dissolve 1 teaspoon of spirulina powder in a glass of water.
- Dissolve a teaspoon of spirulina powder in the smoothie you drink in the morning.
- Use spirulina powder to prepare desserts, especially raw ones.
- Use spirulina powder in salads, along with spices such as chili or cumin.
- Use spirulina in purees and cream soups.
Are there any risks or contraindications associated with spirulina consumption?
An analysis from 2014 notes that spirulina is well tolerated by most people and that it is a substance considered safe for human consumption, so the substance does not cause significant side effects. However, it is a good idea to discuss with your doctor the possible interactions that may occur between spirulina and the medications you are currently taking before taking this type of supplement.
Blue green algae products that do not contain harmful substances that contaminate them (such as toxic metals, harmful bacteria or microcystins) are possible safe 3 for most people.
But if blue-green algae products are contaminated, they are most likely unsafe, especially when administered to children. Experts remind us that little ones are more sensitive than adults to contaminated blue-green algae products.
Some patients need to be extremely careful if they want to take blue-green algae products. Not enough information is known about the use of blue-green algae supplements in pregnant and lactating women.
In patients with autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and others), blue-green algae could cause the immune system to become even more active, and as a result, the symptoms of these conditions may worsen.