Spirulina is being added to more and more products lately. From supplements to smoothies, the beautiful blue-green food packs a punch of nutrition to anything it is added to.
Many claim that spirulina is a superfood that offers amazing health benefits. Whether it is sprinkled onto overnight oats or added to a super greens powder, it appears to be a welcomed addition to any recipe. But what exactly is spirulina? And why is it said to be so good for us?
What is spirulina?
Believe it or not, but spirulina is algae. Yes, when you are consuming spirulina, you are eating the blue-green algae that you may have seen floating on the top of the water. But what you may think of “pond scum” is actually one of the most nutritious-dense foods in the world.
Since spirulina is an autotroph and makes its own food, it is thought to be an environmentally-conscious food option because it does not require a lot of water or any land to be produced.
Is spirulina good for you?
Including a blue-green powder into your diet may not be what you are used to, but doing so could be one of the best decisions for your health.
Spirulina is one of the most nutritious components on the planet. No, we are not suggesting that you scoop up some algae off of your local lake, but we are suggesting that you explore the idea of incorporating it into your current healthy lifestyle for added health benefits.
In terms of basic nutrition, one tablespoon of spirulina provides four grams of plant-based protein – a perfect option for vegetarians and vegans.
Additionally, one tablespoon of spirulina contains over 10% of the RDA of vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), copper, and iron. For those following a vegan lifestyle, the iron feature of spirulina could be an appealing factor, as iron status has been shown to be lower in this particular population.
Along with the vitamins and minerals that spirulina contains, this beautiful algae offers many benefits that go beyond what you may see on the nutrition label:
Spirulina may reduce blood pressure
High blood pressure occurs when the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels is consistently too high. Nearly half of Americans have high blood pressure, and this puts them at risk for heart attack and stroke.
One study found that consistent spirulina consumption resulted in reduced blood pressure in certain populations.
In combination with other interventions like eating a low salt diet and managing stress, including spirulina into one’s lifestyle could help keep blood pressure at a healthy level.
Spirulina may improve metabolism
Boosting one’s metabolism is a goal that many people share when they want to manage their weight. While there are many “metabolism-boosting” solutions on the market, few have data to support their use.
In one study, subjects who consumed six grams of spirulina daily experienced beneficial metabolic effects, as well as weight loss and better health-related quality of life. Granted, this was a small-scale study and the subjects were managing a specific liver disease, but it is promising data for future exploration.
Spirulina may support weight loss goals
In another study, researchers evaluated overweight subjects who consumed spirulina for 3 months. After the end of the study, the body mass index of the participants appeared to improve. Body mass index is a calculation that health professionals use to measure people’s body fat based on height and weight.
Spirulina is a good source of antioxidants
Oxidative stress can occur in the body from factors like eating fried foods, being exposed to environmental pollutants, or smoking cigarettes. Over time, this stress can cause damage to tissues and is linked to developing certain cancers.
Spirulina is a natural source of antioxidants, which can protect against oxidative damage.
Its primary antioxidant factor is called phycocyanin, which gives spirulina its beautiful blue-green hue. The phycocyanin has been shown to combat free radicals that may cause oxidative damage.
Spirulina may improve endurance
Spirulina is sometimes accompanied by claims of performance-enhancing effects, and according to some data, this may be true!
In a published clinical trial, moderately trained males received either spirulina or placebo for 4 weeks. Exercise performance and respiratory quotient during a two-hour run were measured after both placebo and spirulina supplementation.
Time to fatigue after the two-hour run was significantly longer after spirulina supplementation. Ingestion of spirulina significantly decreased carbohydrate oxidation rate by 10.3% and increased fat oxidation rate by 10.9% compared with the placebo trial.
How to include spirulina in your diet
As spirulina is gaining popularity, finding this alga in supplement form is relatively simple to do. One can take spirulina via a capsule, as a powder, or as an ingredient in products like our super greens powder.
Used in a smoothie, sprinkled onto some oats, or simply taken on its own as a supplement, getting spirulina into your body is convenient and easy.
Spirulina is a blue-green alga that is naturally rich in nutrients like plant-based protein, iron, and antioxidants. Incorporating it into your diet can provide you with some health benefits in a simple and convenient way.
Regardless of whether you are taking it by including Naked Greens into your daily diet or simply taking a spirulina supplement, including this alga into your lifestyle can help you on your personal path to health and wellness.