Spirulina is a dark green powder commonly added to various foods and drinks. You might have noticed spirulina adding a vibrant green hue to your favorite Instagrammer’s smoothie bowls. Surprisingly, this popular product is not really a plant-based product. Basically, spirulina is a bacterium (cyanobacterium) often considered as an alga or sea vegetable. Despite being a microbe, this edible organism contains numerous beneficial compounds that are good for your body. So, what exactly are the health benefits of spirulina?
The Health Benefits of Spirulina
1. An Excellent Source of Various Nutrients
One of the main reasons spirulina became well-known is due to its high-quality protein. To be specific, a tablespoon of this green powder has about 4 grams of protein. As such, spirulina can provide amino acids needed by our bodies – without the high calories and cholesterol present in animal meat products. Thus, this type of algae will greatly benefit people who prefer a plant-based diet.
In addition, phycocyanin is another valuable compound found in spirulina. Aside from giving this microorganism its deep blue-green hue, phycocyanin is also a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. As such, this food can help stop free radicals and their effects like chronic inflammation and premature aging.
Lastly, spirulina is also among the best plant sources of iron, vitamin B, and omega-3 fatty acids.
2. A Natural Energy-Booster
One of the most popular health benefits of spirulina is its ability to boost your energy levels. As mentioned by Dr. Oz, the combination of lime and spirulina can unlock the sugar in our cells. Furthermore, when frozen, the icy temperature of the mixture can enhance your metabolic energy. All these effects eventually lead to a more invigorated body. The best part is that making this energy cube is simple. All you need to do is to freeze a mixture of spirulina (1 teaspoon) and lime juice (12 oz.) in an ice cube tray. Once frozen, you can add the cubes in water, smoothies, or fresh juices.
3. Aids in Weight Loss
As a protein-rich food, spirulina can also aid in your weight loss journey. Proteins are essential for building muscles, and pairing this macronutrient with complex carbohydrates may result in a slower sugar absorption, leading to a longer feeling of satiety and fewer food cravings.
However, keep in mind that to successfully shed your unwanted extra pounds, you need to follow an active lifestyle and healthy eating habits. Thus, taking spirulina alone will not bring forth optimum results, but it can help you reach your desired weight.
4. Prevents Yeast Overgrowth
As you know, various microorganisms reside in our bodies. Take yeast or Candida species for example. Normally, a small amount of this fungi is present in our skin, mouths, and intestines. However, candidiasis may occur once the number of this microbe grows uncontrollably, which may eventually lead to digestive problems and chronic fatigue.
An effective way to prevent yeast overgrowth is to increase the number of good bacteria in your body – one of the widely-known health benefits of spirulina. Aside from this prebiotic food, you can also consume probiotic foods such as natto, coconut kefir, and cultured vegetables.
5. May Help Patients with Diabetes
Spirulina may also help people with diabetes. As presented in one study, diabetic patients experienced a decrease in blood sugar levels after taking two grams of spirulina for two months. But, that’s not all. The study also revealed that the triglycerides and bad cholesterol levels of the participants have also declined. Thus, this nutritious powder may also help prevent some heart diseases.
A Few Reminders before Taking Spirulina
Although there are numerous health benefits of spirulina, keep in mind that this blue-green alga flourishes in salt or fresh water. As you know, these kinds of environments are prone to contamination. For this reason, you should only buy spirulina products from reputable sellers. As always, you need to consult your doctor before taking this nutritious powder. This is especially true if you are pregnant or have an existing medical condition.
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