Spirulina might not look terribly appetizing. It is after all, a blue-green algae, and looks like it belongs in a damp, dark corner of an abandoned house. However, do not be deceived. This amazing algae contains protein, vitamins, minerals, carotenoids and antioxidants that can help protect cells from damage. It contains nutrients, including B complex vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium, and gamma linolenic acid (an essential fatty acid) that are great for the body.
Here are 5 reasons why you should add Spirulina to your diet :
1. Packed With Protein
A good source of protein – half a cup of Spirulina gives 32 grams of protein. Though that’s only half as much protein as soy, it is still three times that of Chia seeds, and over four times as much protein as buckwheat or quinoa. Spirulina contains all of the 21 amino acids so it’s a complete protein source.
2. Immune Support
It has been shown to increases production of antibodies, infection-fighting proteins, and other cells that improve immunity and help ward off infection and chronic illnesses such as cancer in animals. However, it has not been tested in people.
3. Loaded with Nutrients
Spirulina is the richest natural source of carotenoids – the antioxidant organic compounds found in many colorful root veggies like carrots and sweet potatoes, in dark leafy greens like kale and mustard greens, as well as in many brightly-colored fruits like tomatoes, apricots, and cantaloupe. Spirulina also provides a healthy dose of vitamin E, B complex vitamins, and several beneficial minerals including zinc, copper, iron, and selenium.
4. Allergic Reactions
Animal and test tube studies suggest that spirulina may protect against allergic reactions by stopping the release of histamines, substances that contribute to allergy symptoms, such as a runny nose, watery eyes, hives, and soft-tissue swelling. But whether these preliminary studies will help people with allergies is not known
5. Antibiotic-related Illnesses
Although antibiotics destroy unwanted organisms in the body, they may also kill “good” bacteria called probiotics, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus. This can cause diarrhea. In test tubes, spirulina has boosted the growth of L. acidophilus and other probiotics.
Blue-green algae are used as a source of dietary protein, B-vitamins, and iron. They are also used for weight loss, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), hayfever, diabetes, stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and other women’s health issues. Some people use blue-green algae for treating precancerous growths inside the mouth, boosting the immune system, improving memory, increasing energy and metabolism, lowering cholesterol, preventing heart disease, healing wounds, and improving digestion and bowel health.