What is Spirulina?: Key Health Benefits of This Nutrient-Packed Superfood
When it comes to superfoods, you can’t go past Spirulina. This blue-green algae (yes - it doesn’t sound the most appealing thing to consume but stick with us!) is a nutritional powerhouse that is packed with an array of potential health benefits. A key ingredient in Greens+Aloe, we’re regularly asked about why we choose specific supplements to include in our products. Well this is one supplement that will take a greens powder and turn into a supergreens powder. So let’s take a look at what Spirulina is, its nutritional composition, and the myriad of health benefits it offers.
What Is Spirulina?
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that you'll find floating around in both fresh and saltwater bodies around the world. It belongs to a group of organisms known as cyanobacteria, which are capable of photosynthesis. Though you might not consider algae the most appetising of foods, spirulina is a nutritional titan that's been used for centuries. It was a dietary staple for the Aztecs and other Mesoamericans until the 16th century.
Older goodMix customers will remember that we used to call our Greens powder ‘Pondwater’. Now you know why!
Today, it’s cultivated worldwide and is available in various forms, most commonly as a powder. Its popularity has soared as a dietary supplement, especially among those seeking a plant-based source of nutrients.
How impressive is it? Well, even NASA thought it might be a good idea to pack spirulina for astronauts embarking on lengthy space voyages! So, let’s take a look at what makes this algae so effective.
The Nutritional Composition of Spirulina
Breaking down the nutritional composition of spirulina, you’ll get a better idea of why we couldn’t leave it out of Greens+Aloe. It's like a health-boosting cocktail in a tiny, unassuming package. Spirulina is renowned for its impressive nutritional profile. It's packed with a variety of nutrients and offers a high protein content, especially when compared to its plant-based counterparts. It is a rich source of complete proteins, essential fatty acids (EFAs), vitamins, minerals and various bioactive compounds like carotenoids, chlorophyll, and xanthophylls.
Here's a breakdown of its key nutritional components and spirulina benefits:
1. Protein: Spirulina is about 60-70% protein by weight and contains all essential amino acids, making it an excellent source of complete protein, especially for vegetarians and vegans.
2. Vitamins and Minerals: It is rich in B vitamins and also contains iron, magnesium, potassium, and manganese.
3. Antioxidants: Spirulina contains powerful antioxidants, including phycocyanin, which gives spirulina its unique blue-green colour and can help protect cells from damage.
4. Omega Fatty Acids: It is a source of essential fatty acids, including gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
5. Chlorophyll: As a green superfood, spirulina is high in chlorophyll, which can help with detoxification processes in the body.
So, whether you're a gym enthusiast looking for that protein boost, or just trying to lead a healthier lifestyle, you can't ignore the benefits of this potent algae.
Health Benefits of Spirulina
The nutritional composition of Spirulina translates into a wide array of health benefits. Here are some of the most notable:
1. Boosts Immune System:
First off, it offers amazing support for your immune system giving it a boost and helping reduce inflammation, all thanks to its strong antioxidant profile.
2. Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Properties:
The main element of spirulina is called phycocyanin, which is an antioxidant that also gives it its unique blue colour. This can help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
3. Supports Heart Health:
If you have high blood pressure or cholesterol, research suggests that spirulina may help lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. According to a 2018 study in the journal Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy, spirulina supplements improved the key blood lipid profiles and could contribute to better heart health.
4. Aids in Digestion and Detoxification:
With a high chlorophyll content and being rich in magnesium, this fabulous superfood can also help keep your bowel moving and with natural detoxification processes in the body. But it's not just about keeping things moving. Spirulina also acts as a natural prebiotic, nurturing your gut’s friendly bacteria for a happier, less bloated tummy.
5. Helps in Weight Management:
Some studies have shown that it may also help with weight management including reducing:
- Body mass index,
- waist circumference,
- body fat,
- appetite and
- blood lipids.
There are a heap of different spirulina supplements and products on the market. We specifically developed Greens+Aloe as a way of incorporating the most powerful tried and tested greens into one simple powder. It contains just 5 simple but potent ingredients: organic dried spirulina, chlorella, barley grass, spelt grass and Aloe Vera, and can be added to smoothies, juices, protein shakes, lemon water or even sprinkled on salads and soups.
Spirulina is more than just a health trend; it's a nutrient-dense superfood with a range of health benefits that has been used historically by ancient tribes and is also backed by modern nutritional research. Whether you're looking to boost your energy and immune system, improve heart health, or just increase your overall nutrient intake, Greens+Aloe can ensure you get a regular, therapeutic dose of the most beneficial greens including spirulina, with the added benefits of Aloe Vera to aid in nutrient absorption through gut support.