Spirulina is a biomass of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), which is one of the most primitive and earliest forms of life on earth, and can be consumed by humans and other animals. There are two species – Arthrospira plantensis and Athrospira maxima. Arthrospira is also cultivated world-wide for consumption as a dietary supplement as well as a whole food. It is very specific in its makeup and in its final form, it is loaded with protein. It is similar to other sea vegetables like chlorella or kelp in its nutritional profile.
The history of spirulina dates back to the fourteenth century with Aztecs. Other groups living in Africa or surrounding regions also found that these specific algae served them well in their diet. With time, it became one of the main staples in their diet. But it wasn’t until 1974 that spirulina was actually declared one of the best foods for the future. This declaration came at the hands of the World Food Conference, and at time, it was specifically a food considered in helping to fight malnutrition. Eventually, spirulina became a main fixture within the diet plans that NASA would use for their astronauts in space.
Spirulina’s deep green-blue color comes due to the presence of a specific pigment called Phycocyanin. This pigment helps fight free radicals that enter into the body.
Spirulina is super rich in protein, almost 50-70% by weight, containing all the essential amino acids. It is one of the best sources for iodine. It has the same amounts of phosphorous, magnesium and calcium as milk. It is also a good source of Vitamin K, Potassium, Pantothenic Acid, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Copper, Iron, Manganese, and an excellent source of Vitamin B12, Cyanocobalamin. There are studies which claim that it is antidote for Arsenic Poisoning as well. It can remove toxins from the blood and improve bowel and liver function.
Spirulina helps fight allergies, regulate blood pressure, manage cholesterol, fight cancer, boost immunity, improve memory and protect the brain.Spirulina, being rich in antioxidants, stops the body from suffering from oxidative damage. It has good anti-inflammatory properties too. Spirulina is known to lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and raise the HDL cholesterol. It is very effective against anemia too. It improves muscle strength and endurance, helps regulate sugar levels, helps fight liver diseases, and it also helps with weight loss. It helps fight PMS symptoms, eliminates candida, manage HIV/AIDS and keeping skin healthy.
It is a superfood. It is smelly, and doesn’t taste that good. But for all these benefits, it is worth the pain.