Spirulina - The "Superfood"
With the usual three square meals a day, plus the snacks that sometimes go in between, our bodily system is revved up for a whole day of hard work – either in the house, in the office, or at school. The same intake becomes our first line of defense against lifestyle stress, pollution, radiation, or toxic chemicals.
In today's pie graph of food choices, processed foods take a big chunk. Often the "no-choice" option of the busy people, these processed foods only fill the tummy but are nutritionally empty. Bring in the hard work again and you have a system that is left vulnerable to poor health and low energy. That's bad news.
On the good side of the news: We can protect our bodies with a plant that, no matter how small, stores powerful, concentrated nutrients. How powerful? This tiny plant has loads of these essential nutrients:
1. Beta carotene - ten times more than that of carrots.
2. Protein - safe, vegetable protein (It's a plant, remember?); fat and cholesterol - free unlike meat.
3. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) - a good source of GLA for breastfeeding mothers for developing healthy babies.
4. Iron - builds a stronger immune system with natural iron that’s easier to absorb than iron supplements.
This burst of nutrients is easy-to-digest and is absorbed quickly.
With these credentials, this plant, not surprisingly, was named superfood in the 1990s. This recognition came after soooooooo many years - 3.5 billion years, in fact. Why, that's how long this plant has evolved! And that span of evolution made it nature's longest living food.
Needless to say, spirulina's billion-year existence is proof that this toughie survived even the worst environmental conditions that left other animal and plant species, well, extinct. And this amazing alga's resilience, seemingly, has a noble purpose - to answer for health dilemmas of the modern people.
Spirulina and Anemia
Iron deficiency, the most common nutrient deficiency worldwide, results in condition known as Iron Anemia, prevalent among women, children, older people, or women on weight loss diets. While iron builds healthy red blood cells and strong immune system, over the counter iron supplements are most commonly not well absorbed by the human body.
But spirulina's iron content was proven effective in a 30-day study involving eight young women with hypochronic anemia (blood hemoglobin content is lower than normal). With four grams of spirulina after each meal, the subjects blood hemoglobin content increased by 21% - from 10.9 to 13.2 - a satisfactory level not anymore considered anemic.
Spirulina and Cholesterol
High cholesterol levels, which we get from the food we eat, lead to high risks of strokes and heart attacks. Dietary improvements thus, are common slogans of campaigns promoting fat-reducing practices in meal preparation.
In Japan, thirty male employees diagnosed with high cholesterol, mild hypertension, and hyperlipidemia (abnormally high concentration of fats in the blood) were subjects of a study. These subjects were asked not to change their diet, except adding spirulina. After four weeks, total serum cholesterol dropped from 244 to 233 (4.5%).
Spirulina and Cancer
Several health books agree that foods and herbs that contain high levels of chlorophyll, a pigment that spirulina is rich in, show pharmacological evidence of cancer prevention. An explanation made by "One Earth Herbal Sourcebook" author Allan Keith Tillotston suggests that pigments in such foods "bind and thus stimulate excretion of cancer-causing chemicals." When this happens, naturally occurring cancer cells (yes, they are just there) will be stopped from developing into symptomatic cancer.
For example, laboratory animals used in an Oregon State University were exposed to cancer-causing substance. Results of the study had it that those that were given chlorophyll supplement before the exposure developed far fewer tumors than those that were not given the supplement.
Having read all of these good things about spirulina, we now know that there is more to the enticing blue-green facade of this amazing alga.The favorable nutritional profile of this nature's gift is an inviting entrance to a healthier you.