When you recall your last visit to a fresh water lake, river or pond, what do you remember? The cool water surrounding your body, the sound of chatter from your friends and family, or the slimy algae you accidentally touched? You might have come in contact with Spirulina, a powerhouse superfood so highly regarded that NASA uses it to prepare astronaut meals, without even knowing it!
When you list the nutrients Spirulina contains and the medical benefits it is associated with, it’s easy to see why most people refer to this plant as a “superfood”. Containing approximately 60%
protein, Spirulina contains all essential amino acids making it a complete protein! This alga is rich in iron, vitamins A, E, and B, potassium, and even fatty acids such as DHA and GLA. It contains the same calcium, phosphorous and magnesium as milk, equal vitamins levels to wheat germ and four times as much vitamin B12 as raw liver. With its wide array of nutrients, many even suggest that humans could live off of solely Spirulina consumption and water!
Other than nutritional benefits, Spirulina is also prized for its association in relieving a lot of medical conditions. Spirulina is often promoted as a treatment for a range of metabolic and heart related issues, as well as weight loss, diabetes and high cholesterol. Spirulina can also aid in mental and emotional disorders like anxiety, stress, depression, and ADHD. Those looking for beauty benefits will be happy to know that Spirulina is considered an anti-aging antioxidant and a natural body detoxifier as it helps create a stronger digestive system by decreasing the growth of bad bacteria such as E. coli. From aiding with serious illnesses to helping you feel energized and fresh, Spirulina is a plant that fits into a broad range of uses.
Fun fact: NASA has done extensive research on the benefits and nutritional value of Spirulina, and in the 1970’s it was successfully used by the agency as a dietary supplement for astronauts on space missions. There are even talks of developing cultivation practices for Spirulina in space!
Of course, with all good things come complications. There is a copious amount of Spirulina supplements out there and some may have even been contaminated with toxic metals and harmful bacteria. So make sure to buy it from a reputable source.
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Mercola, Joseph. "Ignored Since the 1950s - Is Spirulina Now a 'Miracle' High-Protein Super Food?" Mercola.com. 1 June 2011. Web. 6 Jan. 2016.
Mercola, Joseph. "Spirulina: A Luxury Health Food and a Possible Panacea for Malnutrition." Mercola.com. 29 Sept. 2014. Web. 5 Jan. 2016.
Riley, Tess. "Spirulina: A Luxury Health Food and a Panacea for Malnutrition." The Guardian. 12 Sept. 2014. Web. 6 Jan. 2016.
Sears, Al. "Space-Age Food from NASA Astronauts." Dr. Al Sears, MD. 7 Aug. 2009. Web. 6 Jan. 2016.