Top 10 Health Benefits of Spirulina: Nutrition Facts, Risks and How to Add it to Your Diet

Spirulina is a blue-green algae and is believed to be one of the oldest forms of life on Earth. It is known to have been first used by the Aztecs. They used spirulina to treat various ailments, and legend has it that the kingdom’s messengers used the algae to fuel their marathon runs. Modern research supports many of the purported benefits of consuming spirulina and continues to study its potential for treating health problems. Spirulina is considered a superfood, a complete source of nutrients. Algae has a bitter taste, so people often mix it with yogurts, juices and smoothies to enhance its flavor.

In this article we tell you the top 10 health benefits of spirulina, from strengthening the immune system and supporting cardiovascular health, to detoxifying the body and improving mental health. Also, learn about the risks of consuming spirulina and how to add spirulina to your diet.

Spirulina Nutrition Facts

One tablespoon of spirulina contains:

  • calories: 20;
  • protein: 4 grams;
  • fat: 1 gram;
  • carbohydrates: 2 grams;
  • fiber: 0 grams;
  • sugar: 0 grams.

Spirulina is a good source of:

  • thiamine (vitamin B1);
  • riboflavin (vitamin B2);
  • niacin (vitamin B3);
  • copper;
  • iron;
  • magnesium (2).

Top 10 health benefits of spirulina

Spirulina is an algae associated with many health benefits due to its nutritional profile and powerful antioxidant properties. Spirulina is one of the most popular supplements in the world, mainly because it contains various nutrients and antioxidants with numerous benefits for the body and brain. However, it must be said that spirulina supplements are not magic pills. They can be beneficial to health only if they are associated with a healthy lifestyle. Here are the top 10 health benefits of spirulinabased on evidence (1):

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Supports heart health

Spirulina supplements can help lower bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Also, blue-green algae such as spirulina may be effective natural options for improving blood lipid profile, preventing inflammation and oxidative stress, and protecting against cardiovascular disease. Experts attribute the cardiovascular benefits of spirulina to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Supports intestinal health

Although limited, research on the impact of spirulina on gut health is promising. Spirulina has prebiotic properties, however more research is needed to reach conclusive results.

It helps in weight loss

Spirulina can help reduce body weight after a period of 3 months of consumption in addition to diet and exercise.

Lowering blood pressure

High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease or stroke. Spirulina can be considered a promising non-pharmacological approach for treating hypertension.

Supports muscle strength

When it comes to exercise, spirulina can help improve muscle strength, endurance, and performance.

It improves anemia

Anemia generally causes extreme fatigue. Spirulina has been shown to help improve it in some cases. Spirulina supplements may increase the hemoglobin content of red blood cells, and older women may especially benefit from this (2).

It may have benefits in preventing cancer

Spirulina has been tested for anti-cancer benefits. The active compound in spirulina is phycocyanin, which contains powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. More research is needed, from what is known so far spirulina could prevent certain types of cancer.

Control diabetes

Spirulina has been shown to have benefits in the prevention and management of diabetes. Spirulina supplementation significantly lowered blood glucose levels.

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Reduces allergies

Spirulina supplementation is also linked to protection against allergic reactions, as spirulina can help stop the release of histamines, which cause allergy symptoms.

It supports mental health

Spirulina can also support mental health, it might even play a role in treating mood disorders. Spirulina has been found to contain tryptophan, an amino acid that increases the amount of serotonin in the brain and can be a useful supplement in the prevention and control of disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety (3).

How to add spirulina to your diet

If you want to add spirulina to your diet, you must remember that you should not take more than 8 grams of spirulina per day, that is a little more than two teaspoons. Spirulina powder can be added to various foods. However, if the taste is not well tolerated, spirulina supplements are recommended, but before that you should talk to your doctor for recommendations regarding the dose and period of administration (4).

The risks of consuming spirulina

Although it has benefits, consuming spirulina can also pose risks. During the growth cycle of algae in marine environments, they can accumulate heavy metals, harmful bacteria or microcystins, which can be harmful to the liver. Spirulina also has anticoagulant (or blood-thinning) effects, which means that people with clotting disorders or taking blood-thinning medications should use it with caution and seek medical advice.

In addition, spirulina contains phenylalanine, an amino acid that is harmful to those with the genetic disorder phenylketonuria (PKU). People with autoimmune disorders may also experience adverse reactions to algae (3).

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In conclusion, spirulina offers numerous health benefits, including supporting the immune system, improving cardiovascular health, detoxifying the body, boosting mental health. It is essential to choose and consume quality spirulina to enjoy these benefits.

This article was created based on information taken from the following sources:

(1) Healthline“10 health benefits of spirulina”, accessed on 24.05.2023

(2) WebMD“Spirulina: Are there health benefits?”, accessed on 24.05.2023

(3) Forbes Health, “12 health benefits of spirulina, according to experts”, accessed on 24.05.2023

(4) Ckeveland Clinic„What is spirulina and why is it so good for you?”, accesat în data de 24.05.2023

2023-06-02 10:19:39
#Top #health #benefits #spirulina

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