Spirulina: King of the Sea
Aquaman may be the King of Atlantis, but this blue-green algae’s jurisdiction stretches all the way to Hawaii and back. If you thought you had better places to go to for intense nutritional content than the bottom of the ocean, think again. Spirulina is one of the most protein dense foods on the earth. And that’s just the beginning.
1. Packed with Nutrition
One of the most impressive things about Spirulina is it’s pure nutritional content. First off, protein.
Protein: Spirulina is made of 65% protein, contains 3x more protein than beef, and has 4 grams in just 1 tablespoon.
That’s right. Do you think Aquaman got superhero-shredded eating cow’s milk and beef? Not in the ocean, my friend. Those abs come from chowing down on some serious blue-green algae.
Spirulina also contains:
Antioxidants: Spirulina boasts 4x the antioxidants of blueberries, which are known for being one of the best natural sources of antioxidants on the planet!
Vitamin B: Primarily vitamin B1 (thamine), which is an essential part of digesting fats and protein. Spirulina, however also contains B-2 (riboflavin), B-3(nicotinamide), B-6 (pyridoxine), B-9 (folic acid), vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin A and vitamin E.
Iron: In just one tablespoon Spirulina contains 11% of the daily value of iron. It is a great choice for plant-based iron and contains iron in an easily digestible form.
Calcium: Spirulina contains 8.4mg of calcium in 1 tbsp. That’s 26x the calcium in milk!
2. Give Me Those Essential Fatty Acids
One of the reasons I’ll personally consume Spirulina is because it contains the essential fatty acid, gamma linolenic acid (GLA) which is known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties.
From WebMD: “[GLA] is an omega-6 fatty acid, which the body can convert to substances that reduce inflammation and cell growth. It’s used for conditions that affect the skin, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, ADHD, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, and hay fever (allergic rhinitis).”
Spirulina also contains Omega-3 and Omega-9 essential fatty acids, but is the highest in Omega-3s. (That’s good! You want Omega-3 levels to be higher in the body.)
Ok, now lets get on to the good stuff.
3. Be Gone, Candida
To quote Hippocrates, “All disease begins in the gut.” Much research that’s been done today proves good ole Hippo-crates (heheh) was on to something. Things like leaky gut (intestinal permeability) and many, if not all, autoimmune disorders are connected to having a healthy balance of microflora in the gut.
As many people know first-hand, candida wreaks havoc on the the gut’s healthy microbiome and leads to many other health problems.
How can Spirulina help?
Spirulina is an anti-microbial agent which is especially effective at eliminating Candida. It also promotes healthy gut flora and strengthens the immune system, both naturally kicking Candida where it hurts. Right in the yeast.
4. Heavy Metal Detoxification
With the growing wide-spread amount of toxins in today’s modern world, heavy metal toxicity is becoming an epidemic. It’s a very serious issue that contributes to health challenges all over the word. While spirulina can be used as part of a greater detoxification plan for all kinds of toxins and heavy metals, it is an especially effective detoxifier of arsenic.
One report states about arsenic poisoning: “Millions of people in Bangladesh, India, Taiwan and Chile are consuming high concentration of arsenic through drinking water, and thousands of them have already developed chronic arsenic poisoning.”
Spirulina gets results. In one study, 24 arsenic poisoned patients were given spirulina (250mg) and zinc (2mg) twice a day. What was the outcome? There was a reported decrease of arsenic load in the body by 47%!
5. Allergy Relief
First off, I should ask, right now do you have a runny nose? Mine’s a bit stuffy at the moment, after all, this cold Thailand December air will get to you. (Or maybe it’s just that my AC is cranked to 25c. Who really knows?) The point is, if right now your sinuses are clear, go ahead and breathe in and out a few times. No, really, do it. Doesn’t that feel good? We tend to only think about our nose those times when it’s an inflamed runny mess, it’s easy to take it for granted when are sinuses are truly blissfully clear.
And if you’re eating spirulina (bee pollen, too!) regularly, that feeling just might become all the more familiar to you. Spirulina has been shown to reduce the inflammation of the sinuses, resulting in less symptoms of allergic rhinitissuch as; a runny nose, nasal congestion, watery eyes, hives, and swelling.
6. A Whole Lot More
1. Spirulina isn’t recommended for pregnant or nursing mothers, as well as those with PKU. As always talk to your spouse, your mother, your local healthcare practitioner, or whoever else, before making changes to your diet.
2. Ok, I don’t know if you’ve ever had spirulina before, but the taste is not amazing. But I mean, you’re going to have to push through if you’re going to make it up here to the top of the food-chain with Aquaman, myself, snails, and any other forward-thinking algae-eating beings.
Tips to help with the taste: Don’t drink it plain with water, that’s for sure. I’ll throw it into a smoothie which works well enough for me. But if you’re feeling creative, check out some of these recommendations from Food Director Carla Lalli of bonappetit.com