Loaded with nutrition, anti-oxidants, and protein relative to the serving size, spirulina is touted as one of the most healthy things you could eat regularly. You may have heard of this superfood powder or seen it at your local health-food store, but what is it, actually?
Perhaps surprisingly, this little wonder of nature is a cyanobacterium, a single-celled organism that can create energy through photosynthesis like a plant. This makes them full of the health-protectant phytonutrients that plants create while being protein-dense and calorie-light. Gram-for-gram, it is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet.
How to take spirulina, and what’s the best way to work it into your diet? We’re going to examine the 6 most powerful spirulina benefits, how to use it, and why you should start making it a part of your daily routine.
1. Anti-inflammatory Benefits
Certain foods can create a high amount of free radicals in your body, which are highly oxygenated molecules that damage your cells. This is why anti-oxidant foods are important as they address the oxidative stress you have from bad sleep, poor dietary choices, or lack of exercise.
It’s full of antioxidants, but the most powerful is phycocyanin. This antioxidant helps to minimise free radicals but also aids the inflammatory process. Inflammation in general, if you’re not aware, can contribute to chronic diseases by damaging cells.
Cardiac cells that are constantly inflamed accept plaque deposits more easily, which can lead to atherosclerosis and cumulative damage over time to cells. The easiest way to prevent both of these things is to reduce and eliminate as much inflammation as possible.
When considering how to take spirulina for maximum benefit (and efficiency), choose a well-formulated powder. This will give you the freedom to mix it into foods like protein shakes or smoothies. You can also in many cases buy it in capsule form.
2. It can be beneficial for heart health
Not only can its antioxidants cut down on inflammation, thereby protecting your heart, but it has other mechanisms by which it is great for your cardiac health. In small doses – a gram per day – some studies indicate it can lower LDL (bad cholesterol) by as much as 15%.
It also seems that regular doses of 5 or more grams lower A1C, the primary marker for type 2 diabetes. When diabetes is unchecked, it can impact your heart, veins, and arteries. Lowering your A1C by reducing your carb intake and exercising is the first step you should take, but adding in heart-healthy supplements is another powerful advantage for your health.
3. Can benefit cholesterol levels
LDL cholesterol, or low density lipid particles, are the dangerous forms of cholesterol that are claimed to build up in your arteries. These particles can be dangerous on their own, but if they are oxidated, they become even more unstable.
Unstable LDL can lead to unsteady plaques in your cardiovascular system, which are more prone to cause issues. Benefits increase in doses around 8g per day has been shown to reduce the oxidation of LDL lipids (along with everything else), which is an unexpected but completely welcome benefit.
4. It may help fight chronic disease
Because of the damage of free radicals over time, cells have a higher change to mutate. These mutations can change how the cells divide over time, leading to a higher chance of health issues.
The damage done to cells is largely a result of oxidative stress from free radicals. This little bacterium’s antioxidant effect – particularly through the phytochemical-rich phycocynanin – can counteract this damage.
While you can get high amounts of antioxidants in foots like blueberries, broccoli and kale, spirulina is one of the best sources in nature, gram-for-gram.
5. Can assist with blood pressure
For many people, simple dietary changes can have a profound impact on their blood pressure. Nutrition can be a useful strategy, and adding 5g daily has been shown to assist in the regulation of the blood pressure of people with elevated pressure levels.
While scientists aren’t certain the cause, it is likely due to the fact that it increases the amount of nitric oxide in the blood. This chemical causes your vessels to relax, making blood flow easier and reducing blood pressure.
6. Potentially aids in weight management
Because this cyanobacterium is a nutrition dense food with little in the way of calories, it’s a great addition to a healthy lifestyle. There does appear to be some effects on weight management for people who take it in doses greater than 10g per day. The positive effect on weight loss, however, might go beyond the actual, physical advantage of the supplement.
For people who want to make a change in their lifestyle and who want to lose weight, often adding something in that is perceived as healthy is a great start. For example, if you wanted to lose weight and you started exercising, you’re less likely to make poor food choices, as it undermines the effort you’re putting in.
Consider the powerful psychological effect of committing to a healthier you, and how it fits into that viewpoint.
Consider adding this supplement to your diet
This little cyanobacterium has been eaten for thousands of years, and though the ancients didn’t know the full scope of it’s antioxidant power then, they knew it was nutritionally dense. Now we have the benefit of scientific research to tell us what they already know – people who add it to their diets reap healthful benefits from it.
Taken in doses of 5g or more per day, supplements can help you add more nutrition into your day.
Consider adding it to your diet for a month and you will likely begin to see and feel the benefits this tiny little cyanobacterium can provide. Spirulina benefits nearly every system in your body, and it’s well worth the investment.