Spirulina is an edible, bioregenerative form of photosynthetic algae that in addition to having good nutritional properties, it can offer different health benefits. These benefits include lower cholesterol and balance blood sugar.
It is a cyanobacterium, an organism that grows in both fresh and salt water. Spirulina was consumed by the ancient Aztecs. Its consumption became popular at the present time when the NASA proposed that it could be grown in space for astronauts to use.
High level of protein and source of iron
The quality of the protein in spirulina is excellent and it is also a source of iron.
The Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) shares that spirulina it has a high level of protein (60 percent of dry weight) and all the essential amino acids.
One tablespoon (7 grams) of dried spirulina powder contains:
Protein: 4 grams
Vitamin B1 (thiamine): 11% of the RDA
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 15% of the recommended daily dose
Vitamin B3 (niacin): 4% of the RDA
Copper: 21% of the RDA
Iron: 11% of the RDA
Spirulina also contains a small amount of unsaturated fat that includes omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
Spirulina and its health benefits
The main active component of spirulina is phycocyanin, which has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
The UNAM points out that spirulina is auxiliary in the treatment of lipid disorders in diabetics, for the improvement of the immune system in patients with oral cancer, and also has an antihypertensive effect, so it is beneficial for those with high blood pressure.
Reduction of cholesterol levels
Consuming spirulina can lower total cholesterol, LDL “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides, while increasing HDL “good” cholesterol.
Reduction of blood sugar levels
Spirulina can lower fasting blood sugar levels. A study published in 2001 in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that the 25 participants with type 2 diabetes who consumed 2 grams of spirulina per day had a significant reduction in blood sugar levels.
You can sprinkle spirulina powder on vegetables, salads and soups or add to your smoothies; it is also available in tablets.
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