Spirulina is currently used by many countries as a nutritional supplement. However, not many people are aware of its history and benefits. Many ask the question: What is Spirulina? Today, I reveal to you what Spirulina is and why it is popular in the world of nutrition.
Spirulina is blue – green algae that have been consumed for centuries by both people and animals. It was a popular food source for the Aztecs and Mesoamericans in general until the 16th century. In Africa, the spiral shaped algae was a common diet many communities especially those who lived near alkaline water sources. The water plant was first discovered in South America and Africa. After scientific research on Spiraling revealed amazing nutritional benefits accruing from it, the first large scale production plant was established in 1970. Since then, Spirulina has been manufactured and used as a dietary supplement.
Today, many companies are venturing into the cultivation of the magnificent algae. The algae grow well in pure, alkaline waters, strong sunshine and tropical weather. The heat and direct sunlight initiates a chemical reaction in its cells hence producing the nutrients. Most of the Spirulina consumed in America today are produced in laboratories though. Although in the past Spirulina was eaten as cake after drying, today the algae has been processed into flakes, powder and tablets; this has helped in the preservation of the Spirulina. Scientists have named it the world’s most complete food source.
What is Spirulina then, in terms of the nutritional value? Studies have revealed that Spirulina is actually 100% nutrients. It is 62% protein. The protein from the algae is superior to both plant and animal proteins. It contains all the essential amino acids and unlike animal protein, the Spirulina protein is easy to digest and water soluble hence not stored in the body as fat but rather excreted in case of an excess. Spirulina also contains other nutrients, mostly Vitamins C, D, A, E, B1, B2, B3, B6 and B9 as well as potassium, zinc, calcium, magnesium, sodium, chromium, selenium, phosphorus, gamma-linolien, beta-carotene and manganese. Spirulina has been named as the world’s most complete food source by many scientists. Research has revealed that the nutrients from Spirulina have the following benefits to the human body:
Boost Immune system- increases production of antibodies
Provide protection against allergies- hinders the production of histamines
Prevent body infections- has anti-vital and anti-cancer properties
Protect body cells- beta-carotene effect
Reduce body cholesterol- gamma-linolein effect
Even the National Aeronautical and Space Agency (NASA) have acknowledged these benefits and have used Spirulina as food for the astronauts, and are planning to start cultivating the plant in space stations. Spirulina is 100% natural hence 100% safe to use.