Nutrition

Spirulina: The Miracle Food? | What is it? Benefits? Side Effects?

Spirulina is a naturally occurring algae, which has been on the earth for around 3.5 billion years. It has a green-blueish colour, and can be bought as supplement in either power or tablet form to provide outstanding health benefits.

From its staggeringly high protein content to the wealth of micronutrients it contains, spirulina is known to be one of the best superfoods out there.

What Are The Health Benefits?

spirulina

High protein content

Spirulina is made up of 65% protein. This is an extremely amount of protein high for a plant, and one of the reasons it is becoming more and more popular as a supplement. It also contains sources of all nine essential amino acids. It’s an easy, healthy way to boost your protein intake, and a great source of protein for vegetarians. Furthermore, this protein is highly absorbable.

Contains essential fatty acids

Spirulina is especially high in omega 3 fatty acids, and also has a significant amount of omega 6s and omega 9s.

High in chlorophyll

This helps to flush out toxins from the blood. It also helps to boost your immune system.

Source of iron

Spirulina is a fantastic source of iron, meaning it is excellent for women during pregnancy. 100g of spirulina contains 158% of your daily iron requirements.

High in betacarotenoids

Beta carotenoids (antioxidants) help your immune system and help clear your skin.

High in Calcium

Spirulina is also very high in calcium, which means it is excellent for growing children to help their bones and teeth develop. It contains over 26 times the calcium in milk.

✔ Source of many micronutrients

It is also a great source of many other micronutrients, such as vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin D and vitamin A. It is also a source of potassium, chromium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, selenium and zinc.

Possible Side Effects

Though Spirulina is a safe and healthy source of protein and micronutrients, your body could react to it depending on your current state of health.

Slight Fever

Since your metabolism will be boosted after taking spirulina, there is a potential that you may experience symptoms of slight fever as your body temperature increases slightly.

Green Coloured Wastespirulina-powder

Spirulina could turn your waste a slight green colour due to the chlorophyll concentration.

Breakouts or Irritated Skin

These are only temporary. In the long run, taking a spirulina supplement may help to clear the skin.

Sleepiness or Fatigue

This is only temporary and is likely to pass quickly.

It is important to remember that with anything, your body needs to adjust. These symptoms will surpass fairly quickly, but if they do not, it is advised that you stop taking the product. If you wish to continue, it is advised to consult your doctor.

Experiment with small doses at first to ensure your body gets accustomed to the change. You can then gradually increase the dosage with time.

Should I take it?

Spirulina is suitable for anyone.

It is most popular among those who want to boost their daily protein intake as it is very high in bioavailable protein. It is also very popular amongst vegetarians and vegans.

It is also popular among those who are deficient in particular micronutrients, as spirulina is a great source of nutrients.

It is most popular in powdered form and can be mixed into water, smoothies, soups and dishes such as stir-fries. It can also be purchased in capsule (tablet) form.

Those who suffer from PKU should consult a doctor before taking spirulina due to its amino acid content. If you have a pre-existing medical condition and are unsure whether you should take it, consult your doctor.

Take Home Message

Spirulina is a fantastic superfood, rich in protein and micronutrients. Mix it into food or drink for best results.



Jenny Watt

Jenny Watt

Writer and expert

Qualified Nutritionist and Personal trainer.


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