Supplements

The Benefits Of Spirulina | What Is It?

Written by Sarah Curran


What Is Spirulina?


First discovered in 1827 in a freshwater stream, spirulina grows in many environments such as soil, sand, marshes and even salt springs.

 

Spirulina has been found in many places worldwide such as Lake Chad in Africa and also in the Rift Valley of East Africa. The algae, found on top of the water in lakes or ponds in the area was hardened then sold at local markets where it was then served with millet by the native families.  It was also found in Mexico where literature suggests it had been used as a food source during the Spanish conquest. Spirulina is great when used in recipes and added to smoothies.


Spirulina powder


What Are The Benefits?


Cholesterol Lowering Abilities

 

Research as far back as 1988 has shown that spirulina has potential cholesterol-lowering abilities. In one study, a statistically significant reduction was shown in LDL cholesterol when 15 participants took 2 grams of spirulina, 4 times daily. HDL cholesterol was not affected and there was also a decrease in the measure of fat deposition in the arteries. A more modern study in 2008 also showed a similar result.


Contains Amino Acids

 

Spirulina is also a great source of amino acids and contains both essential and non-essential amino acids. Amino acids are an important part of everyone’s diet as they are the building blocks of protein.


Contains Vitamins And Minerals

 

Spirulina is a great source of b vitamins, iron, beta carotene, chlorophyll and gamma-linoleic acid alongside trace minerals.


apple and spinach smoothie


Spirulina Smoothie

 

5g Spirulina

1 Banana (100g)

80g Frozen Berries

250g Fat-Free Yoghurt

1 Scoop Strawberry Impact Whey

Ice Cubes

 

Blend all the ingredients together until there are no lumps left and all the ingredients are fully combined.

Serve with ice cubes and enjoy!


Hemp protein bar


Spirulina Power Bars

 

Serves 8

300g Dates

285g Cashew Nuts

65g Almonds

70g Cacao Powder

Pinch Of Salt

40g Dried Cranberries

20 ml Vanilla FlavDrops

20/30 ml Cold Water

20g Spirulina Powder

Pinch Of Salt

 

Mix together the dates, nuts and cacao powder in a food processor with the pinch of salt. Pulse the ingredients together until the mixture becomes coarse and combined. Add the cranberries before pulsing the mixture for a few seconds, and then add the vanilla extract. Add the water gradually in between pulses so that the mixture forms a dough-like texture.

 

Remove this mixture from the food processor, and then press it into a pan that has been lined with greaseproof paper. Leave a little extra paper around the edges to make removal easier. Chill in the fridge for about an hour then cut into 8 portions. Enjoy!


breakfast-balls-1


Spirulina Energy Balls

 

100g Walnuts

80g Dates

5 g Ground Flaxseed

10g Honey

50g Desiccated Coconut

20g Peanut Butter

 

Place the walnuts in a food processor and pulse them together so that they form a crumb-like consistency. Add in the dates, peanut butter, flaxseed and honey then pulse again to combine all the ingredients together.

 

Form little balls with the mixture and roll them in the coconut so that they are roughly covered. Place in the fridge to firm up for half an hour before serving.


Spirulina Salad Dressing

 

10g Olive Oil

5g Spirulina

Juice From Half A Lemon

Garlic Powder

Pinch Of Pepper

 

Mix together all the ingredients and drizzle over a salad. You can also add chilli powder to this dressing to give it an extra kick.

 

Spirulina is a great supplement to add to your diet due to its fantastic nutritional profile. It has been used for years in many cultures where it has been considered a superfood due to its high vitamin and mineral content. Try some of these simple recipes and experience the health boost spirulina can provide for yourself!


References

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Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye has a MSc in Sport Physiology and Nutrition, and puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding. She enjoys a pun, and in her spare time loves dog walking and eating out.


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