I have often written about various superfoods, and although I believe the term ‘superfoods’ is a somewhat overused, there are several superfoods which I believe should be more highly rated.
Spirulina is one of those fantastic superfoods which was originally found in the natural alkaline lakes of South America and Africa, becoming a major part of the diet of many of these communities. This extremely nutritious micro saltwater plant contains a huge amount of vegetable protein – in fact more than 65% protein being 3 to 4 times higher than beef, pork or fish. At a time when most people don’t consume sufficient protein, including Spirulina in our diet may well be a fantastic way of increasing our protein intake without having to increase animal protein which unfortunately is often deposited in our bodies as fat.
Interestingly Spirulina has often been touted as a great weight loss aid. Because Spirulina is a highly nutrient rich food it may help to suppress our appetite giving a feeling of fullness especially when consumed an hour before eating a meal. It is also believed the high protein content helps balance blood sugar, avoiding food cravings and overeating.
Spirulina is considered to contain all the essential amino acids as well as the highly publicised essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA) which is well known for its anti- inflammatory properties. Taking Spirulina in conjunction with an Omega 3 Fish Oil supplement may be a great way to help with inflammation, including inflammation from arthritis. High amounts of GLA are believed to help reduction of cholesterol and prevent heart disease.
Because Spirulina contains a high amount of Chlorophyll it is thought to be beneficial in eradicating toxins from the blood and boosting the immune system. By binding with heavy metals in the body it may also help to eliminate those toxins.
This superfood is considered to be a great source of minerals containing a very high concentration of bio-available iron, not causing constipation (always a bonus!) which may be helpful for those suffering from anaemia. It also contains an incredibly high amount of calcium, in fact 26 times that of milk. It is considered to be a great supplement for pregnancy.
The Beta Carotene contained in Spirulina is 5 times more than carrots and Vitamin B12 is 4 times more than that in animal liver. It may even be considered a multivitamin containing all the B Vitamins plus Vitamin D, A and E.
Are you getting the picture here?? With over 100 nutrients, Spirulina may well deserve the claim of being a superfood!! In fact the American National Aeronautical and Space Agency is said to use Spirulina to supplement the diet of their astronauts whilst in space.
Spirulina obviously isn’t just for astronauts. Spirulina may be a great all round supplement for everybody – possibly containing all the nutrients we need to remain healthy. From young children to the elderly – what a great addition to the diet. It is obviously a great way for vegetarians to obtain sufficient protein and iron in their diet. For busy, ‘on the go’ people it’s fantastic to add to a superfood smoothie – see my recipe below. Spirulina is available in tablets, capsules and powder.
For more information on spirulina or any other health question call to see Bev and the team at Go Vita your health shop at 5 North St , Batemans Bay or phone on 44729737. Don’t forget to tune into Bev on 2EC every Wednesday at 12.30pm.