Spirulina - An Introduction
Posted on 31 August 2012
Some may call me a veteran on spirulina, others may just say I'm a bit 'green', either way I have been using this glorious green stuff in some form for nearly 20 years! Often referred to as a blue-green algae, spirulina is technically a cyanobacteria or a blue coloured bacteria, but, unlike other forms of bacteria, spirulina contains chlorophyll and uses the sun as an energy source in a similar way to plants and algae.
Historically, spirulina is believed to have been consumed as a food source by the Aztecs until the 16th century and also grown in Central Africa. Today spirulina is grown and harvested in many locations throughout the world in alkaline lakes, given the correct conditions it is fast growing and relatively easy to harvest.
Spirulina is considered to be one of the most nutritious and concentrated food sources on the planet, a majority of the interest in spirulina is around it's natural protein content. Often containing around 60% bioavailable, easily absorbable plant based protein, spirulina is considered to be a much better source of protein than most animal forms of protein, including red meat.
However, it is not just the amino acid profile (proteins) that make this whole food remarkable, spirulina is also abundantly rich in minerals, vitamins and essential fatty acids. It is this unique combination of nutrients that categorizes spirulina as a 'superfood' in our western society, a nutritional saviour in third world countries, and a nutrition-packed food for astronauts and earth dwelling humans alike.
The health benefits of this wholefood spirulina are many, in brief, spirulina is a great food source for vegetarians, pregnant women, nursing mothers and the elderly. Spirulina is great for balancing blood sugar levels, beneficial in Type II diabetes and associated cardiovascular issues. It is supportive for brain function, liver, eyes and immune system. Spirulina is also of benefit for those with cholesterol issues, excess weight or low energy.
Ultimately, a daily dose of spirulina is a great equivalent to synthetically manufactured nutritional supplements, for those travelling or with less than optimal diets.