Spirulina is rapidly becoming a ‘hero’ ingredient in the world of superfoods and supplements. It’s no wonder why because what started out as a “miracle of the sea” is widely seen as being the gift that keeps on giving. Here’s why…
Top-notch nutrient profile
In our first post discussing what Spirulina is, we mentioned that the super-green, super-food has an incredible nutrient profile. Here’s a fuller picture of what that means:
In its typical supplement form as a dried powder, a 7-gram serving (only 1 tablespoon!) of Spirulina comes in at only 20 calories, but it provides high amounts of numerous essential nutrients, amounting to
- 4g of protein
- 2mg of iron
- 8mg of calcium
- 4mg of magnesium
- 8mg of phosphorus
- 95mg of potassium
Plus, high percentages of the recommended daily amounts for the following:
- Thiamin, 11% of RDA
- Riboflavin, 15% of RDA
- Niacin, 4% of RDA
- Copper, 21% of RDA
Again—all this from just one tablespoon of powder! It is important to note however that this analysis does vary according to the way the Spirulina is farmed. As with everything, the better the farming practices and manufacturing practices – the better the product. (And with SNACK we only use the best! More information on our Spirulina to come!)
Plant-based complete protein
Perhaps the number one thing you’ll read about Spirulina’s nutritional benefits is the fact that it is nearly all protein. Now, this is not to say that it doesn’t have other constituents such as lipids and carbohydrates, but the fact is that in compositional terms it is in the range of 55-70 percent protein. This is the reason it is considered one of the only plant sources for “complete protein”— i.e. contains the nine amino acids in proteins that our body doesn’t produce itself. See, we told you Spirulina was super – it has all of them!
Fatty acids play an important structural role in our cell membranes and are a vital source of energy. Additionally, beyond the vitamins listed above, Spirulina hits it home with provitamin A beta-carotene.
Top nutrients translate to top benefits
Now, the list of all those things sounds pretty impressive on its own, but that extensive nutrient profile also has impressive effects. Because Spirulina has been connected to numerous health benefits. First, the high protein content makes Spirulina a great source of long-lasting energy, which has also made it effective in helping people lose weight and boost their metabolism. A couple of studies have shown it may also reduce symptoms of hay fever and allergies, like nasal inflammation and congestion.
Spirulina’s main active component, phycocyanin, bolsters its antioxidant levels, which makes it a shield against free-radical oxidative damage to cells and DNA, doubling as an anti-inflammatory agent. It’s also shown the potential of lowering blood sugar levels in people with both types 1 and 2 diabetes, as well as lowering cholesterol and reducing blood pressure in people with hypertension. Both high cholesterol and blood pressure play a role in developing heart disease, and one study indicates that Spirulina’s potential to lower both factors bodes well for its potential to help prevent heart disease as well. It is this component that also gives Spirulina its incredible green color. Interestingly though, in spite of all of these incredible properties, the Spirulina in SNACK remains flavorless, which means you only get the natural sweetness and nutty flavors of the active superfood ingredients we add in to make our clusters.
Adding to this already extensive lineup, research points to the distinct potential for Spirulina to fight the effects of cancer, helping to reduce carcinogenesis and precancerous lesions in the mouth. It’s also being studied as an effective agent in preserving healthy gut bacteria and supporting those with mood disorders and mental health conditions, due to the presence of tryptophan.
The findings of these studies and trials have brought increased attention and interest from medical scientists in the use and efficacy of Spirulina as a nutraceutical, on top of its role as a supplement. The number of overall studies is still too low for scientists to make definitive claims, but the potential for far-reaching positive health effects is clear.
Looks to us like Spirulina is taking “superfood” to super heights – wouldn’t you agree?