It May Look Like Pond Life – But You Really, Really Need It!

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

What if having just a tablespoon or two per day of a simple food could drastically lower your chances of developing cancer, heart disease or stroke, or of contracting a life-threatening virus such as HIV, would you do it?

Spirulina is a superfood is a unique freshwater plant that is one of the most nutrient-packed foods around and is receving a lot of press in the USA at the moment for its protection against radiation, but its health benefits are far reaching beyond that.

Along with chlorella it is blue – green algae, but actually is classified as bacteria because their genetic material is not organized in a membrane-bound nucleus and, unlike other bacteria, they have chlorophyll and use the sun as an energy source, in the way plants and algae do. Spirulina has a very rich protein content—60 percent on average, which is even better than red meat which is about 27 percent protein. Also that protein is biologically complete, containing all of the essential amino acids needed for human health and a potent array of other beneficial nutrients. The proteins in spirulina are of a highly digestible type (83 to 90 percent digestible), due to the fact that it does not have cellulose walls, like yeast and chlorella do.

That’s why it is turning up in more and more foods, particularly health foods such as protein bars, and is a vital ingredient in health-giving green smoothies. Oh and if you think this is a New Age food fad then records of the Spanish conquistadors suggest that the Aztecs consumed spirulina as a food source. So what does it give you?

• Vitamins: B (including exceptionally high B-12) and vitamin K along with other vitamins. Contains vitamin E level comparable to wheat germ, and four times as much vitamin B12 as raw liver
• Minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium, manganese, potassium, and zinc Spirulina has about the same mineral content as milk
• Naturally rich in iodine and contains eighteen different amino acids
• One of best known sources of gamma-linolenic acid and other essential fatty acids Phytopigments phycocyanin, chlorophyll, and carotenoids
• Compounds of proteins combined with metals that bind heavy radioactive isotopes
• Low in carbohydrates – 15-20 percent
There are scientific studies supporting spirulina’s potential usefulness in preventing and/or treating the following health conditions: age-related macular degeneration, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, including hypertension, liver health and decreased damage from heavy metal exposure, cerebrovascular disease (including stroke) and neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

It has also been linked to protection from both cancer and radiation protection, bone marrow and blood health (especially during use of anticancer drugs), strengthening immune defenses and modulating inflammatory response, reducing arthritis symptoms and pain sensitivity by inhibiting prostaglandins, which contribute to pain and inflammation

Good for you – and your pets:
There is sufficient scientific evidence for spirulina’s health benefits and its remarkable clinical results with a high safety record. It also seems to be good for our pets as spirulina’s ability to promote a strong immune system, a healthy coat, heart and joint health, and even fresher breath is making it popular with pet owners who add a small amount to their food. You can now buy a specific version now just for them, but I have only seen it on US websites not anything in the UK.

I wish I could tell you it tastes wonderful, but it doesn’t – at least not to me – but when mixed in with a fruit or green smoothie it is fine. Just be aware that the vibrant colour of your normal smoothie will look like mud – I persuade myself it is the colour of milk chocolate which helps, and certainly doesn’t detract from the taste!

As seaweed has just been ‘outed’ as the latest way to fight off heart attacks you could try doubling your health benefit with a supplement that combines seaweed in a blend of 12 chlorophyll rich green foods including spirulina, chlorella, kale sprouts, wheat grass juice, nettles and arctic fresh seaweed. It comes from Pukka Herb and is Clean Greens powder which you should be able to find in your health store.

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