Superfoods are trendy as many people make the big switch from chemical supplements to plant-based health supplements. One of the most popular superfoods making rounds in supermarkets these days is spirulina, specifically blue spirulina.
In general, spirulina is a blue-green alga that grows in lakes, alkaline waterways and ponds. Many researchers believe that spirulina is one of the Earth’s oldest life forms. First used by the Aztecs to improve their endurance and treat diseases, spirulina is labeled as a superfood, which means it is packed with many nutrients that are good for the body.
Blue spirulina, like other spirulina, tastes bitter, which is why people mix it with smoothies, yogurts and juices to improve the flavor. If you want to buy spirulina, drop by your local health food store or organic market. You’ll surely find it there since these stores sell blue spirulina powder as health supplements. You can even buy spirulina at Amazon.
What is Blue Spirulina?
As mentioned, spirulina in general is a blue-green alga that is found in bodies of water like lakes and ponds. Commonly used as a source of vegan protein, blue spirulina powder contains many nutrients like vitamin E, B vitamins and beta-carotene. The blue color is from the Phycocyanin, which is a blue pigment that keeps blue spirulina different from its green counterpart.
Another difference between green and blue spirulina powder is the taste. Blue doesn’t have the fishy taste of green spirulina, which is why most people prefer blue spirulina.
What is the Nutritional Content of Blue Spirulina Powder?
Despite its tiny size, organic blue spirulina is packed with nutrients. A tablespoon (or 7 grams) of dried blue spirulina powder contains the following nutrients:
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
In terms of nutritional facts, a tablespoon of blue spirulina has 20 calories and 1.7 grams of carbohydrates. It also has a small amount of fat (one gram), but its fat content is mostly composed of healthy fats such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Blue spirulina is also a good source of high-quality protein, which is comparable to eggs. A tablespoon of the powder can give you all of the essential amino acids you need. Spirulina also contains a decent amount of manganese, potassium and magnesium.
What is Blue Spirulina Good For?
Blue spirulina powder is a potent source of nutrients, which means it offers several health benefits:
Research has shown that the protein content in spirulina can lower cholesterol levels by reducing the body’s absorption of cholesterol. Daily consumption of spirulina clears your arteries, which reduces the strain on your heart; therefore, preventing stroke and heart disease-causing blood clots.
Blue spirulina contains many antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory benefits to your body. Phycocyanin, the pigment that gives spirulina its color, can do more than just reduce inflammation in the body. It can also prevent the growth of a tumor and kill cancer cells. Researchers are continuously studying this immune-enhancing protein to determine its potential as a treatment for cancer.
Assistance in Weight Loss
It’s easier to lose weight if you eat fewer calories than what you use. Since blue spirulina is a high-nutrient and low-calorie superfood, it contains plenty of nutrients without adding to your weight. Adding spirulina to your diet can help you lose weight without compromising your nutrition.
Studies have suggested that spirulina can help in weight management. In one study, people who were overweight and regularly consumed spirulina for three months showed improvement in their body mass index.
Good for Detox
Blue spirulina aids the body in flushing out toxins, including heavy metals. Since spirulina is a powerful detoxing agent, some people use it as a natural water filter to keep out mercury, lead and other harmful toxins. The reason behind its powerful detoxifying properties is that it contains peptides and proteins that are good at binding to the toxins. This way, it keeps your body from absorbing harmful toxins.
Immune System Booster
Phycocyanin, the super ingredient in spirulina, can also fight cold-causing compounds. If you feel that you’re about to come down with a cold, add some extra spirulina to your diet so you can give your immune system another layer of protection.
What are the Side Effects of Taking Spirulina?
Is blue spirulina safe for you?
In general, spirulina is safe for consumption. In fact, it’s a healthy addition to your diet. But there are a few side effects associated with using blue spirulina are allergic reactions, headaches, insomnia, muscle pain and sweating. People with allergies to seaweed, sea vegetables and seafood should avoid spirulina.
If you have kidney stones, gout, an autoimmune disorder, a thyroid condition or are nursing or pregnant, your doctor might discourage the consumption of blue spirulina powder.
Before you add blue spirulina to your diet, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider first. A consultation with your doctor will reveal if you can consume blue spirulina in combination with other supplements or medications you’re taking.
What Happens If You Take Too Much Spirulina?
Spirulina is a natural food source, which means you can’t overdose on it. However, like any food, when you take blue spirulina in excess, you might experience a slight overdose of vitamin A.
How to Shop for Spirulina
Blue spirulina is often sold in powder form, but it is also available in juices, capsules and tablets. If you buy it in powder form, you can add spirulina to your smoothies.
As with any supplement, always examine the Nutrition Facts label. This label contains all the important information, including the nutrients, amount of active ingredients and ingredients that can cause allergies.
Also, look for products that contain a seal of approval from quality testing centers in the US. This list includes NSF International, ConsumerLab.com and U.S. Pharmacopeia. If your chosen blue spirulina has a seal of approval from one of these organizations, it doesn’t guarantee a product’s effectiveness, but it assures that the powder was manufactured properly, does not contain harmful ingredients and more.
Blue spirulina is a superfood that will benefit any diet. If you want to feel full without worrying about calories or harmful chemicals, this superfood is for you.