What if you were told you could get all the protein you need from an algae-like substance which simultaneously dramatically reduces your chances of developing cancer, heart disease or strokes? Is that something you might be interested in?
Spirulina (the common name for the Arthrospira platensis and Arthrospira maxima cyanobacteria which are similar to other sea vegetables such as kelp, dulse, nori and chlorella) is an incredibly potent superfood which has been fascinating nutritional scientists over the past few decades for its amazing array of health benefits.
Wild Spirulina can be found growing in alkaline lakes in Africa and South America, and also on the ocean floors of Hawaii, but is commercially grown all over the world, with Japan being the largest producer, and indeed, consumer.
I started adding Spirulina into my smoothies (and we put some in our Breakfast Shake), adding a tablespoon of the powder form of this wondrous superfood into my daily mixes. The taste of mixing it in water only is rather unpleasant, but I’ve found the taste is hidden brilliantly when added to smoothies, and I feel great afterwards. For convenience, you could also buy Spirulina in capsules, like the ones we sell at Raw Cafe.
So what’s all the fuss about?
The list of health-boosting qualities which Spirulina boasts is long, and I almost certainly won’t have covered all of them here, despite my attempts to!
- Amazing protein levels: Spirulina has an average protein level of 60%, compared to red meat which has an average of 27%. What’s more, unlike in meats or milk, the protein in Spirulina is highly usable and assimilable, with a net protein utilization rate of 50-60%.
- Contains 4 times as many antioxidants than Blueberries: Independent studies have shown Spirulina to have an ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity), which measures food’s antioxidant concentration and ability, of 24,000 which is four times as high as the ORAC of blueberries.
- Packed with Chlorophyll: Spirulina’s high chlorophyll level cleans the blood, alkalises the body and strengthens the immune system.
- Healthy bacteria: Spirulina encourages and supports the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut, which helps control the growth of candida.
- Balances blood pressure: High blood pressure is a problem for millions across the world, as it increases the risk of strokes and heart disease. Thankfully, as shown by a study of the Department of Biochemistry in Mexico, ingesting 4.5 grams of spirulina (the only other dietary change made in the experiment) regulated the blood pressure levels among women and men between 18-65.
- High in manganese: Spirulina contains approximately 90% of your daily recommended dose of manganese, which is essential for healthy bones and efficient body metabolism.
- Could help lower cholesterol: Millions of people worldwide are taking medication in an attempt to lower their cholesterol levels, but a study on men and women aged between 60-87 showed that those given Spirulina daily showed lower cholesterol levels than those who given placebos.
- One of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet: Spirulina is an incredible source of vitamins including B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, E, K, and also contains large amounts of Iron, Sodium and Magnesium.
You’ll be able to purchase Spirulina from all good health food stores, online, or if you’re in Phuket, from Atsumi Raw Cafe on Viset Road, Rawai.