Spirulina Benefits: 10 Proven Reasons to Use This Superfood
It’s blue-green, absurdly healthy but often overlooked or misunderstood; Spirulina may not be from Pandora, but it grows in our version of that magical moon, Hawaii, along with other exotic locations around the globe. This blue-green algae is a freshwater plant that is now one of the most researched, and alongside its cousin chlorella, most talked about superfoods today. Grown around the world from Mexico to Africa to even Hawaii, spirulina is renowned for its intense flavor and even more powerful nutrition profile! While you may have only seen it as an ingredient in your green superfood beverages, energy bars and natural supplements, spiralina benefits are so amazing that taken on a daily basis they could restore and revitalize your health! To date, there are nearly 1,200 peer-reviewed scientific articles evaluating its health benefits
Lowers Blood Pressure
Phycocyanin is a pigment found in the spirulina that scientists have discovered possesses antihypertensive effects (it lowers blood pressure). (14) Japanese researchers claim that this is because consuming the blue-green algae reverses endothelial dysfunction in metabolic syndrome. I find this extremely promising for Americans because metabolic syndrome has rapidly become one of the main causes of preventable disease today, as it raises one’s risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and stroke. (15) 6. Reduces Cholesterol Along those same lines, spirulina benefits have also been shown to prevent atherosclerosis and reduce elevated blood cholesterol levels. A recent animal study published in The Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology took rabbits, fed them a high cholesterol diet (HCD) containing 0.5% cholesterol for four weeks, and then fed them a HCD with 1% or 5% spirulina for an additional eight weeks. (16) After the eight-week trial was complete, LDL levels decreased by 26% in the group eating 1% of spirulina and 41% in the group eating 5% spirulina, which heavily suggests that the more we eat the more benefits we will receive! Serum triglycerides and total cholesterol were also significantly reduced.
Helps Prevent Cancer
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “A number of animal and test tube studies suggest that spirulina increases production of antibodies, infection-fighting proteins, and other cells that improve immunity and help ward off infection and chronic illnesses such as cancer.” (11) This doesn’t come as a surprise as more than 70 peer-reviewed articles have been published in the scientific literature evaluating spirulina’s ability to effect cancer cells! (12) In an article published this past April, Czech Republic scientists pointed out that, in addition to its ability to control blood cholesterol levels, “Spirulina is also rich in tetrapyrrolic compounds closely related to bilirubin molecule, a potent antioxidant and anti-proliferative agent.” (13) When tested on human pancreatic cells, these researchers discovered that, “Compared to untreated cells, experimental therapeutics significantly decreased proliferation of human pancreatic cancer cell lines in vitro in a dose-dependent manner.” Essentially, this proves that consuming spirulina can help prevent developing various cancers!