Saturday, December 10, 2011

Spirulina

This tiny aquatic plant has been eaten by humans since prehistoric times and is grown worldwide as a healthy super food. Imagine a vegetable with more protein than soy, more Vitamin A than carrots, more iron than beef, profound source of protective phytochemicals, naturally low in fat, source of the essential fatty acid GLA and is easy to digest.

Spirulina, blue - green algae, is found mostly in fresh
water lakes and thrives in very warm water that is 85-112 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spirulina is named for its shape since it forms swirling, microscopic strands.
There are over forty thousand varieties, which only need a little bit of water
and some sun to grow. It is able to grow by itself in the wild, and not on a
farm with the help of humans. After it grows, it is harvested and turned into a
thick paste, and then dried. Then it is packed into a powder or turned into a
tablet or granulated so it can be filled into capsules.

Spirulina contains a high amount of protein, vitamins,
and minerals. It is about 60-70% protein, which is greater gram for gram than
beef or chicken (approximately 25% protein each) and soy. It also contains all
of the essential amino acids, which makes it a complete protein; this is not
very common in plant foods. It has 10 other non-essential amino acids that play
important supporting roles in good health.

It contains a large amount of Vitamin B12, approximately
3 mcg for every gram, which is very difficult to find in other plant foods.
That is one reason why Spirulina is such a great choice for vegetarians.
Vitamin B12 is essential for the metabolism of every cell of the body, the
production of red blood cells and the development of healthy nerve tissue.

This super food is rich in the omega fatty acids, and
especially omega 3. We all know that fish is a good source of omega fatty
acids. What we don't often consider is where the fish get the majority of their
omega fatty acids: from algae such as Spirulina.

It is also the highest known source of beta-carotene, ten
times more concentrated than carrots. Beta- carotene is a powerful antioxidant
and is sometimes referred to as pro-vitamin A because our bodies convert it to
vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for healthy teeth, skeletal and soft tissue,
mucous membranes, skin and eyes. It has been shown to help prevent certain
cancers (lung, cervical, skin, oral) and to improve immune system function.

Spirulina is very rich in iron, which is the most common
mineral deficiency. Spirulina also contains other essential nutrients such as
vitamins E, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, K1 and K2 and such as minerals calcium,
phosphorus, iodine, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, chromium, and potassium.

It is enriched with important phytonutrients such as
gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), chlorophyll, c-phycocyanin and other carotenoids
including the powerful antioxidant zeaxanthin, especially good for eyes.

Due to its ability to withstand high temperatures, it is
able to retain its nutritional value during processing and shelf storage. Many
other plant foods will deteriorate at these temperatures.

It is a low calorie, nutrient dense food. It only
contains 3.9 calories per gram and still has all of these great benefits.

This amazing algae is a microscopic form of life that
does not have the usual tough cell walls that are normally found in plant life.
This means that it is extremely easy to digest making all of the mentioned
nutritional compounds highly absorbable into your body.

Spirulina has been known to increase energy. It may also
be useful in helping diabetics to control their food cravings, which would
result in decreased insulin intake. It also has been used to help with weight
loss/treat obesity, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, hay fever,
stress, anxiety, fatigue, depression, and premenstrual syndrome. It may also
help with alcoholism, herpes, arthritis, and cancer. Spirulina has been shown
to be effective against certain cancers and viruses, reduce inflammation,
increase immune function, detoxify the liver and kidneys, help with diabetes
and liver disease, and offer protection for the brain.

All of this amounts to simply an unbelievable amount of
concentrated nutrition in every gram.

The experience of long time consumers and the scientific
evidence suggest that 2 to 6 grams a day will provide significant health
benefits. A human clinical study suggests just two grams per day may provide
significant benefits. Three grams per day provides 100% of the RDA of Vitamin A
in the form of beta-carotene. Human clinical studies indicate six grams per day
may provide increased protection from oxidant stress.

Daily use is most beneficial. Take Spirulina with or
between meals. Tablets are convenient anytime, between, before, or with meals.
Many enjoy mixing Spirulina powder in a green fruit juice smoothie as an
instant breakfast, or a vegetable juice smoothie in the afternoon.

Spirulina should be used as part of a balanced diet. More
than 30 grams per day may result in dietary imbalances.

Woman who are pregnant or breastfeeding should first
consult with their health care practitioner before adding Spirulina to their
diet. Also, it should not be used by anyone who might have auto immune diseases
such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and
pemphigus vulgaris; because it may cause the immune system to become more
active, it may increase the symptoms of these diseases. It should also be
avoided by anyone who has Phenylketonuria, a metabolic disorder where the body
cannot metabolize phenylalanine, since Spirulina contains phenylalanine and may
make Phenylketonuria worse.

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