(NaturalNews) Today's scientists are only beginning to grasp the incredible nutritional value of blue-green algae and spirulina, but these superfoods have a reputation that reaches far back into history. A form of blue-green algae was consumed regularly hundreds of years ago by Aztecs, while spirulina was a favorite among native peoples in the Sahara desert region of Africa. Today blue-green algae and spirulina are some of the top superfoods, providing extraordinary nutrition in a time when most food sources are of poor nutritional quality.
Blue-green algae and spirulina, which is a specific form of blue-green algae, are found in nature growing in the still, alkaline waters of lakes and ponds. They are natural foods that have existed since life began. Their nutritional content is broad and highly concentrated:
- Blue-green algae and spirulina are rich in vitamins A, C, E and the B-complex vitamins, including vitamins B12 and B6. Since these vitamins are packaged in their natural form, they are in a highly usable state that makes them far superior to modern vitamin supplements. (It should be noted that some experts don't consider the vitamin B12 in spirulina to be bioavailable, while others disagree.)
- These foods are rich in natural minerals like calcium, magnesium and iron. They are also an excellent source of trace minerals that are commonly lacking in today's diet.
- Many of these vitamins and minerals exhibit antioxidant properties which aid in the elimination of toxins and free-radicals, helping the body fight disease and stay healthy. These elements also fight cancer - in fact, preliminary studies point to spirulina as a natural anti-cancer agent.
- Spirulina and blue-green algae are highly effective for heavy metal detox, as multiple studies have shown.
- Phycocyanin gives spirulina its unique blue-green color and perhaps its anti-cancer properties. This specialized blue pigment is only found in blue-green algae.
- Blue-green algae and spirulina are rich in protein, including the essential amino acids. By comparison, spirulina produces twenty times more protein per acre versus soybeans. Considering the rapidly declining reputation of soy, spirulina could be considered a worthy replacement.
- Spirulina is rich in gamma linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid which aids in the health of the joints and heart. It is also helpful for specific issues like weight loss and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
- Blue-green algae can help balance the flora in the gut, which aids digestion and fights candida overgrowth.
- Spirulina is known for its ability to temper the appetite and stabilize blood sugar levels. It may also help with food cravings.
- Studies have exhibited spirulina's amazing ability to reduce inflammation in the body. This can be important in preventing and treating a variety of conditions.
In spite of their nutritional punch, blue-green algae and spirulina do not pack a lot of calories. This makes it effortless to incorporate these superfoods into your diet regardless of your nutritional needs and preferences. It is important to find a quality source of blue-green algae or spirulina. Poor quality supplements may contain heavy metal contaminants and other toxins. Be sure to examine the source of your blue-green algae and spirulina carefully before buying.
Balch, Phyllis A. Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition. (2006) Avery Trade.
About the author
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/10/welco...