Add some spirulina to your smoothie today and start reaping the benefits from its array of essential vitamins and minerals.
By Jenny Travens
Blue-green algae may not be a staple in restaurant menus, but many people recognize the health benefits it offers. Spirulina algae or Arthrospira plantes particularly grow in mineral-rich waters and salty waters of South America and Mexico.
These blue-green algae are commonly used as a dietary supplement because of its wide array of essential vitamins and minerals. It is found in the forms of tablets or powder that is sprinkled in food or mixed with your favorite beverage.
The term spirulina is coined from its spiral structure. There are two common species of spirulina that is used for human consumption, namely, Arthrospira plantesis and Arthrospira maxima. Because of its adaptability in freshwater and marine water, these two species are easily cultured in artificial ponds. Some of the known spirulina nutrition facts are listed below.
Spirulina is composed of at least 60% protein. For instance a 112 g serving of spirulina contains approximately 64 g of protein. Protein is a macro nutrient that is vital in building and repairing tissues and supporting muscle activities. According to National Institute of Health, fifteen percent of the body’s weight is made up of protein making it an essential nutrient for healthy growth.
The B-vitamins is a group of water-soluble vitamins that is required in energy production as well as producing red blood cells. Spirulina contains adequate amount of vitamin B3, B6, B9, and B12.
- Vitamin B3 or Niacine plays a role in the production of hydrochloric acid that is required for digestive processes.
- Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine is involved in breaking down carbohydrates and turning it into energy and maintains a healthy brain functioning.
- Vitamin B9 or folic acid (folate) is a micronutrient that aids in cellular growth and regeneration while preventing various conditions such as anemia, fetal deformities, Alzheimer’s disease, and many types of cancers.
- Vitamin B12 helps your blood cells and nerves in a good shape. A deficiency of this vitamin may lead to anemia, memory loss, weight loss, and weakness.
Beta-carotene belongs to the carotenoid family that is widely known for its antioxidant properties. The beta-carotene helps protects against cancer and heart diseases, boosts immune system, prevents photosensitivity disorders and improves vision. Beta-carotene is commonly found in fruits and vegetables that are red, orange, and yellow in color. In addition to, beta-carotene is also found in spirulina with about 342 mg for every half cup of dried spirulina.
Essential Fatty acids
Essential fatty acids are commonly referred to as the good fats. However, these fatty acids cannot be synthesized by the human body and so we rely on food that contains them. EFAs main function is the production of prostaglandins that is required for various body functions such as the heart rate, blood pressure, fertility, immune system function. An adequate amount of good fats helps pull out the Low Density Lipoprotein or bad cholesterol and send it to the liver where it is excreted. Spirulina comes with 4% to 7% of essential fatty acids in the form of linoleic and gamma-linoleic acid.
Along with vitamins and other nutrients, spirulina is also rich in minerals that are needed for the body’s daily activities. These minerals include Calcium, Potassium, Zinc, Magnesium, Manganese, Selenium, Iron, and Phosporous. Although these minerals offer various benefits for the body, in general they aid in metabolism, water balance and bone health.
Jenny Travens is a chief editor and a wellness coach and fitness blogger for http://www.superfoodliving.com/categories. She loves to share her knowledge about the different ways of staying fit and healthy and helps people to conquer over health related issues and maintain their fitness regime.
Courtesy of Living Green Magazine