Spirulina- the super protein food

July 8,2014

Spirulina is a blue green algae discovered in 1960s. Several scientists around the world found about this nature’s wonder. NASA scientists found it ideal food for astronauts. It is said that a French scientist noticed some African tribes having healthier bodies than general, despite the scarcity of food and poor living conditions. Spirulina became popular since 1970s. Spirulina grows in warm water in highly alkaline lakes. It needs about 25 degrees celcius throughout and that’s is why its not found much in the Western world. It is a single celled spiral shaped organism living on the water surface.There are more than 25,000 species of algae everywhere - in water, in soils, on rocks, on plants. They range in size from a single cell to giant kelp over 150 feet long. Macroalgae are large like seaweeds. Microalgae are microscopic. Ocean microalgae, called phytoplankton, are the base of the ocean food web. There are family species of microalgae such as blue-green algae Spirulina and Aphanizomenon, and green algae chlorella and dunaliella. Spirulina's botanical name is Arthrospira platensis. This edible algae has a long history of safe human consumption and over 30 years of safety testing. Special farms where spirulina is cultivated under controlled conditions do not allow the growth of other contaminant blue-green algae, as in lakes and waterways. The largest concentrations of Spirulina today can be found at Lake Texcoco in Mexico, around Lake Chad in Central Africa and along the Great Rift Valley in east Africa.Many of the essential nutrients needed by our bodies are concentrated in Spirulina.
The Super food Spirulina is considered to be nature’s longest living food (since 3.5 billion years ago) and the richest source of protein.  It constitutes about 60-70% protein. Compared to beef’s 22 percent protein, its protien is highly digestible. It is known to contain all the essential amino acids that a human body needs. It is low fat, low calorie energy rich food.World Food Conference of 1974, the United Nations lauded Spirulina as being possibly “the best food for the future”.  Spirulina is called a super food because its nutrient content is more potent than any other food. The miracle of nature, this blue green algae is a treasure of other vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin E and B12, iron, calcium, anti-oxidants, minerals, carbohydrates and enzymes. There are also carotenoids, chlorophyll and phycocyanin.The algae is a source of all eight essential amino acids, as well as chelated minerals, natural plant sugars, trace minerals and enzymes. It’s easily assimilated by the body. Spirulina contains potassium, calcium, zinc, magnesium, manganese, selenium, iron and phosphorus. It also contains Gamma Linoleic Acid(GLA)
  Spirulina and its medicinal value
  • Spirulina is known to have amazing medicininal properties besides its nutritional value. Health practitioners advise Spirulina to manage obesity, stress, heart health and arthritis.
  • Richness in Folic acid and iron makes it ideal food for pregnant women. Otherwise also it is advisable for women to keep uo their haemoglobin levels good.
  • Cholorphyll is a known as a blood purifier. It is a great antioxidant. Carotenoids are good for eyes health.
  • Phycocyanin is a blue pigment found only in blue green algae. Experiments show that this can inhbit the cancerous cells growth. It can also inhibit viral replication, and strengthen the immune system.
  • There are also reports to cure diabetes, stomach ulcers and improve digestive health.
  • It is also detoxifying
  • GLA si found in mother’s milk or in Spirulina, which is important for baby and his health
  • The only plant source with Vitamin B-12- Spirulina is a boon for vegetarians or vegans. Vitamin B 12 is a significant requirement by human body. Its deficiency can impact nervous health. Usually pregnant women or vegetarians are advised by doctors to take non vegetarian or supplement sof B12 , else  they may develop Vitamin B-12 deficienct.Spirulina is the only plant source on earth that contains Vitamin B-12.

Excerpt from NASA research The European Space Agency account of its use in three long missions of as the return on Moon in 2018 or flights to Mars in 2035, (Melissa project) Also NASA stated: "The nutritional value of 1kg Spirulina is equivalent to 1,000kgs of assorted fruits and vegetables". It contains 58 times more iron than spinach, it is 3 times richer in Vitamin E than the wheat germs and has a biologic activity 49% bigger than the one of synthetic vitamin E; - it is the richest source of beta-Carotene (Pro-Vitamin A), for it contains 25 times more beta-Carotene than carrots. Where to get from & how to consume Spirulina is available in the pharmacy stores in the form of tablets or capsules. Experts advise to consume about 2 tablets (1-5 g) a day.Spirulina can be taken as snack or as a seasoning on your dishes, bread or salads, only avoid cooking it as a lot of nutrients (esp. vitamins) will bet lost that way.   Dr. A.Dave Ph.D Plant Biotech  

Author:Dr. Anju Dave

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