This super food has become well established in the healthy food scene – fans claim everything from a complete protein to a cure for cancer.

Of course, speaking of so many benefits of a food source awakens my interest. I decided to take a closer look at Spirulina algae to find out if they live up to the hype.

What exactly are Spirulina algae?

The spiral-shaped micro-alga grows naturally  in warm, alkaline lakes in Africa, as well as in Central and South America, as well as in salt water. It is also cultivated and harvested in man-made reservoirs.

Spirulina, with its blue color, is said to resemble nutrient-rich marine vegetables like Dulse, Kelp, Nori, Kombu, Wakame, and Chlorella.

From the Aztecs to the astronauts …

I have to say that it has a pretty interesting history for an alga. It is said to have been the main source of protein for the Aztecs in the 14th century   , as well as the people who lived around Chad Lake in Central Africa.

At the World Food Conference of the United Nations in 1974 Spirulina has been called “the best food of the future” declared and is still considered for the control of malnutrition in developing countries.

In the late 1980s, NASA intends to establish spirulina algae as one of the staple foods as it should be cultivated through its nutrient content and ability to survive almost anywhere during long space missions.

With the endorsement of NASA and the UN, it’s hard not to be impressed by spirulina algae. Let’s take a look at the nutritional profile and some health benefits that they could bring.

The secret behind the unique color scheme

The green-blue color of spirulina algae is triggered by phycocyanin – a pigment with several great health benefits, including enhancement of the brain and heart, and protection against oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to combat its harmful effects. These free radicals cause everything from neurodegenerative diseases to cancer and chronic fatigue, so it’s essential for our bodies to fight them with an appropriate level of antioxidants.

Studies show Spirulina’s high antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects, both in  humans and in animals . Experts believe that phycocyanin, in addition to its brilliant blue-green color, provides great antioxidant properties.

Interestingly, certain antioxidants can only be found in spirulina algae and make up 16% of their total weight. Spirulina is therefore a very powerful weapon in the fight against oxidative stress.

A complete protein

It seems that the Aztecs have used something like spirulina to meet their protein needs. It not only contains 50% -70% proteins by weight but also includes all the essential amino acids. Often vegetarians and vegans take spirulina algae as a dietary supplement.

What’s confusing is that some sources claim that you have to take a lot of spirulina to meet your daily protein needs – while others say that only 2 tablespoons are enough to replace the proteins of a food.

I have to say that I tend to be skeptical of the claim that spirulina would replace an entire meal with just two tablespoons. It would also be quite expensive, because the algae costs about 30 times more meat or milk per gram of protein. Dog protein powder with spirulina is best powerful super food for animals.

Although it has a high protein content, it is not very practical in terms of cost and volume. Instead, I encourage vegetarians and vegans to pull their proteins from other plant sources such as nuts, legumes, quinoa, and whole grains – in addition to supplementing with spirulina algae if desired.

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