Spirulina: power protein food with benefits

Paula Duffy's picture

Spirulina can be the best friend of vegetarians looking to change up their protein sources. It can also help those afflicted with immune deficiency disorders like chronic fatigue syndrome.

If you haven't been introduced to spirulina it's about time.

Spirulina is a blue-green algae loaded with protein, providing many health benefits.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, spirulina can "...help protect cells from damage. It contains nutrients, including B complex vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium, and gamma linolenic acid (an essential fatty acid)."

So why isn't it more widely used or known?

You'd have to ask others that question, because for this writer, spirulina was a mainstay in my diet for the two years I suffered severe symptoms from chronic fatigue syndrome.

Among many other treatments and remedies I tried, I maintained a regime of using spirulina on a daily basis. In powdered form it was easy for me to take it along on business trips or just to the office each day.

I would use two tablespoons of the powder in a glass of orange juice each morning. It made for a thick texture because I kept the OJ to no more than six ounces.

Not only is spirulina packed with protein, but it can be a natural remedy for many health conditions that arise from a compromised immune system, as well as hay fever and seasonal allergies (according to the Mayo Clinic).

The Livestrong.com site extols the virtues of spirulina as a natural food source with benefits

Vegetarians or vegans should be well acquainted with spirulina as an alternative to other protein sources that might have grown old.

Any good health food store carries spirulina and in various forms. There are powder and flake forms as well as tablets. As mentioned above, mixing the powder in liquid is one way to get it into your system.

Sprinkling the powder or flakes over food is another way to go. Either way, please note that spirulina has a seaweed taste to it so how you use it might be dictated by your sense of taste.

Don't let that deter you however, if you are interested in getting rid of synthetic vitamin sources. Spirulina is considered by some to be the best source of natural nutrients one can find.

Do check out the potential side effects of ingesting spirulina. For those suffering from reduced kidney function, the blue-green algae might cause edema. Some digestive problems have been noted usually occurring when a person doesn't drink enough fluids to move spirulina through the body's digestive system.

Even a slightly elevated body temperature could result because of the increase in cellular metabolism. As always, speak with your physician or health care provider when beginning any regime of supplements.

Image: Google Images/Flickr.com

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