This just may be nature’s most perfect food
Just 1 TBSP a Day: An Easy Way to Lower Your Cholesterol, Blood Pressure and…
2011 July 17
What if consuming a tablespoon or two per day of a simple food could drastically lower your chances of developing cancer, heart disease or stroke, or of contracting a life-threatening virus such as HIV?
Would your interest be piqued?
There is a unique freshwater plant that has been of enormous interest to nutritional scientists over the past decade, and it shows promise for doing all of the above—and then some. It’s one of the most nutrient-packed dynamos of the superfood world.
This simple food is spirulina.
I recently posted a report about the radioprotective effects of spirulina. But its health benefits go far beyond that application. But what exactly is spirulina? You may be surprised!
Spirulina: One of Nature’s Near-Perfect Foods
Spirulina is similar to sea vegetables such as dulse, kelp, nori, Kombu, arame, and wakame. Along with its cousin chlorella (another one of my favorites), spirulina is a member of the “blue-green” family—but this family is actually not truly algae.
Although you will often hear the term “blue-green algae,” spirulina and its kin are actually cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria are classified as bacteria because their genetic material is not organized in a membrane-bound nucleus. Unlike other bacteria, they have chlorophyll and use the sun as an energy source, in the way plants and algae do.
Spirulina is primarily produced by two species: Arthrospira platensis and Arthrospira maxima.
One of the special traits of spirulina is its rich protein content—it’s 50 to 70 percent protein by weight and contains all of the essential amino acids. Records of the Spanish conquistadors suggest that the Aztecs consumed spirulina as a food source, and the Kanembu people of Central Africa harvested it from what is now called Lake Chad.
Wild spirulina grows in the alkaline lakes of Mexico and on the African continent, although it is commercially grown and harvested all over the world. It reproduces quickly, and because the individual organisms tend to clump together, it’s easy to harvest. Commercial production of spirulina is estimated to reach 220,000 tons by the year 2020. Japan is the largest producer of spirulina, as well as the largest consumer.