Proteins take center stage in a healthy balanced diet alongside carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Unfortunately, getting the right amount of proteins in our diets can be tricky, especially if we have medical challenges or lifestyle preferences. Spirulina is an excellent source of protein to boost your required intake, making it a powerful Ensō Supergreens ingredient.
What Is Spirulina?
Spirulina, or Arthrospira platensis, are blue-green algae found in warm climate water bodies. Historically used as a food source across regions and cultures, spirulina is nutrient-packed and classified as a superfood today.
According to Harvard Health, spirulina has 60% protein content, making it a richer protein source than most vegetables. The remaining 40% comprises minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and carotenoids. Spirulina powder is the most common form of this superfood, but it's also available in tablets and capsules.
Spirulina is easy to incorporate into your diet by mixing it into smoothies, salads, soups, fresh juice, or drinking water.
Top 5 Benefits of Spirulina
As with all supplements, spirulina's range of benefits adds to an already balanced diet. Here are the potential health benefits of spirulina.
1. Lowered Cholesterol
Spirulina supplements can improve heart health by reducing cholesterol and preventing heart disease. Studies show a positive effect on heart health by taking one to 19 grams of spirulina for 11 months. This result links to spirulina's high levels of antioxidants and ability to reduce inflammation. It lowers harmful LDL cholesterol and promotes healthy HDL cholesterol.
2. Diabetes Management
Spirulina is also helpful in preventing diabetes and managing its symptoms. Since it contains about four grams of protein per tablespoon, spirulina can control blood sugar when added to your diet. The study linked above also showed this positive effect on fasting blood sugar levels in diabetes tests.
3. Increased Energy Levels
If you need an energy boost for your workouts or faster post-workout recovery, spirulina can help to enhance your muscle strength and endurance. Another study showed that a spirulina supplement of 6 grams per day for one month enabled participants to work out for more extended periods without exhaustion.
4. Allergy Management
Research also shows that 2 grams of spirulina per day can reduce allergy symptoms like runny or blocked nostrils, sneezing, and itching. That's because spirulina can inhibit histamine release, which is responsible for allergic reactions, and reduce nasal inflammation.
5. Weight Management
Whether you're looking to gain or lose weight, spirulina can help you achieve your goal. This supplement can help reduce body fat percentage when taken regularly. One study showed that overweight subjects used spirulina for three months and significantly improved their body mass index.
Why Use Spirulina to Increase Protein Levels?
The benefits above are specific to spirulina as a supplement, but we can reap even greater benefits by improving our protein intake. That's why a green powder containing spirulina and other superfood ingredients can improve our health. Here are five reasons why we should increase our dietary protein intake.
Managing Appetite and Cravings
Proteins make us feel fuller with less food, meaning you can replace part of the carbohydrates in your diet with a protein supplement to help manage your appetite. You can still eat what you love and regulate your weight with suitable green powder. Reduce your carb and fat servings and top up with a protein-rich superfood powder.
Increase Muscle Mass
Protein is a body-building food, and muscles comprise protein. Therefore, increasing your protein intake can boost muscle mass and strength. This is especially important if you're strength training or looking to gain weight healthily.
Better Bone Health
Long-term research debunked the myth that high protein levels harm the bones because of increased acid levels in the body. Instead, increasing your protein intake reduces your risk of fractures and osteoporosis as you age. Women, in particular, can benefit from a protein boost if they're at risk of osteoporosis after menopause.
Maintaining Healthy Weight
While there's a greater focus on weight loss due to its dramatic transformations, maintaining those outcomes is challenging for most people. Increasing protein in your diet helps you maintain your ideal weight. Boost your protein intake from 15% to 18% of your total calories to keep off extra weight by 50%.
Proteins not only build your muscles but also help in growing and maintaining numerous tissues and organs. Increasing protein levels can speed up your recovery in case of injury through accidents or surgery. However, avoid taking blue-green algae supplements immediately before or after surgery since it may affect your blood sugar levels.
A protein-rich green powder supplement is ideal if your injury limits your ability to eat whole foods, such as dental work or mobility challenges that affect food preparation.
What's the Best Way to Use Spirulina?
Spirulina is not a cure-all for health conditions, but you can use this green powder wisely to improve your overall health. Consider adding spirulina to your daily diet if:
- You struggle with your weight. Some find it difficult to shed excess weight, while others seek to maintain or increase their weight. A spirulina supplement, alongside a healthy diet and exercise, can bring you closer to your ideal weight.
- You struggle to eat enough proteins. If you choose a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle or have trouble digesting protein, spirulina could help meet your dietary requirements.
- You struggle to eat enough fruits and vegetables. Instead of missing out on nutrient-rich greens and fruits, a spirulina supplement could provide the necessary nutrients to boost your diet.
- You're training for a marathon. A high-intensity, prolonged activity like a marathon requires your bones and muscles to be in optimal health. Use spirulina to prepare for this activity and recover quickly and safely afterward.
How To Use Spirulina For Protein In Your Diet
Blue-green algae like spirulina make great protein supplements for your diet. However, it's essential to know the right amount of spirulina to consume daily to avoid side effects such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dizziness and headaches
The National Library of Medicine (NIL) notes that adults can use up to 10 grams of spirulina daily for up to 6 months for maximum benefits. However, take two key precautions before taking spirulina as a supplement:
- Speak to your doctor to see if spirulina is a good fit for your health outcomes. Spirulina may be unsafe to use if you're pregnant or have autoimmune or kidney diseases.
- Always check the label on your spirulina products and follow the recommended guidelines.
Once you get the green light to use spirulina, you can add it to your diet in the following ways:
- Use a green powder like Ensō Supergreens with spirulina as a main ingredient. This way, you get much more health benefits from other components like chlorella, wheatgrass, spinach, moringa, ginger, burdock root, and more.
- Add spirulina to smoothies and fruit juices. It will give your drinks a green color but won't alter the flavors.
- Sprinkle a teaspoon of spirulina powder on oatmeal, soups, broths, stews, and salads for a nutritional boost.
- Mix your green powder with water for a refreshing, natural energy drink without added sugars or caffeine.
What is Spirulina?
Spirulina is a protein-rich blue-green alga, also known as Arthrospira platensis. It's commonly found in oceans in warmer climates and recognized as a superfood.
How much spirulina should I take?
Take spirulina according to your doctor's instructions or recommendations on the product. Ideally, take a maximum of 10 grams per day by mixing it into your smoothies, juices, salads, or oatmeal.
What are the benefits of spirulina?
Although more research is necessary, spirulina may provide the following health benefits:
- Improved blood pressure, blood sugar, and immune system
- Improved heart health due to its cholesterol-reduction properties
- Improved healing due to its anti-inflammatory properties
- Improved muscle and bone health due to its high protein and mineral content
What are the side effects of spirulina?
Spirulina may cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea if taken in excess. In addition, the following groups of people should avoid taking spirulina:
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women
- People who are diagnosed with autoimmune diseases like lupus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- People diagnosed with metabolic conditions like phenylketonuria (PKU)
- Patients taking immune-suppressing drugs like Humira, Neoral, Imuran, or Arava
In these cases, spirulina may interfere with your metabolism or stimulate your immunity, worsening your condition. Otherwise, spirulina is safe for healthy adults looking to optimize their protein intake.
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