Spirulina is a form of blue-green algae that is considered by many to be one of the next big health food crazes of the future. Not only is spirulina filled with vitamins and minerals, but it is also an incredibly environmentally friendly food, which is very high in protein. In this article we are going to take a look at some of the main benefits of spirulina.
Benefit #1 Spirulina is a great vegan-friendly source of protein
100g of dried spirulina contains 57.47g of protein. Gram for gram, that is double the protein of steak! Of course, nobody is eating 100g of dried spirulina, but this should give you an indication of how high in protein this food is. That 100g of dried spirulina would also contain just 290 calories. It would take 500 calories worth of steak to provide the same amount of protein.
But unlike steak, spirulina is completely vegan-friendly. This will please people who are on a plant-based diet, as spirulina blows most of the plant-based protein competition out of the water when it comes to protein density.
The amino acid profile of spirulina is very varied, we’re not going to talk too much about this here but a common myth about plant-based protein is that it doesn’t contain a variety of amino acids in the same way that an omnivore’s diet would.
Benefit #2 Spirulina is a fantastic source of iron
Iron has many benefits, particularly to pregnant women or women who are menstruating. Consuming foods that are high in iron can be very beneficial. Usually, these foods are either animal-based or from grains. Spirulina contains a lot of iron. Again, we’ll use that 100g measurement. 100g of spirulina contains 219% of your daily recommended intake of iron.
Benefit #3 Spirulina is high in B Vitamins
B vitamins are commonly found in meat, and as such vegetarians and vegans can often find themselves slightly deficient in these important vitamins. Spirulina is an excellent source of B vitamins and should be part of any vegan diet for this reason alone.
Benefit #4 Spirulina may have a wide range of health benefits
Research into the health benefits of spirulina is in its infancy, so there are many claims about spirulina that are currently being investigated. There may also be a wide range of benefits that haven’t even been considered yet! A 2014 study in the Journal of Oral Research and Review looked into the potential benefits of spirulina for treating oral cancer . The study stated that spirulina can:
“Boost the immune system and enhance the body’s ability to generate new blood cells to prevent disease and cancer”
This should be taken with a pinch of salt. The study is not saying that spirulina can prevent cancer, it just says that it can increase your blood cell count which could indirectly help to prevent cancer. But still, this is encouraging. Hopefully more research will begin to look into this in the future.
Benefit #5 Spirulina is environmentally friendly
These days, a lot of people are looking at ways to increase their protein intake as there are many benefits associated with doing so. However, we are now more aware of the ecological impact of doing so than ever before.
Whether you are a meat-eater or a vegan, you would probably agree that finding a protein source that requires less land and water to produce is a good thing. Spirulina is a great example of this. Very high in protein, very easy to grow, and doesn’t require massive deforestation to produce.
Adding spirulina to your diet is a no-brainer. It is full of vitamins and minerals (and one serving will count towards your daily fruit and veg intake), and high in protein. In powdered form it can mix easily with water (and can also be easily flavoured). This means it can be taken alongside a healthy breakfast or as a snack. It is environmentally and vegan-friendly. Yet will provide meat eaters with many health benefits too.