You probably don’t spend much time worrying that you may not be getting enough freshwater blue-green algae in your diet, but we hope to change that. Given that most of us don’t follow the healthiest of diets, there is space on this list for a natural supplement that can boost your intake of the right nutrients. Spirulina is basically pond scum, a natural “algae”, high in protein, antioxidants, and B-Vitamins, but is dried and completely safe to eat when you buy it in shops. Its cousin Chlorella shares most of the same benefits, but it sounds too similar to the disease to recommend it.
However, if it’s on special in the health food aisle, go for it. Spirulina has a broad range of health benefits. With regard to the heart, it helps reduce blood pressure problems and repairs the endothelial cells which line the blood vessels and are easily damaged. It will also reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. Its ability to clean up clogged arteries means that the risk of a stroke is also reduced. Nutrient-dense, protein-rich (it is 70% protein by weight), foods like spirulina take more energy to metabolize, and will, therefore, help reduce weight. It also seems to reduce hunger pangs, particularly among overweight people.
It extracts sugar from your cells, boosting your energy levels, and may also repair brain cell damage, improve memory and general cognitive function. Other benefits include its ability to extract dangerous heavy metals from our bodies. While Westerners may worry about absorbing mercury from fish, Asians are often troubled by arsenic found in river water. It also helps balance the microbiome in the gut, thereby combatting thrush and similar infections and works to lower blood sugar levels. As always, speak to your doctor before adding supplements to your diet, and make sure you buy high-quality supplements from a reputable supplier.