Spirulina is an organic, completely natural product that can be found in salt-water lakes and oceans in sub tropical climates. It is a bright blue-green algae sometimes known as cyanbacteria and it is absolutely loaded full of goodness for your body. It is rich in protein, vital amino acids, nutrients and minerals. It also has antioxidant properties meaning it helps to keep your gut healthy and fights nasty bacteria and viruses.
Spirulina is most commonly available as a supplement in the form of tablets or capsules, dried flakes or powder. It has a mild taste not dissimilar to seaweed and the flakes and powders can be incorporated into your regular diet in a number of different ways.
Can Taking Spirulina Really Help Me to Lose Weight?
Two of the effects of Spirulina consumption are a reduced appetite and elevated energy levels. However these things alone will not help you to lose weight. A reduced appetite is no guarantee of reduced or healthy food consumption, nor does additional energy guarantee a person will do more exercise. Eating and exercise habits are responsible for the majority of obesity problems and unless these are controlled then no amount of Spirulina or any other supplement will help you lose weight.
Whilst there is no quick-fix for obesity, there are a number of things that you can do to ensure that your body has the optimum ability to metabolise food and run as effectively as possible. There have been dozens of studies undertaken looking at the effects of Spirulina on weight loss and it is championed by many as an incredible tool to assist in any weight loss journey owing to its high protein content and metabolism-boosting properties.
Spirulina Nutritional Information
As an organic dietary supplement, Spirulina is a huge source of beneficial nutrients including:
- Up to 70% protein
- 10 vitamins including B, C and E
- 18 essential amino acids
- 8 minerals
- Good fatty acids including Omega 3
- Beta-carotene with antioxidant properties
Spirulina contains up to 70% protein which means it is ideal for muscle-building or low-carb diets. High protein diets help you feel fuller for longer, reducing cravings and limiting your desire to snack throughout the day. This is because your body has to work harder to digest proteins, causing your metabolism to speed up. In comparison, carbohydrates and sugars are metabolised much quicker leaving you hungry and in need of energy sooner.
Spirulina is also very low in calories, with only 3.9 calories for every gram of protein. By comparison, beef has around 65 calories for every gram of protein. This makes Spirulina the perfect choice for a calorie-counting diet.
Spirulina has a whole host of other beneficial effects including:
- Probiotics responsible for balancing the good bacteria in your gut.
- Preventing skin cell damage and promoting healing, battling skin conditions and giving you healthier happier skin.
- Anti-inflammatory properties which help against heart disease and some forms of arthritis.
- Allergy prevention. Spirulina prevents histamines and lessens allergy symptoms.
How Can I Incorporate Spirulina Into My Daily Diet?
Spirulina is available in a number of different forms. If you are looking at taking the supplement as a capsule or tablet then it is recommended that you split the dosage between morning, lunchtime and evening and take the tablets before your meals at these times of day. This will ensure a steady supply of protein to your body, keeping your metabolism working and hunger at bay throughout the day.
The flake version is the least popular form and is generally incorporated into salads or main meals.
Using Spirulina powder is the easiest method of incorporating the supplement into your diet if you struggle to swallow capsules or tablets. The powder is very easily mixed into juices and smoothies, and many fitness fans include them in their usual protein-shakes. However the powder can also be incorporated into many different meals, and we have included a few recipes within this article.
A standard daily dose of Spirulina is usually between 2000 to 3000 milligrams taken in 4 to 6 500mg tablets or 4 tablespoons of powder. However it is better to start small and check that you don’t suffer any side effects before moving on to a bigger dose.
Users of Spirulina recommend starting with around 1 tablespoon or two tablets a day for a week and gradually increase the dose if you experience no ill-effects.
Is Spirulina Safe to Eat?
Generally speaking, doctors consider Spirulina to be safe. However there are a few exceptions.
People with particular autoimmune conditions linked to overactive immune systems including lupus and multiple sclerosis, should avoid Spirulina as it is proven to enhance the immune system further. For this reason, Spirulina is not advised for people who are required to take immunosuppressant drugs as it will counteract them. It is also not recommended for people who have had any sort of organ transplant.
Breastfeeding women should avoid Spirulina as there is insufficient research on the effect of Spirulina supplements for this demographic.
It is also imperative that you fully research the source of your Spirulina supplements before taking them to ensure that they are grown in safe conditions and tested for toxins. Some Spirulina that is grown in unsafe conditions has been reported to be contaminated with toxins that could be very harmful. Therefore it is recommended to check the source of your Spirulina before consumption.
It is always strongly advised to consult with your doctor before starting any sort of weight loss plan.
Sample Recipes Using Spirulina
Spirulina Quinoa with Goji Berries and Coconut Flakes
- 4 cups of quinoa prepared in advance
- 2 tbsp of Spirulina powder
- 1 organic cucumber thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp of fennel seeds
- ¼ cup of organic goji berries
- ¼ cup of raw organic shredded and unsweetened coconut flakes
- ½ cup of fresh chopped basil
- Salt to taste
- Cook your quinoa according to the directions on the packet.
- Take 2 cups of dried quinoa (soaked for several hours or overnight), rinse well and add to 4 cups of boiling water in a large pot.
- Reduce heat and let simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.
- Add 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds and stir periodically.
- Turn the heat off, put the lid on the pot and let the quinoa absorb the water and become fluffy.
- Thoroughly mix 2 tablespoons of Spirulina powder into 4 cups of cooled, pre-prepared quinoa.
- Fluff the quinoa and add some salt to taste.
- Soak the goji berries in water, then strain making sure to save the liquid. This juice has heaps of nutritional benefit and is perfect added to a smoothie
- Mix the goji berries into the quinoa, add the sliced cucumbers and mix everything well.
- Top with raw shredded coconut flakes and fresh chopped basil.
- Non GMO pre made corn meal crust
- 2 diced organic tomatoes
- ½ head of broccoli, chopped into small pieces
- ¼ head of cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
- 1 cup of green beans
- Vegan cheese
- 1 tbsp of Spirulina powder
- Oregano and Black Pepper to taste
- Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Spread all the ingredients except the Spirulina over the crust.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and starting to brown.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes then sprinkle with Spirulina.
Recipe via: http://www.nutrex-hawaii.com/super-food-pizza
Vegan Spirulina Spaghetti Squash
- 1 spaghetti squash, cooked and shredded
- 1 can of organic diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp of Spirulina powder
- 1 cup of baby spinach
- ¾ cup of sliced portabello mushrooms
- 1 tbsp of oregano
- 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- Black pepper to taste
- Sauté the tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms in the olive oil until soft.
- Add the oregano and black pepper, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add the Spirulina.
- Pour over pre-warmed spaghetti squash and serve, adding black pepper to taste.
- Using shredded spaghetti squash as a replacement to conventional noodles provides a healthy and nutritious alternative to regular carb-loaded pasta.
Spirulina Summer Smoothie
- 2 bananas, peeled and sliced
- ¼ cup of almonds
- 1 medium apple, cored and chopped
- 2 cups of rice milk
- 1 tsp of Spirulina
- 1 cup of the summer fruit of your choice – blackberries, nectarines, pears and strawberries all work well. You can even combine multiple fruits.
- Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Serve immediately.
Spirulina supplements alone will not provide miracle weight loss, but used in conjunction with maintaining healthy meal choices and a reasonable level of exercise it will certainly be beneficial in tackling obesity.
Keep in mind too that Spirulina is not simply a weight loss aide. As well as speeding up your metabolism and keeping your gut healthy, there are a huge range of other potential benefits.
If you are looking for a way of losing weight whilst providing your body with a much needed organically-produced nutritional boost, then look no further than Spirulina supplements.
With thanks and credit to our sources: