Spirulina is a type of algae commonly found floating on top of ponds, it is spiral-shaped and has a deep blue-green hue which is immediately recognisable, yet inside it are amazing nutritious benefits, including being a medicine that cures a number of diseases.
Private Kamanzi, a dietician at Amazon Wellness Centre, Remera, says that spirulina is rich in proteins and contains over 60 nutritional substances that are easily absorbed by the body and help in fighting malnutrition.
He adds that some vegetarians have been missing out some food nutrients in animal origin food, but they can get all those nutrients in spirulina at a fair price.
“Spirulina is a source of Vitamin B complex, Vitamin 6, Vitamin 9, and has micro nutrients the body needs, you should take only four grams of spirulina a day, whether tablets or powder, you can add one tea spoon of spirulina in your food, or tea, or make juice out of it,” Kamanzi explains.
Rwigema Kayitare, a nutritionist at Spirulina Corporation Limited Masaka, says mothers who breastfeed need to take spirulina in order to stimulate breast milk.
He adds that spirulina is rich in Vitamin A (it is important for normal vision); iron (helps in making and maintaining healthy red blood cells, and promoting the transfer of oxygen around the body).
Kamanzi says that spirulina should be a daily food for diabetic patients, and those with hypertension, as it boosts the immune system.
Kayitare says that spirulina contains ingredients that boost the brain, it is also a natural antioxidant — the natural molecules that help neutralise harmful radicals in our bodies.
Spirulina improves the digestive system and gastrointestinal tract; but also balances the body’s PH level, lowers blood cholesterol level, reduces food craving and insulin intakes, Kayitare says.
Kamanzi says that spirulina absorbs contaminants, so taking it daily may be helpful in detoxifying the body of harmful pollutants such as arsenic. It has 70 per cent proteins, five to eight per cent lipid, five to ten per cent carbohydrates, five to 12 per cent of dietary fibre.
Spirulina is rich in linoleic acids and Vitamin B12 (supports energy, protects the heart, prevents nerve damage, improves mood and outlook, contains abundant natural pigments like green chlorophyll (controls body odour, protects DNA against fried food, promising potential for cancer therapy, relieves systemic redness and swelling, encourages healing) and contains yellow phycocyanin and orange yellow carotenoid helpful for protecting vision and combating cellular damage.
Spirulina contains a healthy profusion of vitamin and minerals but it may be effective as a natural allergy treatment. It is especially recommended for athletes, the elderly, patients, women, children, during slimming diets or nutritional deficiencies.
According to early research, spirulina helps in lowering blood pressure, reduces overall cholesterol levels while protecting HDL cholesterol, boosts energy almost immediately and is a natural detoxifier as it helps cleanse your body of toxins and impurities.
Kamanzi says that one gram of spirulina is equivalent to 25 grams of carrots,30 grams of fish, 27.5 apples, 1/4 kilograms of green peas, 1/2 bananas, 150grams of tomatoes,1/2 strawberries, 300 grams of chicken, 2 cabbages, 300mls of milk or eggs, 150 grams of rice, 20grams of potato,10 grams of grapes, and one lemon.
Researchers also discovered that the spirulina supplementation lowered intimal aorta surface by 33 per cent to 48 per cent, which suggests that it can prevent atherosclerosis and subsequent stroke. It also promotes the growth of healthy bacterial flora in the intestines, which in turn hinders Candida from thriving.
Kayitare urges that spirulina reduces fatigue, provides exceptional support for the heart, liver, and kidneys, helps in oxygenating blood, and it is also a natural appetite suppressant.