There still seems to be an ongoing misconception that plant sources are inadequate when it comes to protein, especially complete protein.
That is to say, you can’t get all 9 essential amino acids from plants.
These 9 amino acids are necessary for life and can only be obtained from a healthy, balanced diet since your body can’t produce them on its own.
While it’s true that most vegetables you tend to eat don’t present themselves as complete single sources of protein, you can still get all your amino acids by eating a varied selection of plant-based foods.
Even taking this into consideration, there are a few plants that are actually complete single sources of protein.
On, in particular, is spirulina, but before we go into that, let’s consider what the benefits of getting your protein from plants are.
Benefits of Plant Protein
Plant proteins are just as effective as animal-based proteins, after all, where do you think animals get their proteins from.
It’s also a bit of a silly misconception to think plant protein is somehow inferior to the animal-sourced variety when you realize that amino acids, the building blocks of protein, are the same chemical structure whether you get them from plants or animals.
Added to this, plants come packed with more essential micronutrients and healthy fats than animal-based food.
This couldn’t be truer for spirulina, one of the most protein and nutrient-dense foods known to the human diet
What Is Spirulina?
Spirulina is a strain of blue-green algae that is harvested from the sea. It’s actually a plant-like form of bacteria known as cyanobacteria.
It forms part of the foundation of the marine ecosystem and is thus ground zero for many important nutrients and ecosystem inputs.
Because of this it is a super nutrient-dense food and is often referred to as a superfood.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the best benefits of spirulina for your health and give you insight as to why you might want to include it in your daily nutrition plan
Top 6 Health Benefits of Spirulina
1. Dense Source of Complete Protein
When it comes to protein sources, plants often get a bad rap as being woefully inadequate. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
All you need to do is look at spirulina, one of the most basic forms of plant life on the planet that manages to pack a protein density higher than any natural animal-based food.
Spirulina comes in at between 50 to 70% bioavailable complete protein!
That’s a concentration that rivals processed protein supplements such as whey and collagen.
Making spirulina part of a plant-based diet allows as much of an opportunity for abundant protein intake as any animal-based diet
2. Cholesterol Balancing
Spirulina has been shown to help balance cholesterol.
We say balance rather than lower because the fact of the matter is you do need cholesterol, but you, of course, need the good kind.
The good kind of cholesterol is called HDL or high-density lipoprotein. This form of cholesterol promotes healthy circulation by shunting the bad kind, LDL or low-density lipoprotein out of your blood vessels where it can cause damage. This makes spirulina good for your heart.
Spirulina’s activity with managing cholesterol also means hormone production is optimized due to the fact that HDL is essential in the production of many important hormones
3. Blood Sugar Management
Spirulina has been shown to help manage blood glucose levels.
This is great especially from those suffering from type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes.
The effect of managing blood sugar levels also limits oxidative stress which ramps up the appearance of signs of aging
4. Great Source of Essential Nutrients
Aside from being very protein-dense, spirulina has an incredible essential nutrient profile.
Because of this, it is often described as a superfood and rightfully so.
Here are some of the nutrient benefits you can expect to gain from spirulina:
Vitamin B (various)
Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids
Looking at the above nutrient profile of spirulina, it’s no surprise that this food is a super potent antioxidant.
It ranks as one of the most powerful antioxidant agents, which is essential for the following reasons:
Limits the signs and effects of aging
Protects cells and tissues
Boosts immune function
6. Natural Detox
Aside from being a powerful antioxidant, clearing your body from free radicals, spirulina also has a profound effect on general detoxification.
We are increasingly exposed to toxins both from our environment, the products we use and the food we eat.
Harsh chemicals, some of which increase the risk of cancer known as carcinogens are more common than ever due to the effects of industry.
Heavy metals such as arsenic and mercury are found in trace amounts in our food due to pollution and modern agriculture.
Over time these toxins build up in our bodies and reduce the quality of life we experience.
Spirulina is not just a great food full of essential nutrients, it has also been shown to act as an amazing detox agent, helping clean out or the nasty chemicals we are so often exposed to.
There we go, spirulina and just a few of its amazing benefits.
You can pick up spirulina at most health food stores either in its dried powder form or in convenient capsules.
We would recommend the capsules since the one thing spirulina doesn’t seem to have going for it is the taste.
But when added to smoothies, that doesn’t seem to be much of a problem, so drink up and stay healthy.