Try Spirulina for a Nutrient-Packed Boost

Spirulina’s origins as an algae, dark bluish-green hue and unusual taste are three strikes against it for some people, but those who can get past the unique profile of this popular dietary supplement stand to gain a lot of nutritional power.

Available in powder, tablet and liquid form, it’s rich in high-quality protein along with nutrients and such antioxidants as iron, copper, thiamin, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin, calcium and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

In powdered or liquid form it’s most often combined with water, yogurt and smoothies but can be added to just about any kind of food.

Here’s what you stand to gain:

  • Lower chronic disease risk — Spirulina’s main active ingredient is phycocyanin, which has strong antioxidant properties that fight oxidative damage and the inflammation it creates, which contribute to cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia, asthma and other long-term conditions.
  • Reduced cholesterol and triglyceride levels — “Bad” HDL cholesterol and triglycerides have long been linked with heart disease because they leave fatty deposits in blood vessels and harden arteries. Spirulina brings down your levels of both while also increasing “good” LDL cholesterol and protecting it from oxidation damage.
  • Fewer allergy symptoms — If you struggle with hay fever during one or more seasons, a little spirulina in your life can help to tame it. Studies have suggested it can be effective in reducing sneezing, coughing and other symptoms by blocking histamines, chemicals that can cause an overactive immune response.
  • Decrease in blood pressure — Several studies have pointed to spirulina’s positive effect on both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, especially for people diagnosed with high blood pressure. It’s believed to increase production of nitric oxide, which acts as a signal for your blood vessels to dilate allowing freer flow.
  • Better blood sugar levels — Some studies have shown spirulina can bring down fasting glucose levels in those with diabetes, though more research is needed.