Staphylococcus aureus: Understanding the Bacterial Menace

Green and blue spirulina, rich in protein and antioxidants

Green spirulina
An intensive, modern lifestyle presents us with great challenges every day. Lots of work, stress, lack of sunshine and - lately - isolation at home - negatively affect our mood, motivation and health. In this article I will present the benefits of blue spirulina, a preparation that supports our health by providing vitamins, minerals and healthy protein.

Spirulina is the collective name for bacteria that live in fresh and salt water and are distinguished by their intense green or blue color. The color of spirulina results from the content of pigments which convert the energy of the sun in the process of photosynthesis. It was eaten already in Aztec times and the real sensation was aroused in headquarters of space agencies NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). Scientists have found that it is one of the best foods to take into space. Work is now underway to make spirulina a renewable food source in space.

On the other hand, spirulina could become a solution to world hunger. It occurs naturally in large quantities in still waters and has ideal conditions to grow precisely in countries suffering from economic problems, such as Chad, Kenya, Ethiopia and Mexico.

It is also used as a colorant - it has recently been approved as a food additive in the United States. The blue colorant from spirulina is commonly used to color candy, and applications are also being worked on for coloring other products like ice cream and jellies. Due to its low stability in acidic environments, it is difficult to come across spirulina colored drinks today, perhaps this will change in the future.

What is the difference between green spirulina and blue spirulina?

Green spirulina is the primary, widely distributed form of spirulina. It is grown in water tanks under controlled conditions, then fished out, dried and ground. 

Blue spirulina is an extract from green spirulina, containing very high amount of phycocyanin. This substance resembles in appearance Prussian blue and copper sulfate. Phycocyanin supports the functioning of the body in many ways:

  • Removes free radicals
  • Reduces the risk of inflammation
  • Improves body regeneration (this is why spirulina is loved by athletes)
  • Increases the feeling of satiety
  • Purifies the body
  • Improves immunity

Blue spirulina contains slightly less (but still a lot) of protein than its green relative

Blue spirulina
What properties can be found in spirulina?

Spirulina contains about 66% protein (many times more than dairy), most of the essential amino acids. Some varieties of spirulina have a protein ratio almost perfectly matching the FAO model protein for adults, except for lysine. 

One teaspoon of spirulina provides about 11% of the body's daily requirement for iron, 21% for copper, as well as protein and vitamin B.

What are the health benefits of green and blue spirulina?

Dietary supplementation - spirulina is a great dietary supplement for vegetarians and vegans as it prevents protein deficiencies. It is worth using it supportively on days when you have less time to eat a nutritious meal. I would think about including it in the diet in weakened states, during convalescence. Unfortunately, however, nothing can replace a proper diet.

Easier weight loss - spirulina is a real shot of valuable substances having positive influence on metabolism. It contains natural vitamins B, which support metabolism. Taking spirulina half an hour before a meal can be a good solution.

Better mood - B vitamins give you energy and make it easier for you to wean off caffeine. Thanks to spirulina, you will make up the deficiencies of substances necessary for good mood.

Slower aging - spirulina, especially blue one, is packed with antioxidants that inhibit the aging process. This process happens both at the skin level, making it easier to maintain a youthful appearance, and intracellularly. 

Lower cholesterol levels - blue spirulina probably enables you to maintain normal cholesterol levels, and also makes LDL cholesterol stop oxidizing, which reduces its harmfulness

How to take spirulina?

The best solution is to dissolve it in a food, such as a smoothie, oatmeal or even honey (immediately before consumption). Natural spirulina may have a smell reminiscent of a pond or lake, but it usually disappears after dissolving the product. If it bothers you, you can choose spirulina in capsules. Blue spirulina has the advantage that it has no unpleasant smell.