One of the oldest type of bacteria that is known to people is spirulina: a single cell organism with a spiral physical configuration that comes from the blue green freshwater algae called cyanobacteria.
In the past, Aztecs used it for endurance in their marathon runs and to treat various disease. In the modern world spirulina is used as a potent supplement and NASA even proposed for it to be grown in space as food of astronauts.
Just like plants, cyanobacteria can produce energy from sunlight via a process called photosynthesis, the effects of which give spirulina it’s unique properties. Spirulina contains a high amount of micronutrients (B1, B2, B3, Copper, Iron etc) and the full spectrum of essential aminoacids; this is why it is considered a complete protein.
Spirulina also contains antioxidants, called phycocyanins and chlorophyll, that give the algae it’s blue-green colour and can protect against oxidative damage by neutralising the effect of the free radicals.
In a recent review, spirulina was shown to help participants with type 2 diabetes lower their level of LDL cholesterol, while raising their (“good”) HDL cholesterol. On top of that, the antioxidants in spirulina help reduce the lipid peroxidation of LDL cholesterol, and thus protect against cardiovascular disease risk.
This superfood may also:
- have anti-cancer properties, according to several studies on patients with oral and lung cancers
- reduce blood pressure if consumed in doses of 4.5 grams
- and ease allergic rhinitis with just 2 grams a day
The algae even helps with human biochemistry. In a study of 40 older people with a history of anemia, spirulina supplements were shown to increase the hemoglobin content of red blood cells and improve immune function.
Antioxidants in spirulina can therefore be the solution to reduce exercise-induced oxidative damage, which is a major contributor to muscle fatigue. So spirulina is not only extra healthy, but can also contribute to a better lifestyle.
And don’t forget: if you want to become an astronaut, you can get your spirulina from our Waterworld, savory liquid meal smoothie.