Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What Are the Benefits of Spirulina: A Brief Explanation

What is Spirulina? Arthrospira platensis, or commonly referred to as Spirulina is a one-celled cyanobacterium that contains concentrated levels of amino acids and other vitamins and nutrients. Living in alkaline fresh water bodies, the blue green algae has been found to have existed billions of years ago and is recognized in the scientific community as one of the first species to have existed. Spirulina, because of its helix shaped strand, got its name from the Latin word for little spiral. However, even though physically minuscule, the same cannot be said to the huge amounts of nutrients and vitamins that it can provide for the human body. In fact, today, people are using Spirulina as dietary supplements for their everyday consumption. Currently, because of the abundant health benefits it gives, people are now beginning to fully understand what exactly Spirulina is. But before going to the discussion on these said benefits let us first go through the blue green's historical beginnings.

Earliest records of the use of Spirulina can be traced to the Kanembu people in Chad in Africa. Scientists have discovered that as early as the 6th century, they have been using Spirulina as part of their daily regular diet. They would make hardened sundried cakes made of Spirulina, crumble them into tiny pieces and then mix it with fish, meats and vegetables. They would then either keep it for their household consumption or sell it to the nearby market. The ponds around Lake Chad were found to have been the primary source for their cakes which they call dihé. The idea of what Spirulina is was also similar with the Aztecs and some Mesoamericans. Research also shows that until the 16th century, before the Spanish conquest of these civilizations, the aforementioned societies also made Spirulina a part of their daily nutrition. It was found that similar to the Kanembu people, they also made cakes made out of Spirulina. If one would ask them the question "what is Spirulina?" they would quickly answer, "techuitlatl." This was their local name for the blue green algae. However, due to their conquest as well as the rapid development and urbanization, these cakes were no longer part of their nutritional lifestyle. Still, Lake Texcoco, the lake in which they harvested the Spirulina, remains in existence.

Having known the historical background of Spirulina, let us now discuss the health benefits of Spirulina in order for us to fully answer the main question of this article, which is: " What is Spirulina?" According to scientific studies made, Spirulina, when consumed, serves to boost the human body's immune system, helps prevent cancer, controls blood pressure and reduces cholesterol, among others. It has been also been found to aid in treating arsenic poisoning due to contaminated water. This study was made in Bangladesh where safe drinking water is seen as a luxury. In addition, Spirulina is viewed by scientists as a possible treatment to autoimmune diseases such as, but not limited to AIDS, HIV and Lupus. Even so, to know the most well-known use of Spirulina, several health buffs are now taking Spirulina tablets and capsules as a reliable source of protein since it is composed of 60% protein containing all the essential amino acids. Based on these nutritional attributes, no doubt Spirulina deserves its being called a superfood.

Mark Blakey is keen about health and developing human potential. He's a regular writer of Spirulina Superfoods which is a site devoted to blue green algae such as Spirulina along with other Superfoods.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Mark_S_Blakey