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by Erika Albertini, PT, DPT June 05, 2024 5 min read

What Does Spirulina Do for the Body?

If you’ve been browsing health food stores or diving into wellness blogs, you’ve likely encountered the term Spirulina . This vibrant blue-green algae has been touted as a superfood for good reason! Let’s dive into what Spirulina can do for your body and why it might be a fantastic addition to your diet.

A Protein Powerhouse

Spirulina is an impressive 60-70% protein, making it one of the most protein-dense plant sources available. A single tablespoon of dried Spirulina powder contains 4 grams of protein, which makes it an excellent option for vegetarians, vegans, or anyone looking to boost their protein intake without relying heavily on meat or dairy. 

 

Rich in Vital Nutrients

Beyond its protein content, Spirulina is packed with a range of essential nutrients: [One tablespoon (7 grams) of dried spirulina powder]

  • Thiamin (Vitamin B1): 14% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 20% of the DV
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3): 6% of the DV
  • Copper: 47% of the DV
  • Iron: 11% of the DV
  • Small amounts of magnesium, potassium, and manganese
  • Only 20 calories and less than 2 grams of carbohydrates
  • Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids 

These nutrients are crucial for maintaining healthy cellular function, energy production, and overall vitality.

Powerful Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties

The main active compound in Spirulina is phycocyanin, which gives it its unique blue color. Phycocyanin has impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, helping fight oxidative stress and inflammation. This can aid in protecting cells from damage and reducing the risk of chronic diseases (Forbes Health, 2024).

Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels

Spirulina may help improve your cholesterol profile by:

  • Lowering total cholesterol
  • Reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • Decreasing triglycerides
  • Increasing HDL (good) cholesterol

These factors contribute to heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, making Spirulina a heart-friendly addition to your diet (Healthline, 2024).

Boosting Brain Health

Studies suggest that Spirulina can significantly benefit brain health. Its consumption has been linked to improved cognitive function and protection against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. This is attributed to its high antioxidant content, which helps reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain (Trotta et al., 2022).

Supporting Immune Health

Spirulina’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties extend to the immune system as well. It can enhance immune function, helping the body fend off infections and recover more efficiently from illnesses and intense exercise. This makes it a popular choice among athletes and fitness enthusiasts looking to maintain their health and performance (Finamore et al., 2017).

Anemia Prevention

The iron content in Spirulina supports red blood cell production and helps prevent anemia. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with iron deficiency or those at risk of anemia, such as pregnant women and vegetarians (Organic Facts, 2024).

Muscle Strength and Recovery

Spirulina's high protein content and essential amino acids contribute to muscle growth, strength , and recovery, making it an excellent supplement for those looking to enhance their physical performance and recovery post-exercise (Examine, 2024). Spirulina is particularly beneficial for athletes and those engaging in regular physical activity (Lafarga et al., 2020).

A redheaded fit woman flexing her bicep with a smile.

Spirulina helps contribute to muscle growth…yes, please!

Glucose Management

Some studies suggest Spirulina may help regulate blood sugar levels, making it beneficial for individuals with diabetes. It can enhance insulin sensitivity and help maintain stable blood glucose levels (Live Science, 2024).

How to Incorporate Spirulina into Your Diet

So, how can you enjoy the benefits of Spirulina? Here are some easy and delicious ways to add this superfood to your diet:

  • Super Greens Powders: One of the most convenient ways to consume Spirulina is through super greens powders. These blends often combine Spirulina with other nutrient-dense greens, providing a comprehensive boost of vitamins and minerals. Rewind Greens offers a great-tasting super greens powder that makes getting your daily dose of Spirulina easy and enjoyable. Simply mix a scoop into your water, smoothie, or juice for a quick nutrient fix. Find out more about what’s in Rewind Greens super greens here .
  • Green Juice: Adding Spirulina to your green juice is another excellent option. It blends well with ingredients like spinach, kale, and apples, enhancing the nutritional profile of your drink.
  • Smoothies: A spoonful of Spirulina powder can be easily blended into your morning smoothie, providing a vibrant color and a significant nutritional kick.
  • Capsules and Tablets: For those who prefer to avoid dealing with the taste or color of Spirulina powder, capsules and tablets are a convenient alternative. They offer all the benefits of Spirulina in a hassle-free form.
A man looking down into his green juice about to take a sip.

Rewind Greens super greens is a great tasting way to get your Spirulina daily!

Conclusion

Incorporating Spirulina into your diet is a simple and effective way to boost your overall health. Spirulina offers many benefits, from enhancing brain function and supporting the immune system to detoxifying the body and boosting energy levels. Whether you enjoy it in a super greens powder, a green juice, or a tablet, this nutrient-packed algae is a powerful ally in your journey to better health.

So, the next time you’re at the health food store, consider picking up some spirulina. Your body will thank you! 

 

FAQs About Spirulina: What Does Spirulina Do for the Body?

1. What is Spirulina, and why is it considered a superfood?

Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae highly regarded as a superfood due to its rich nutritional content. It is packed with essential nutrients, including a high protein content (60-70%), vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats, contributing to its numerous health benefits, such as boosting energy levels and supporting overall health.

2. How does Spirulina support muscle growth and recovery?

Spirulina is an excellent source of protein, containing 4 grams of protein per tablespoon (7 grams). This high protein content supports muscle repair and growth, making it particularly beneficial for athletes and those who engage in regular physical activity. Its essential amino acids also contribute to enhanced muscle strength and recovery post-exercise.

3. Can Spirulina help improve my cholesterol levels?

Yes, Spirulina can positively impact cholesterol levels by lowering total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol. It also helps decrease triglycerides and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. These effects support heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, making Spirulina a heart-friendly addition to your diet.

4. What are the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of Spirulina?

The main active compound in Spirulina, phycocyanin, provides powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. These properties help combat oxidative stress and inflammation, protecting cells from damage and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. This makes Spirulina beneficial for overall cellular health and longevity.

5. How can I incorporate Spirulina into my diet?

There are several easy and delicious ways to add Spirulina to your diet:

  • Super Greens Powders: Mix a scoop of Spirulina-rich powder, like Rewind Greens, into water, smoothies, or juice for a quick nutrient boost.
  • Green Juice: Blend Spirulina with ingredients like spinach, kale, and apples to enhance your juice’s nutritional profile.
  • Smoothies: Add a spoonful of Spirulina powder to your morning smoothie for a vibrant color and nutritional kick.
  • Capsules and Tablets: Opt for Spirulina capsules or tablets for a hassle-free way to enjoy its benefits without dealing with its taste or color.

Citations

  • Lafarga T, Fernández-Sevilla JM, González-López C, Acién-Fernández FG.  Spirulina for the food and functional food industries. Food Res Int. 2020 Nov  1;137. 
  • Finkel Z V., Follows MJ, Liefer JD, Brown CM, Benner I, Irwin AJ. Phylogenetic  Diversity in the Macromolecular Composition of Microalgae. PLoS One. 2016 May  1;11(5).  
  • Trotta T, Porro C, Cianciulli A, Panaro MA. Beneficial Effects of Spirulina  Consumption on Brain Health. Nutrients. 2022 Feb 1;14(3).  
  • Finamore A, Palmery M, Bensehaila S, Peluso I. Antioxidant, Immunomodulating,  and Microbial-Modulating Activities of the Sustainable and Ecofriendly Spirulina.  Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017;2017.

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