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Spirulina (scientific name: Arthrospira platensis), one of the oldest inhabitants of the planet is a tiny single-celled spiral shaped blue-green algae. It is found in mineral-rich lakes, ponds, rivers, often near volcanoes. It smells and tastes similar to seaweed. It is rich in many important nutrients making it an excellent health supplement for preventing many diseases.
Spirulina contains various nutrients like proteins (dried spirulina contains around 60%), vitamins (Vitamins A, K, E and B complex), minerals (manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium), cartenoids (beta-carotene and yellow xanthophylls) that have antioxidant properties and gamma linolenic acid (an essential fatty acid). It is also rich in chlorophyll. Spirulina has no cellulose in its cell wall, thus enabling its nutrients to be well assimilated by the body.
The beneficial effects of spirulina are reduced by high temperatures, moisture and pollution. Store in air-tight containers. Keep as cold as possible, never expose to light except while in use. Can also keep refrigerated in air tight glass jar / bottle. Keep away from any heat source, sun or strong light. Once packaging is opened, it is recommended to use the spirulina within 3 months.
HOW TO CONSUME
Spirulina is available in tablet, flake and powder forms. Add powder to fruit or vegetable juices or to your dishes like soups, salads, pasta or yoghurt. Make fresh lemon juice; add tsp of spirulina, stir and drink. Spirulina capsules / tablets can be had any time of the day. Dosage is 4-6 tablets (500mg each) per day. Tablets must be taken with hot or cold water (avoid taking with tea, coffee, juices, etc.). It is recommended to consume extra half liter of water per day after taking spirulina to help the body absorb it well.
It is very important to buy a spirulina from a reputable and trusted brand.
There is a possibility of side effects and interactions with certain medications; hence it is advisable to take dietary supplements of spirulina under the supervision of a health care provider.
If pregnant or nursing, talk to the doctor before taking spirulina.
Avoid spirulina in case of any autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis since spirulina stimulates the immune system which might worsen the condition. People the metabolic condition of phenylketonuria (PKU) must avoid spirulina since the body cannot metabolize the amino acid phenylalanine which is present in spirulina.
Do not give spirulina to children without consulting a doctor.
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