Chia seeds, matcha tea, goji berries and acai - thanks to the popularization of a healthy lifestyle, these superfoods are now in almost every home. Spirulina and chlorella stand out among them. They are not so Instagrammable: you can't make beautiful smoothies or puddings out of them. But their benefits have long been proven, because nutritionists are advised to regularly include these products in the diet. To whom - must, and to whom - with caution? Experts told BeautyHack about this.
What is it and who invented algae
Spirulina is a blue-green alga with 70% protein. If from beef it is absorbed by the body only by 20%, then from this one-celled one - by all 95%. Therefore, it is consumed by many vegetarians. In addition, spirulina contains iron, iodine, potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper, selenium, zinc, vitamins A, K, groups B, E, beta-carotene, linolenic and gamma-linolenic acids, Omega-3 and Omega-6. And also - the blue pigment phycocyanin, a powerful antioxidant and immunomodulator.
Archaeologists and scientists have found that dried seaweed was added to the food of the pharaohs and supreme leaders of the Aztecs. Fortunately, now it is available to absolutely everyone: it is easy to get it, just by filtering water. Spirulina needs light and a high temperature to develop - up to 60 ° C. Interestingly, the body will survive even if, due to the heat somewhere in the desert, the reservoir completely evaporates and cyanobacteria end up on stones under the scorching sun. At the same time, all useful substances in it will be preserved. "Unkillable" algae "transfer" their super properties to the human body - they rejuvenate and help fight ailments, have a detox effect.
Chlorella is also an alga, but even smaller, the oldest plant cell on the planet, its age is more than 2 billion years! The microscopic unicellular was able to survive with the help of two unique skills: to release an antibiotic substance that protects it from harmful bacteria, and, like a bear, to go into hibernation if there is not enough light, heat and generally the apocalypse around. At the same time, chlorella retains a sufficient supply of protein and nutrients for its existence.
The study of it began not so long ago - in the post-war years, when governments were worried about food shortages and the baby boom. Experts predicted that the reserves of protein food may not be enough for everyone. So the professors began to explore possible alternatives. It turned out that the seaweed was quite suitable for the description from the list "Scientists are looking for them": it consists of almost 70% protein (and this is twice as much as in chicken and beef meat, soy), multiplies rapidly, contains vitamins A, C and group B, amino acids, carbohydrates, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus. And by the way, it contains more nutrients than broccoli and spinach.
Due to its size and specific living conditions (lots of light and high temperatures), it is more difficult to obtain than spirulina, so its price is usually higher. Japan and the Philippines are considered ideal cultivation places. But in general it is grown in our country too - back in the 60s, chlorella was added to the food of astronauts.
Weight loss products?
This is how chlorella and spirulina are positioned by many shops and websites. And what, summer, is actual. Especially after the quarantine. Chew on seaweed, grab cheesecakes, sing a latte - and buy clothes one size smaller? They say that if you take them half an hour before meals, the body is saturated with a large amount of proteins, sugar stops jumping, and metabolism improves. In fact, everything, of course, is not so rosy.
Dietitian, Member of the National Society of Dietitians
Neither spirulina, chlorella, nor any other superfood can help you lose weight. They are only effective supplements for an integrated approach to losing weight and improving the body, because they contain a huge amount of trace elements, minerals and vitamins. Yes, due to the high protein content, you may feel like eating less. But still, for an ideal form, you will also need to connect sports and proper nutrition.
What to use
Complete replacement for animal products
Ideal for vegetarians. Due to the fact that there are no cell membranes in spirulina, almost all of its protein is absorbed by the body in just an hour. The same applies to iron - in one gram of algae it is as much as in a whole portion of the liver, and in a spoonful of powder - as in 2 kg of apples. Moreover, cholesterol is several times less than in the same eggs.
Chlorella, in addition to being nutritionally not inferior to meat, also contains a lot of iron, and the vitamin C it contains helps to assimilate this element better.
Supports immunity during stress, allergies and during the period of viruses
If you associate the words “Poplar fluff, heat, July” not only with the late 90s and discos, but also with sneezing, red eyes and a stuffy nose, then spirulina should definitely appear in your diet. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, it helps to neutralize the body's reaction to common allergens: ragweed pollen, poplar fluff, animal hair, house dust. This does not mean that everything will pass immediately. But breathing will clearly become easier.
Chlorella, with poor ecology, stress, diets, throws all its strength into rejuvenation and cell regeneration. It is useful to use it when playing sports - it alkalizes and quickly restores the body.
Both remedies are great for detoxifying and maintaining immunity during sleep deprivation, nervous overeating, during periods of acute respiratory viral infections, flu and other viruses.
Smoothes wrinkles and helps fight cellulite
Chlorella is the savior of beautiful skin, it is famous for its regenerating effect. You can make masks, compresses from it, add to creams. Wounds, postoperative scars, acne scars heal and smoothen faster.
Spirulina improves tone, helps to get rid of small wrinkles and blackheads, and moisturizes. In order to minimize the appearance of cellulite, beauticians advise to do wraps with it.
There are three essential enzymes in spirulina: phycocyanin, chlorophyll and carotenoid. The first helps to "freeze" the development of tumors, the second cleanses the blood and normalizes metabolism, and the third, which is several times more abundant here than in vegetables, protects the body from the harmful effects of free radicals.
Especially "green powder" is useful for smokers and women with poor heredity for breast cancer
Chlorella saturates the body with oxygen, removes toxins, increases the number of natural killer cells - components of the immune system that are critical for the fight against cancer. After a 1990 study at the Tokushima University School of Medicine, the Japanese authorities advised all local residents to take seaweed to maintain health and prevent disease. Also, doctors recommend using it for those undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, to neutralize the harmful effects.
At the same time, doctors remind: these funds should be taken only in combination with full-fledged treatment, always after consulting a doctor.
Removing heavy metals
Algae contains chlorophyll, a champion in detoxification and removal of toxins and toxins. If you are sure that heavy metals inside you have nowhere to come from, then keep in mind: they are found in air, water, food, medicines.
Aluminum, for example, enters the body with foil-baked foods, juices stored in packaging boxes, canned vegetables and fruits from cans. Phosphates are commonly used in the dairy and cheese industries. Lead is contained in the air of large cities - "thanks" to exhaust gases, plant emissions, decomposing batteries.
Reduce cholesterol levels and normalize blood pressure
Both superfoods strengthen the walls of blood vessels, cleanse the cardiovascular system, minimize the content of bad cholesterol in the blood and regulate blood pressure.
Hypertensive patients can drink without fear, but hypotonic patients should observe the body's reaction during the first days of admission
Who definitely shouldn't add to the diet
- pregnant and lactating women, children (only after consulting a doctor),
- people with autoimmune diseases (psoriasis, vitiligo, type I diabetes mellitus, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis and others),
- those who are allergic to iodine and seafood,
- using drugs that suppress immunity,
- people with impaired amino acid metabolism, suffering from phenylketonuria.
- people with a high iron content in the body,
- taking anticoagulants to prevent blood clots,
- suffering from bowel problems and diarrhea,
- women after menopause.
How to use
Both products are most commonly sold in the form of a crushed powder or tablet. The taste is specific, therefore, they are most often used mixed with something.
If you have no contraindications, I advise you not to make a difficult choice, but add both spirulina and chlorella to your diet. They are both useful. First, it is better to drink chlorella in a course - it will remove heavy metals from the body, cleanse the intestines, increase the level of leukocytes in the blood, and generally improve overall health. And only then start taking spirulina, which has a more complex effect. So, alternating three weeks of one, a break for seven days, three weeks for another, you can achieve maximum benefit. The ideal ratio of spirulina to chlorella is 2: 1. That is, 10 and 5 years, respectively. Be sure to drink plenty of water while doing this - you can use lemon to neutralize the taste of algae, which is not pleasant to everyone. You can add superfoods to green spinach, celery, lettuce, apple, and banana smoothies mixed with plain or coconut water.Another great combination is a cocktail of goji berries and Peruvian maca. Antioxidants, a supply of vitamin C, as a result - vigor, easy waking up in the morning and a fresh look. And be sure to remember - if you drink coffee, reschedule your superfood intake. Otherwise, they will not be fully assimilated. Store in a dry, cool, dark place.