In this fast paced world, making sure that you meet all the nutritional requirements of your body can be a daunting task. One solution around this problem is to make super food algae chlorella a part of your diet. Chlorella or Chlorella vulgaris, a single celled green alga is one of the most nutritious whole foods and widely used supplements that provide innumerable health benefits to your body. It is high in protein and packed with numerous essential nutrients, which makes it a wonderful food source. Not only does this simple organism offer health benefits, it is also helpful in fighting many kinds of diseases and ailments. Chlorella or chlorilla grows in fresh water and because of its rising demand it is mass cultivated and marketed in the form of supplements and medicines.
Chlorella Nutrition Facts
When considering the chlorella nutrition facts, it is amazing to know how much of nutrients this small super food algae can hold. It is in fact a store house of protein, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. Chlorella has high amounts of vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C and vitamin E. It also contains a large number of minerals like calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc, sulfur and potassium. Chlorella is rich in essential amino acids that help in many of the bodily functions. This alga contains chlorophyll that gives it the beautiful green color. Chlorophyll is beneficial to us in that it helps to improve the immune system and fight diseases. In dried form it contains about 45% by weight of protein, 20% each of fat and carbohydrates, 5% dietary fibers and 10% of vitamins and minerals.
Processed chlorella like chlorella tablets or chlorella supplements or liquid extract may have different nutritional value. Chlorella growth factor (CGF) is often referred to nutritional value of chlorella extracts containing amino acids, vitamins, minerals and other phytochemicals which enables it to grow rapidly in presence of light; it can quadruple in quantity in a day. Higher the CGF higher is the nutritional density. Nutritional value of chlorella varies significantly according to harvesting and processing methodologies. Variation could be very high, so choose your chlorella after ensuring the quality.
Health benefits of chlorella
Being a rich source of nutrients, chlorella can offer you many health benefits. Some of chlorella health benefits are described below:
Chlorell improves digestion
Chlorella promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in your digestive tract which aids in digestion. The nutrients, fiber and chlorophyll present in this alga cleanse your system and get rid of the bad bacteria in your stomach. This helps in easy digestion and aids in the better absorption of nutrients by your body. The fiber in chlorella helps to normalize your bowel movements and prevent constipation and other digestive problems.
Chlorella boosts your immune system
Chlorella improves your immune system by increasing the activity of macrophages and T cells. The antioxidants, chlorella growth factor (CGF), vitamins and minerals in chlorella provide support to your immune system in fighting and destroying the diseases causing microbes.
Chlorell detoxifies your body
Your body is constantly exposed to toxins from air, water, food and even many of the products that you use. It is important to protect yourself from these toxins to avoid falling ill. Chlorella is an amazing food source that has the power to combine with these toxins like heavy metals and chemicals, and remove them from your body. The high level of chlorophyll in chlorella helps to purify your blood and cleanse your bowels. It also ensures proper functioning of your kidneys and liver.
Chlorella and cure for Cancer
The process of oxidation in cells is a major factor that can lead to cancer. Chlorella is rich in natural carotenoids and other antioxidants that can eliminate the harmful free radicals from your body and prevent oxidation. Moreover, this alga detoxifies your body and boosts your immune system, further reducing your risks of cancer.
Chlorella helps to relieve fatigue induced by chemotherapy
Fatigue and weakness are common problems that affect cancer patients following chemotherapy treatment. Although chemotherapy helps in removing the cancer cells, it also removes some of the good cells in your body. This leads to considerable inhibition of your immune system. One of the advantages of chlorella is that helps to increase the number of white blood cells which in turns reduces fatigue caused by chemotherapy.
Chlorella is a brain food
Chlorella contains most of the important nutrients that your brain needs to function properly. Since it helps to boost your memory, chlorella is often referred to as Brain food. Chlorella is a very rich source of nucleotides and nucleosides that helps to maintain a healthy nervous system. It is also a source of phosphatidylserine (PS), which revives the cell membranes and cells of the brain. Studies reveal that PS offers many benefits like improving memory, alleviating depression, improving learning abilities, and slowing down of memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Boost your energy with chlorella
The high amount of protein, chlorophyll and iron in Chlorella can raise the level of haemoglobin in the blood and hence help to improve the supply of oxygen to all the cells in your body. Proper oxygen supply ensures that you stay energetic. Not only is chlorella a whole food, it also contains sugars like rhamnose and mannose that are energy giving.
Chlorella reduces high blood pressure
Chlorella may have the ability to lower blood pressure. Studies conducted in Japan showed that patients who were given 1.5 grams of chlorella daily for about 6 months had significant reduction in their blood pressure. A number of other studies have also underlined the fact that chlorella is effective in lowering high blood pressure without causing any kind of side effects in the patients.
Chlorella algae improves cardiovascular health
Studies reveal that chlorella can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, both of which are factors that increases the risk of heart attacks. The oxidation process that takes place in cells can sometimes lead to the build-up of plaque in the arteries. The high content of chlorophyll and antioxidants in chlorella help to fight against free radicals and thus reduces the damages caused by oxidation. Chlorella is a rich source of magnesium that helps to ensure normal functioning of the heart, regulation of blood pressure, and the contraction and relaxation of muscles.
Chlorella algae supplements has anti-aging properties
Since chlorella contains powerful antioxidants, such as vitamin C, Vitamin E, selenium, chlorophyll and carotenoids, it is very effective in fighting the free radicals in your body and in preventing premature ageing. Ageing happens mainly due to reduced levels of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA). Chlorella is in fact one of the food sources that provides the highest levels of nucleic acids. Chlorella also provides the necessary nutrition to the cells as a result of which the aging process is slowed down.
Chlorella promotes wound healing
Chlorella has high amount of chlorella growth factor (CGF) and chlorophyll that helps to speed up wound healing when applied topically. It also stimulates the production of fibroblasts that help your body to heal and repair wounds. Studies have revealed that chlorella growth factor increases the rate of cell reproduction which promotes faster wound healing. In Japan, several cases of ulcers that could not be cured with medicines were found to be healed by giving chlorella and CGF orally to the patients.
Algae Chlorella helps in weight management
Chlorella helps to maintain a healthy weight by providing high levels of essential nutrients to the body and by reducing eating binges and food cravings. The magnesium and B vitamins in chlorella help to control appetite and to reduce cravings for food. Gama linolenic acid (GLA) present in chlorella reduces carbohydrate binging by regulating the blood sugar levels and controlling insulin levels. Chlorella satiates your appetite by offering the necessary amount of nutrients and energy. Moreover, it also cleanses your digestive tract and ensures the optimal functioning of your digestive system.
Chlorella and diabetes
Diabetes is sometimes referred to by doctors as a magnesium deficiency condition. Studies indicate that reduced levels of magnesium in the body can increase your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes by around 30%. Chlorella, being a rich source of magnesium, can help to control your blood sugar levels.
Chlorella for pregnant women
Chlorella is a wonderful supplement for pregnant ladies and breast feeding mothers. The high nutrient content such as amino acids, fiber, vitamins, minerals and proteins in chlorella, offers excellent nutrition for the growth and development of the fetus.
Chlorella helps in relieving arthritis
The large array of antioxidants, including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, chlorophyll, selenium, and carotenoids in Chlorella help to fight arthritis by nullifying the effect of the harmful free radicals. It is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acid that can ease the symptoms of arthritis in addition to providing relief from muscle pain and muscle stiffness. Glucosamine which is present in the outer cell wall of this alga helps in the regeneration of tendons, ligaments and cartilage.
Chlorella can prevent allergies
Studies show that the chlorella growth factor inhibits the production of Immunoglobulin E (IgE) and thus prevent IgE mediated allergies. Moreover, the high levels of antioxidants in this alga help to reduce the effect of free radicals on allergies.
Chlorella benefits for skin
Chlorella is rich in lysine that stimulates the production of collagen and allows you to have younger looking skin. Chlorella also contains nucleic acids that help to repair your skin and protect it from the harmful effects of free radicals that may cause early signs of aging. The antioxidants in chlorella help in removing wrinkles and fine lines.
Chlorella side effects
Chlorella is considered safe for short term use. It may cause minor gastrointestinal trouble as side effects like diarrhea, flatulence, green stools, stomach cramps and others. Allergic reaction and breathing problems have been reported in some. Chlorella makes skin sensitive to light and allergic reaction to people sensitive to iodine. Chlorella modulates body immunity and people with background of Immunodeficiency or Autoimmune diseases should be careful.
Although chlorella is a nutritious whole food, the quality of this food can vary significantly depending on the way it has been cultivated, harvested and processed. So it is important to use good quality products that are obtained from reliable and reputed sources. The best quality chlorella is a super nutrient and is often referred to as nature’s super food.Image Credits: Charles University in Prague, Wikimedia