What is Spirulina?

Spirulina is a microscopic algae that grows naturally in fresh alkaline lakes, tropical springs, and salt water. It is on every continent but its highest concentrations can be found in spirulina_1150x1150Mexico, Central Africa and East Africa. It has a rich blue-green colour. Spirulina is very rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and antioxidants. Traditionally, it was used as a food source by the Aztecs but since its rediscovery in 1960’s, it has become a widely popular dietary supplement due to its high vitamin, mineral, and protein concentrations.

Spirulina is an excellent source of protein with good absorbability. Approximately 60 percent of dry weight of spirulina is protein. It also contains B Vitamins, Vitamin E, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, and the essential fatty acid – gamma linolenic acid, which has been known to help reduce cholesterol and prevent heart disease. Spirulina also has ten times more beta-carotene than carrots and thirty times more phytonutrient content than blueberries.

There are a variety of health benefits associated with Spirulina such as boosting the immune system and energy levels, improving digestion, building endurance, cleansing the body, controlling appetite, optimizing cardiovascular function, supporting the liver, and reducing inflammation.

Since Spirulina is such a potent source of vitamins and nutrients, it is considered a superfood and has thus gained much popularity as a dietary supplement. You can consume it as capsules, powder, tablets, or flakes. Spirulina has a strong taste so if taken as powder, it is best to add the powder into fresh juice or mix it into smoothies.

Add this superfood to your morning smoothie, enjoy its vibrant blue green colour and give yourself an energy boost!

Note: People with hyperparathyroidism, serious seafood or seaweed allergies, kidney disease, or phenylketonuria should consult their physician before taking any Spirulina supplements.

Wellness Naturopathic Centre, North Vancouver, BC

http://www.wellnessnaturopathic.com

The information on this website is for education purposes only. It does not substitute for proper assessment and treatment by a licensed health care provider.

Advertisements

Pass the Sea Salt Please

Sea salt and table salt have a similar chemical composition, mainly consisting of the two minerals – sodium and chloride. The significant difference however, is that table salt contains 99.9% sodium chloride, whereas sea salt contains 98% sodium chloride, the remaining 2% consisting of trace minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc and iodine. These minerals make sea salt a healthier, tastier and more nutritious alternative to regular table salt.

Sea salt refers to the unrefined salt that is obtained by evaporating sea water. Due to its little processing, the trace minerals in its composition remain intact, and may differ according to the water source. Usually sea salt comes from the North Sea, the Atlantic Ocean or the Mediterranean Sea. Unlike many table salts, natural sea salt does not contain added anti-caking ingredients or potassium iodide. Sea salt is known for its diverse health benefits. Due to its mineral richness, sea salt helps clear toxins from the body, enhance energy levels, strengthen the immune system, and balance the body’s electrolytes.

Whereas sea salt is obtained from sea water, table salt is obtained from the rock salt found in mineral deposits. In its natural form it contains sodium chloride and other beneficial minerals, but due to its complex refining process, these healthy minerals are lost. Table salt may also chemical additives in order to prevent clumping.

Chemically processed table salt is found in considerable amounts in almost every processed food available. Health Canada recommends that adults consume between 1,500 mg and 2,300 mg of sodium per day. However, recent data from the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey on Nutrition shows that Canadian adults consume an average of 3.092 mg of sodium per day, more than double the recommended level.

Salt has gotten a bad reputation over the years mainly because of its over consumption and being over processed, striped off of the its valuable minerals. In the old days, salt was so precious that in some cultures it was used as payment for wages hence the word “salary”. For optimum health, make sure your diet is balanced and your consumption of sodium is within the recommended levels. Salt in moderation is a good thing, just be sure to choose the sea salt as a healthier alternative to regular table salt.

Wellness Naturopathic Centre, North Vancouver, BC

http://www.wellnessnaturopathic.com

The information on this website is for education purposes only. It does not substitute for proper assessment and treatment by a licensed health care provider.

 

Know Your Dirty Dozen

Knowledge is power. Pesticides are substances commonly sprayed on fruits and vegetables for a better crop but this does not come without a price. Pesticides contain toxins that have adverse effects on health. Some pesticides are known to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing), others can disturb the hormone system and nervous system. Buying organic fruits and vegetables is ideal. But when it’s not possible to buy all organic, and you only have a certain budget for organics, knowing which ones are most contaminated can help you in your selection.

The Environmental Working Group has provided a shopper’s guide 2011, pointing out the 12 most pesticide loaded produce, also known as the “dirty dozen” as well as the “clean fifteen” that is considered the least pesticide contaminated produce.

Here’s the dirty dozen list: apples, strawberries, peaches, domestic nectarines, imported grapes, domestic blueberries, celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, lettuce, and kale/collard greens. The clean fifteen list includes onions, sweet corn, pineapples, avocado, asparagus, sweet peas, mangoes, eggplant, domestic cantaloupe, kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, and mushrooms.

According to Environmental Working Group (EWG), having 5 daily servings from the dirty dozen list, would mean consuming 14 different pesticides per day. Having 5 daily servings from the clean fifteen would mean consuming less than 2 pesticides per day.

Take the list with you on your next grocery trip, and if organic is not affordable or available to you, aim for locally grown produce. Locally grown produce are more fresh and better on the environment because they don’t have to travel as much to get to your dinner table and they are more seasonal which is generally healthier and more in tune with your body. It also supports your local economy and community and of course tastes better!

For more information: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/

Wellness Naturopathic Centre, North Vancouver, BC

http://www.wellnessnaturopathic.com

The information on this website is for education purposes only. It does not substitute for proper assessment and treatment by a licensed health care provider.