It is a necessity to have a proper diet to always stay healthy, as it is said you are what you eat. The type of diet we use and the kind of food we consume impacts on our bodies. The kind of food you consume plays a significant role in the amount of energy your body burns since dietary –induced thermogenesis accounts for almost ten percent of the energy in our foods. The diet struggle is real for those who intend to lose some weight. Well, worry no more, because superfoods are here to help you get your desired weight. Superfoods are the current in-thing in natural health, and for an excellent reason. They are nutrient dense foods which are the nature’s answers to the present distortions in the modern western diets. According to Adams, M, Superfoods are the nutritional heart and powerhouses which load the human body with minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins that fires up the rate of metabolism, pilling up the protein building nutrients which trades fat for muscle gain.

Although there is no definitive description of superfoods, we can refer to them as those foods that are rich in nutrients and have significant benefits to our body system including slowing down the aging process, boost our physical ability and reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. Superfoods are the foods that have been elevated and are recommended to individuals on a diet. But with recent elevation of some foods, the question has been can they be approved as part of the weight loss diet? We can examine evidence illustrating the importance of some super foods when weight loss is concerned. Examples of superfoods we’ll discuss in detail regarding their advantage in a weight loss diet are the Spirulina and Chlorella.

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  • Spirulina

According to Spirulina World Website, Spirulina is one of the earliest life forms of the planet earth, single-celled, microscopic blue, green algae. It is regarded as a superfood because of its massive array of nutrients, essential fatty acids, Chlorophyll, Proteins, Vitamins B, C, and E. Spirulina is usually consumed in the form of a tablets, capsules or powdered way, and can be used as a significant part of the weight loss program. However, Spirulina should be taken by the manufacturer’s instructions, and you should consult your physician before including the superfood as part of your weight loss struggle.

If harvested in the right way from pond or water bodies that are not contaminated, it makes up one of the best sources of nutrients available. Some of the reasons why it has been classified as a superfood and an essential aspect for a healthy, weight loss diet include;

  • High Nutrient Content

Based  on Capelli, B and Cysewski, G. research study in 2011,Spirulina is  a nutrient-dense type of food since it is rich in proteins (with a utilization rate of about 55 percent), thiamin, riboflavin, pyridoxine, folic acid, iron, minerals and dietary fibers which makes it an excellent weight loss supplement. These vitamins, minerals, dietary fibers and enzymes help in metabolism, digestions, removal of toxins, and also prevents absorption of fat.

  • Appetite Suppressant

Whenever you feel hungry your body mechanism is creating this effect so as to fill its needs for nutrients. Thus when you continually feed your body with poor quality foods, your brains triggers appetite in an effort to satisfy what it wants. Based on studies from Spirulina World Website, Spirulina increases the concentrations of the nutrients in the body, thus reducing cravings and hunger in the process. It also suppresses appetite due to its composition of amino acid, Phenylalanine which help stimulate the secretions of cholecystokinin, the scientifically proven appetite suppressant.

  • High in Protein

When it comes to losing weight, a high protein and low carb diet is necessary. Regular intake of Spirulina is ideal for muscle buildings and low carbohydrate diet because of the high content of protein. It contains up to seventy percent of the protein, as well as all the essentials amino acids. According to Moorhead, K., Capelli, B., & Cysewski, G. R. (2011), the rate of digestive absorption of the protein contained in Spirulina is four times much more than that of a typical beef. An easily digestible protein in combination with a suitable exercise plan helps build the lean body mass, thus helping the body burn more calories through the day.

  • Low in Calories

As compared to beef, Spirulina contains only 3.9 calories in each protein gram, supplying a total of 65 calories for each equivalent protein gram. A 500mg spirulina tablet contains two calories. Because of its chemical compositions, Spirulina enhances the energy performance index since they act by unlocking sugars from the body cells since it provides you with right proportions of daily nutritional needs, without any significant caloric deficiencies.

  • Essential Fatty Acids

According to Boone, L. (2013),   Spirulina is a rich source of the Omega-3 fatty acids and Gamma Linolenic acid, GLA. The GLA regulates the blood sugar levels thus controlling the level of insulin in the human body, eventually minimizing the binging of carbohydrate, helping you lose weight efficiently.

  • Antioxidant & Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Spirulina has both anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties which nullifies the harmful oxygen radical, hence preventing the production of pro-inflammatory molecules. Eventually, it avoids inflammations and the state of stress, which are regarded as the world’s leading factors of weight gains. Another main reason of the importance of Spirulina in weight loss is its ability to increase fat burning during an exercise session. The high oxidant content makes it beneficial in decreasing exercise-induced oxidation that results in muscle fatigue.

  • Besides that, scientific studies done by Khans, Bhadouria, and Bisen, in 2005, show that spirulina has lipid-lowering properties. Thus, it helps to lower the bad cholesterol, the LDL, and the blood levels of triglycerides, increasing the Good cholesterol, HDL in the bloodstreams. Hence, consumption of Spirulina boosts the fat mobilizations that is a crucial component for weight loss efforts.

Though it might not have an appealing taste, Spirulina can be consumed as a capsule or by mixing it with water . The only limitation of Spirulina is that it is costly when compared to the other types of superfoods used for a weight loss diet. Spirulina and Chlorella share some similarities, but they also have differences.

  • Chlorella

Chlorella is a single-celled microscopic, blue-green algae, often revered as an essential superfood. It is closely related to Spirulina. However, they share slight differences. Unlike the Spirulina, Chlorella can be categorized as either Chlorella Vulgaris or Chlorella pyrenoidosa. The hard outer shell may make it seem not edible but what is important is what is on the inside. Chlorella is primarily composed of a nucleus and a vast array of bioavailable chlorophyll, an excellent substance which counteracts the toxins available in the foods, Besides that, it has B, C and E vitamins, peptides, amino acids, nucleic acids (DNA and RNA ), proteins and polysaccharides. Chlorella has so many health benefits to the human body, and it’s a weight loss superfood due to the following;

  • In both, Lambert’s and Schoenhals’s researchers, Chlorella has a high content of the gamma linoleic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid often deficient because if the common dietary imbalance. GLA is responsible for the restoration of the hormone health in the endocrine system and acts by normalizing the insulin activity so that the blood sugar levels cab stabilize and reduce the cravings.
  • Chlorella acts as an immune System booster. This has been proven by its ability to aid in digestive problems and increase the presence of good bacteria in the gastrointestinal duct. Regular use of Chlorella also increases early inflammatory response and cell activity.
  • Besides that, its iodine contents make it an essential superfood for treating the thyroid imbalances, often a complication of the weight issue. According to Schoenhals, K. (2004), just like Spirulina, Chlorella contains the amino acid, phenylalanine, a naturally occurring appetite suppressant, thus triggering the sensations of fullness.
  • Scientific research conducted by Greg Arnold proves that Chlorella promotes the weight loss by controlling the expressions of genes to produce reductions in the body fat percentage, the total circulating cholesterol as well the levels of the fasting glucose. The Chlorella revs up the enzyme actions in the fat cells to produce energies and eventually to increase the rates of metabolisms,
  • A recent study was done by Na, J. G et al. in 2011, and highlights that Chlorella could be used as a natural medicine for the treatment of the obesity-related complication, all inclusive of the blood glucose, body weights, lipid profiles and insulin signals. The study demonstrated that the Chlorella’s diet-induced resistance of insulin is attributed to its improvement in the signaling of the insulin pathways. It also reduces the blood levels of Cholesterol, triglycerides and the free fatty acids. Besides that, Chlorella protects the pancreatic beta cells which stores and releases the insulin, which helps to control the blood sugar levels in the human body.

Chlorella is mainly can be consumed as a capsule, powder mixed with water or directly after extraction from the hard shell. Though it is viewed as a relative to the Spirulina, some notable differences include: the Spirulina is much larger than the Chlorella. The Spirulina is a blue-green type of algae while the Chlorella is a green type of algae, Chlorella has got a more substantial amount of nucleic acids compared to Spirulina, the Spirulina is easily consumable after harvest, unlike Chlorella which has a hard outer cell. Lastly, Spirulina has got a higher mineral content compared to Chlorella.

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Conclusion

For any individual on a diet, superfoods are the foods to consider for your diet, and the Chlorella and Spirulina are the types of superfoods not to leave out. Chlorella and Spirulina need not be taken alone but can be used as supplements to the already available foods. What makes superfoods essential for diet is because they have a dense concentration of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and also because of the healthy properties provided. The ability of most superfoods to lower the body cholesterol levels and increase body metabolism make them essential to be included in a weight loss diet.

Recent trends have illustrated how people have adapted superfoods to their diet. Although it may seem tedious adding superfoods to an already set diet plan, the outcome may be well worth it. Superfoods are satisfying hunger-curbing foods and one advantage compared to other food types is that you can eat more but still lose weight. Chlorella and Spirulina are super foods that we need to tap into for even more and better results. Your diet begins with you and as such consider superfoods for you to have a healthy diet.

Sources

Adams, M. (2005). Superfoods for optimum health: chlorella and spirulina. All information contained in the book is copyright, 2006(2007), 2008.

Boone, L. (2013). Powerful Plant-based Superfoods: The Best Way to Eat for Maximum Health, Energy, and Weight Loss. Fair Winds Press (MA).

Capelli, B., & Cysewski, G. R. (2010). Potential health benefits of spirulina microalgae. Nutrafoods, 9(2), 19-26.

Greg Arnold, D. C. Chlorella: The Superfoods Powerhouse.

Henrikson, R. (2000). Spirulina: Health discoveries from the source of life.

Khan, Z., Bhadouria, P., & Bisens, P. S. (2005). Nutritional and therapeutic potential of Spirulina. Current pharmaceutical biotechnology, 6(5), 373-379.

Lambert, V. Chlorella: The Superfood that Helps Fight Disease. The Telegraph, www. Telegraph. Co. UK/health/wellbeing/6028408/Chlorella-the-superfood-that.

Moorhead, K., Capelli, B., & Cysewski, G. R. (2011). Spirulina: Nature’s Superfood. Cyanotech Corporation.

Na, J. G., Lee, H. S., Oh, Y. K., Park, J. Y., Ko, C. H., Lee, S. H., … & Jeon, S. G. (2011). Rapid estimation of triacylglycerol content of Chlorella sp. by thermogravimetric analysis. Biotechnology Letters, 33(5), 957-960.

Schoenhals, K. (2004). Green power: superfoods that pack a punch; chlorella growth factor; green Superfoods. Better Nutrition.