In the United States alone, about 80% of the population lives in urban areas. This figure is expected to grow to about 90% in 2050. What attracts us to city life so much? It must not be the pollution, traffic, allergies, stress and sedentary life that people who live in cities usually experience, could it? It likely has to do with the access to jobs and education, as well as the convenience that often comes with city life.
However, the list of things first mentioned are inevitably the price you must pay for living the hustle and bustle of cities, rather than in the slower and quiet rural environment. If you are one of these people who have chosen to live in urban areas, it is important to make a special effort to look out for your health.
In addition to proper diet, exercise, and healthy work-life balance, there is a supplement that could be helping to support optimum health. There is one particular supplement that may help ameliorate multiple negative side effects of city life.
What is this seemingly magical supplement?
Well it isn’t magical, but it is composed of millions of living organisms. Can you guess what it is?
SPIRULINA! Spirulina is a type of algae that grows naturally in tropical and subtropical lakes and bodies of fresh water with a high pH and certain chemical components. It contains multiple nutrients, which, in the right proportion, may have multiple positive effects on our health and ability to cope with the multiple physical and psychological stressors of urban life.
How Can Spirulina Support My Health in the City?
Below are 8 ways spirulina can support your urban-loving self lead a healthier life.
1. Support a Healthy Diet and Fights Deficiencies
To quote the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and antioxidants that can help protect cells from damage. It contains nutrients, including B complex vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium, and gamma linolenic acid (an essential fatty acid).”
These nutrients help to fight deficiencies like anemia, while also providing a range of vitamins and minerals that can be deficient in diets that mostly consist of fast and processed foods.
Additionally, if you are looking to lose weight, it is not uncommon to cut out important nutrients while looking to cut calories. Spirulina, a superfood filled with nutrients, helps to aide in maintaining your health while supporting weight loss.
2. Supports Detox Organs
One of the most important organs responsible for removing damaging and toxic components in our body is the liver. One initial study carried out with patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease took 4.5 grams of spirulina a day for three months, and researchers saw an improvement in the different elements that indicate levels of liver health. While more studies need to be conducted, it seems that spirulina helps to support a healthy liver lipid profile.
3. Supports Digestion
As previously mentioned, those of us who live in cities often have poor diets, and several decisions, including over-consuming antibiotics and suffering digestive problems, can really put a toll on a healthy intestinal flora. Spirulina could be an effective prebiotic, stimulating the growth of lactic acid bacteria in our digestive system.
4. Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
In the city, it’s easy to walk into a supermarket or convenience store and pick up high-sugar sodas, high-fat snacks, and other processed foods. Over time, these elevate our risk for metabolic syndrome and diabetes. A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that people who Type 2 Diabetes who took a spirulina supplement for two months found an improvement in blood glucose levels and lipid profiles.
5. Helps Promote Brain Health
Brain health includes memory, cognitive performance, and overall mood. Studies show that people who take supplement with substances high in B vitamins and vitamin C, like spirulina, have improved mood and self-reported cognitive performance.
6. Fights Allergies
Compared to rural environments, living in urban environments can spur the development of allergies that can affect quality of life. Living in urban environments, the pollution can spur the development to allergies, in combination with being far from healthy levels of allergens that help build our immune system and prevent hypersensitivities. Unless you are planning on becoming a farmer anytime soon, it is important to take measures to promote immune system health.
While the role of spirulina in ameliorating hypersensitivity to different elements in the environment (thus provoking allergic reactions) has only been tested in animals, it seems that supplementation with spirulina can help to lower hypersensitivity by boosting antibody production; the effect is lowering some allergic reactions.
7. Boosts Immunity
With all that we mentioned earlier, it is clear that many elements that make up city life, including stress and poor diet, can lead to getting ill more often. Experimental studies have indicated that spirulina supplements help to strengthen both the humoral and cellular arms that make up the immune system. It stimulates the production of antibodies and cytokines, both important elements that fight off any bodily invaders that are looking to make you ill.
8. Helps Make your Skin Look Radiant
Free radicals in urban environments can make your skin look tired and dull, thanks to our enemy - pollution. Spirulina supplements are filled with oils that are important for skin moisture, and antioxidant vitamins like vitamin E and beta-carotene help fight off free radicals, reducing inflammation.
Spirulina is one of the most popular superfood supplements in the world, and for a good reason. While there are multiple studies being carried out with the aim of determining the extent to which spirulina supports our health in all of the aspects mentioned above, initial results are promising. Spirulina provides vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that support nearly every single organ in the body. For us city lovers, we need extra help, as we are in environments that require more of our bodies and our minds, without necessarily providing the freshest air and food there is.
Talk to your physician about including a spirulina supplement in your daily regimen, and you might just start to look and feel like urban living is the only way to live.