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Including Ragi In Your Diet For Weight Loss
Microalgae are the lowest level of the aquatic food chain and they supply oxygen for several species of aquatic life (1). Chlorella is a unicellular green alga which is found in fresh water. Its name originated from two words, “Chloros” meaning green and “ella” meaning small. Chlorella vulgaris is endowed with biological and pharmacological properties which play an important role in improving human health (2).
Every year huge amounts of Chlorella in the form of powder and tablets are sold widely in many countries such as United States, Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia and China as nutraceuticals and dietary supplements (3).
10 Health benefits of Chlorella
It is a rich source of protein. Chlorella is comprised of 60 % protein which contains all the essential amino acids and the protein is highly digestible because it is of low molecular weight. It is a major source of chlorophyll which has a very similar structure to that of hemoglobin (1).
Chlorella is a good source of vitamins alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and fair source of many B vitamins. It also contains calcium, selenium, magnesium and phosphorus (1). Chlorella is made up of functional nutrients that include proteins, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, polysaccharides, vitamins and minerals (2).
Immunity is the ability of our body to fight against or get rid of foreign organisms or abnormal cells or substances that have the potential to cause harm to us. In a human study conducted chlorella supplementation exhibit beneficial immunostimulatory effect (4).
Antioxidants have the ability to prevent chronic degenerative diseases such as atherosclerosis and cancer. Chlorella is a good source of dietary antioxidants such as lutein, alpha and beta carotene, vitamin C and tocopherol (5).
A study concluded that supplementation with Chlorella improved the lipid profile by reducing total cholesterol and triglycerides in subjects with mild hypercholesterolemia. It was also observed that this action was related to carotenoid intake (6).
Chlorellin extracted from Chlorella demonstrated antimicrobial activity against bacteria (7). The crude bioactive constituents extracted from Chlorella vulgaris have been examined and found to have antibacterial properties against both grams negative and gram-positive pathogens except for Klebsiella (8).
Consumption of foods and dietary supplements that have antimicrobial effect would be a safe way to defend against these microbes.
Our immune system’s first response to the intrusion by an irritant is inflammation. The inflammation starts from the time the pathogen enters the body.
The protein pigment complex from chlorella has favorable anti-inflammatory action and it could be used to treat acute inflammation (9). The major carotenoid of chlorella violaxanthin may have the potential to be anti-inflammatory agent for either therapeutic or functional adjuvant purposes (10). And it is natural and safe.
Chlorella is a source of folate, vitamin B 12 and iron all of which are required for red blood cell production. Because of these nutrients present in chlorella supplementation with it may decrease the risk of anemia (11, 12).
Gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) rich chlorella was observed to significantly decrease high-normal blood pressure and borderline hypertension. It may be a useful dietary supplement for prevention of the onset of hypertension (13).
Hypertension or elevated levels of blood pressure is a major risk factor for developing cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).
It was observed in a study conducted on mice that chlorella increased insulin sensitivity (14). The green alga seems to inhibit certain enzymes which have a role to play in developing diabetes. The antioxidant property and the metal chelating ability of chlorella may be the underlying mechanism by which the antidiabetic activity occurs.
In a study on rats it was observed that oral administration of chlorella reduced the incidence, multiplicity, and volume of breast tumors when compared to the control group. The protective effect may be due to the antioxidant and pro-apoptotic properties of Chlorella (15).
In another study Chlorella vulgaris extract was seen to have dual inhibitions to lung cancer cell growth and migration ability. That means chlorella may be beneficial in inhibiting lung cancer metastasis (16).
Chlorella is a microalga which is nutrient dense and rich in bioactive substances. It can be consumed as a dietary supplement which provides us with nutrients and at the same time helps us to maintain good health.
Including Ragi In Your Diet For Weight Loss