Spirulina, the solution to malnutrition
Children suffering from malnutrition. Children dying from malnutrition. No matter how heart wrenching it sounds, this scenario is nothing new in Sub-Saharan Africa. The irony of the situation is that the nutrient which can fight this appalling situation is cultivated in Africa itself.
Research suggests that spirulina could be the solution to Africa's malnutrition crisis. Why do they believe so?
One, because spirulina has various health and nutritional benefits. And two, because this blue-green algae grows in abundance throughout the African continent.
What is Spirulina?
Spirulina is blue-green algae fit for human consumption. It is found in both salt water and fresh water, and because of its health benefits is used as a dietary supplement as well as a whole food. Spirulina is also commercially cultivated in African countries, France, China, India, Thailand, and the United States.
Spirulina is a natural source of nutrients, as opposed to the man-made artificial multi-vitamin supplements. The food is so rich in nutrient quality that the U.N. recommended spirulina to fight malnutrition
• Spirulina has the highest density of protein in comparison to any other food on the planet. It is 65-71 per cent protein by weight and contains all the 8 essential amino acids necessary for human health.
• It is super-rich in vitamins A, B1, B2 and B6. More importantly, vitamin A is directly related to longer lifespan. The more safe and usable vitamin A you have in your system, the longer you are likely to live.
• Consumption of spirulina strengthens the body's immunity system as it contains an extraordinary amount of antioxidants.
• It enhances the energy levels of the body.
• It helps reduce increased blood cholesterol levels.
• Spirulina also has anti-viral, anti-cancer, and anti-aging effects.
Where does Africa's malnutrition crisis come in the picture?
After going through all the health benefits and amazingly rich nutrient density of spirulina it is clear, why it is a solution to the prevalent malnutrition crisis. How we link it to Africa?
History suggests that Africans near Lake Chad have been cultivating spirulina since they first inhabited the region in the 9th century.
Spirulina is harvested from small lakes and ponds around Lake Chad, dried into cakes which they call "dihe" which is further used to make broths for meals and also sold in markets.
If awareness is spread regarding the benefits of spirulina consumption amongst the people, and encouraging to not look at it from only a commercial angle, it could go a long way to controlling the malnutrition crisis they face each day.