There are some studies that suggest that algae have certain health benefits, when taken as a nutritional supplement. There are many types of algae, ranging from microscopic microorganisms such as Chlorella, to large seaweeds and giant kelps like brown algae. Sometimes they are also known by their colors - there are blue-green (Cyanophyta), red (Rhodophyta), brown (Phaeophyceae), and green (Chlorophyta) algae.
Brown algae are edible plants found near coasts of Korea, Japan, and China. They have been used for various conditions such as cancer, arthritis, stress, fibromyalgia, high cholesterol, heart disease, and other conditions. It is believed that brown algae contains antioxidants, or chemicals that can help reduce inflammation and boost immune system function. Some research also shows that consuming dietary fibers found in brown algae (alginates) can help reduce weight by increasing satiety and decreasing hunger.
On the other hand, blue-green algae have been used as a dietary supplement for protein, iron, and B-vitamins. These are also believed to help in the treatment of ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder), hay fever, stress, fatigue, diabetes, anxiety, depression, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and other health issues. It is also popularly used to boost immune system function, enhance memory, and improve digestion. Others also believe that it can help lose weight.
Experts warn that there is little evidence to prove the benefits attributed to algae supplements. Furthermore, the safety of their use is also questionable, because contaminants such as bacteria in algae preparations can cause food-borne illnesses. People who have a weak immune system may be susceptible to infection from contaminated food supplements. Algae such as spirulina can help lower cholesterol, but they can also interact with drugs such as blood thinners.
Although algae may contain fiber, protein, vitamins, antioxidants and other nutrients, you will have to take many pills to achieve significant amounts of these nutrients in the diet. Health experts therefore recommend eating a healthy, balanced diet to improve weight and general health. A healthy, low-calorie, low-fat diet can help you lose weight, and it should include a variety of nutrient-dense foods such as fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains and complex carbohydrates, and high quality protein sources.
Companies marketing miracle weight loss supplements or nutritional products that promise rapid weight loss are usually unreliable and fraudulent. Testimonials, blogs, and advertisements are often unreliable sources of information. If you are curious about the effectiveness of a health supplement, do your research both online and through consultation with a health professional. Look for consumer reviews and recent published studies from reliable websites that specialize in health and nutrition.
Health experts, including doctors and nutritionists, advise most people that the best way to achieve a healthy weight is to consume a balanced diet that is low in calories, fat, and sugar, but high in proteins, vitamins and minerals. Aside from these, one should lead an active lifestyle and avoid bad health habits, including smoking, eating junk food, and getting too little sleep.
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