All About Spirulina – The Green Superfood

In today’s hectic, modern lifestyles, we can never be sure if we pack in all the nutrients required for our wellbeing. These are times where “prep meals”, “ready to eat meals” is the order of the day.  Even if we want to there is just not enough time to make well balanced meals. Luckily, there are a host of superfoods that come to the rescue. And, as superfoods go, Spirulina is probably one of the most potent nutrient sources out there!

If you are wondering what makes this one of the most sought after superfoods, and you are looking to introduce clean eating habits into your life, then read on! We guarantee that you will be convinced to add this to your diet right away!

So what is Spirulina?

Spirulina is actually pond scum. Fear not, it is harvested from non-contaminated ponds and water bodies and the final product that you consume is safe to eat. Similar to sea vegetables such as chlorella and kelp in its nutritional make, Spirulina is a natural algae (cyanbacteria). It is not only an excellent source of protein and iron, but is also believed to have natural healing powers.

The History

It dates back to the 14th century when the Aztecs and ethnic groups living in Africa found that these algae served a fulfilling diet. Little did they know, other than the fact that it was good for you, that this algae would go on to being known as one of the best foods for the future, so declared at World Food Conference in 1974. However, it rose to fame only years later when NASA began to supplement diet plans with Spirulina for astronauts in space!

Benefits of Spirulina

Protein power house!

Spirulina contains about 65% protein! It also boasts essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA) that is hard to come by in food sources. It is also a rich source of Omega-3s which is critical in lowering elevated triglyceride levels, fighting rheumatoid arthritis and depression, asthma, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

Calcium dense

Spirulina contains 26 times what is available in milk!

Anti-oxidant rich

The blue-green deep rich colour of Spirulina is caused by the presence of a specific pigment called phycocyanin, which is a powerful anti-oxidant and potent anti-inflammatory

Immunity booster and removes heavy metals

Spirulina binds with heavy metals in the body and helps in their removal from the system. The high chlorophyll content helps remove toxins from the body and boost the immune system

Helps reduce allergies

Spirulina stops the production of histamine which is the main cause for allergic rhinitis, simply put, it helps reduce stuffy nose, watery eyes, sneezing. Not just that, it boosts immunity in the long run and prevents the development of viral infections, due to presence of potent nutrients such as polysaccharides

Improved memory and mental alertness

Presence of L-tryptophan – an amino acid found in Spirulina, which is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin leads to academic performance. Furthermore, by reducing oxidative damage it leads to improved memory and prevents memory loss

Consuming Spirulina

Make sure you choose organic Spirulina as others may contain nitrate components among other additives. There are interesting ways to introduce it to your diet such as adding it to a green smoothie or soups, or even to savoury dishes! Spirulina is an acquired taste, some may not like the algae taste and hence prefer the capsules.

Here are some great ways to incorporate Spirulina into your daily food intake:

Green Detox Smoothie

Spirulina Three Different Ways

Raw vegan meals with Spirulina

Tread with caution!

  • Do not take more than 1 -2 teaspoons per day, otherwise it may lead to upset stomach or lead to adverse effects
  • If you have Phenylketonuria (PKU) consult with a doctor before taking, as it does contain that amino acid
  • If you are on an anti-coagulation medicine, pregnant or nursing please consult with your doctor before you begin taking Spirulina

Like everything else, Spirulina is a great supplement for your physical wellness when taken in moderation.

Let us know your experiences with Spirulina, we would love to hear from you!

photo credit: philipp.alexander.ernst A spoon full of Chlorella via photopin (license)
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