Spirulina is a blue-green micro-algae grown and harvested from very alkaline water sources.
Spirulina was long used by the Aztecs as a food source because of its potent nutrient content, hence the reason it’s known as a “superfood”. Spirulina is commonly found in several forms; tablets (which are generally chewable), along with fine powder, flakes, and pills or capsules. Spirulina freeze-dried powder is a particularly great choice! Spirulina has a very unique taste – it’s almost as if nutty flavors of chocolate, vanilla, and slightly sweet seaweed were mixed together.
Health Benefits of Spirulina:
Spirulina provides an array of health benefits. It has anti-inflammatory properties from antioxidants, it can boost immune function, protect the liver, reduce allergic reactions, improve muscle endurance, improve oxidative stress, reduce oral cancer, and may also help fight infections and antibiotic related illnesses. It does it all!
Nutrient Breakdown of Spirulina:
- Protein | 57g (50-70% by weight of bioavailable, easy to digest protein, contains all amino acids, a “complete” protein)
- Omega-3 fatty acids | linolenic acid, 0.8g/100g
- Omega-6 fatty acids | linoleic acid, GLA 1.2g/100g
- Vitamin B12 | special note: The form of B12 found in spirulina is a psuedovitamin B12, therefore is not a reliable source of B12 for humans as it’s inactive. The B12 is considered an analogue, which does not have the same bioavailability as animal sources of B12.
- Vitamin A | 11% Dv
- Vitamin C | 17% DV
- Vitamin K | 32% DV
- Vitamin E | 25% DV
- B vitamins | B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), folic acid, B5
- Carotenoids | beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, cryptoxanthin
- Copper | 305% DV
- Calcium | 12% DV
- Iron | 158% DV
- Magnesium | 49% DV
- Potassium | 39% DV
- Manganese | 95% DV
- Zinc | 13% DV
- Selenium | 10% DV
How To Use:
Spirulina can be added to smoothies, desserts, fresh juices, or water for a boost of nutrition. It also adds a beautiful aqua blue color to recipe when used!
When purchasing spirulina, keep in mind to purchase only organic varieties that are processed at very low heat (to retain the maximum nutrition). Since spirulina is grown and comes from water, there are free toxins floating in the water and it’s therefore more susceptible to contamination of heavy metals. These toxins, called microcystins, can be mostly be avoided by purchasing from a trusted brand who grows spirulina organically. There are some studies (and here) that show some less than beneficial characteristics of spirulina.
Store spirulina in the freezer in a dark glass or dark area to keep optimally fresh. For more information and review of this nourishing food, check out the Spotlight On Spirulina.