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Move Over Broccoli… Meet Spirulina!

move over broccoli meet spirulina

When you think of “green superfoods” do you immediately picture a big bowl of broccoli or kale?  While both of these superfoods are amazingly good for your body, another green superfood may just top the charts.  Meet spirulina!

So what is spirulina and why is it so great?  

Spirulina is a blue-green algae found in both the sea, as well as warm, alkaline bodies of freshwater. As early as 400 years ago, it was eaten by the Mayas and Toltecs in Mexico during the Aztec civilization[1]. Whether they knew this or not, spirulina is loaded with essential fatty acids and if you’re a vegetarian it’s an ideal source of omega-3s and protein!  It’s also loaded with B vitamins, vitamins C, D, and E.  In addition, it’s also rich in minerals, including potassium, calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, sodium and zinc[2].

Even though spirulina doesn’t contain the high fiber content as other fruits and veggies, it does contain more iron, protein and certain antioxidants than most.  In fact, spirulina contains all of the essential amino acids making it a complete protein (Manjula etal., 2016). This can actually provide remarkable health benefits to malnourished people.  Another cool benefit of spirulina is that it promotes overall health and nutrition, and also has been shown to lower cholesterol and may even boost the immune system (Manjula etal., 2016).

Since spirulina has been found to contain antioxidants, it may be used to help prevent many human diseases, such as cancer.  And since cancer is now a major cause of death throughout the world, this is very promising news[3].  Antioxidants are great protection for the body from free radicals and spirulina has also been well documented to have protective effects against viral and bacterial infections, allergies, diabetes and inflammation due to its intense nutrition (Asghari etal., 2016).  It was even recommended by both NASA and the European Space Agency as one of the primary foods during long space missions.  How cool is that?!

Spirulina recommended to astronauts as a primary food for long space missions. See why: Click To Tweet

If you have an autoimmune disease, such as Crohn’s, chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia, chronic candida yeast can worsen symptoms.  Spirulina has been shown to encourage and support the growth of healthy bacterial flora in your gut, which can help keep candida overgrowth under control[4], among other things.  This is great news!

So where do you get this green superfood and how do you eat it?

Spirulina is available in both pill form and powder and can be found in most health food stores.  The most important thing is to make sure the manufacturer can prove that it’s been harvested from a non-toxic environment as many algae will absorb toxins from their surrounding environment. Visit the company’s website or call the manufacturer yourself to make sure.

If the flavor of spirulina is not appealing to your taste buds, there are a lot of ways you can disguise it!  You don’t need a lot to boost a recipe into a superfood.  All you need is about 1 tsp. of this green goodness and your smoothie or freshly squeezed juice will boost with extra nutrients.  Check out this delicious recipe that uses spirulina in a Super Green Smoothie.  Other ways you can enjoy the health benefits of spirulina is to use it in dips and salsas, and even in raw desserts (because high heat can destroy its nutrients), such as something with a rich, chocolate creamy texture.

With a potent mixture of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, along with many health benefits, spirulina has been noted as one of the best green superfoods out there. So what are you waiting for?  Go out and get yourself some spirulina and you’ll be well on your way to better health and better wellness.

 

References:

[1] Asghari, A., Fazilati, M. & Latifi, A.M. etal. (2016). A Review on Antioxidant Properties of Spirulina. Journal of Applied Biotechnology Reports, 3(1):345-351.

[2] Manjula, K., Raj, M.A. & Krishna, R. (2016). Feed Efficiency and Serobiochemical Profile of Wistar Rats Fed with Spirulina as Functional Food. Curr. Res Nutr Food Sci Journal, 4(2):135-140.

[3] Bisen, P. (2012). Marine Microbes: Unexplored Therapeutic Biomine. J. Cancer Sci Ther, 4:14121-14127.

[4] Mercola, J. (2011). Ignored Since the 1950s – Is Spirulina Now a ‘Miracle’ High-Protein Super Food? Retrieved from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/07/01/spirulina-the-amazing-super-food-youve-never-heard-of.aspx

Hello! I’m Tina….researcher, writer and mother of 4 who is passionate about health, wellness and good food!

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