So by now, maybe you’ve heard of spirulina?
Maybe you’ve overheard the yoga-junkies talk about it, or saw it on Dr. Oz but forgotten its stellar purpose!
Whether you’ve heard about it or not, here’s the basics of this superfood, and why you may want to think about incorporating it into your diet.
What is spirulina?
Spirulina is a blue-green algae (classified as a bacteria, not a plant) that grows in freshwater lakes, rivers and ponds in sub-tropical climates. Think of it as pond-scum that’s super good for you.
Why it’s considered a superfood (superfoods = incredibly nutrient dense foods)
Pound for pound, spirulina might be one of the nutritious foods on earth.
It contains a ton of protein (ranging from 55-65% protein). Spirulina contains all essential amino acids, although some in smaller amounts. To add the cherry on top, the usability (a measure of how much of protein we can actually absorb) of the protein within spirulina is impressively is high.
It’s a wonderful source of GLA. GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid that is an important aspect of skin health and maintaining skin’s moisture content, especially for those who suffer from eczema, or other rash conditions (1). Other uses include reducing menopausal symptoms, as well as symptoms associated with PMS.
Spirulina is super high in Vitamin A, which is vital for skin health (both in and out).
It’s a great source of iron. For this reason, I recommend it to clients who are prone to low iron and/or don’t consume enough meat. (2)
It’s packed with antioxidants, having an ORAC score (a measure of antioxidants within a food) significantly higher than blueberries, blackberries, and goji berries (3).
It’s a great source of chlorophyll, which has a cleansing effect on the system.
It’s a great source of calcium (way better than dairy).
It’s a source of other nutrients including some B-vitamins and trace minerals.
I could go on and on, but the point is, this food should become a staple in your diet.
How much do you need?
Typically 1 to 2 tsp. per day will suffice (or 2 tablets, 2x per day). Try for 3 to 4 times a week, not necessarily every day.
How do you take it?
You can throw it into smoothies, puddings, chocolates (homemade of course), or just be a warrior and mix it in a little water and shoot it back!
Spirulina Health Benefits at a Glance:
Anti-cancer properites, especially oral-cancer (4)
Can reduce LDL (“bad) cholesterol, and raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol (5)
Improves skin’s health (high Vitamin A content)
Improve skin’s moisture content
Reduces blood pressure (6)
Improves anemic conditions
Helps balance blood sugar (7)
With its high protein, mineral and fatty-acid content, it’s a super addition to any weight loss regimen.
Which one to get?
Of course, always go organic. I buy Giddy Yoyo’s, Prairie Naturals, or Organic Traditions Spirulina.
Spirulina as a B12 supplement?
Some, especially marketing companies, toute spirulina as a great source of B12 (a vitamin best sourced from animal products). Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Although spirulina does contain some active B12, the majority of the B12 is an “analogue”, or pseudo-B12 that actually prevents B12 absorption. (8) So no, do not use it as a stand alone B12 supplement. And if you are prone to a B12 deficiency (common in vegans and vegetarians) take spirulina away from your B12 supplement.
Smooth Skin Spirulina Smoothie.
Here’s one way to throw spirulina into your daily routine, and improve your skin while you’re at it. Don’t let the colour turn you off, it tastes great and is even better for you.
1 scoop Chocolate Vegan Protein Powder
1 tsp. Spirulina
2 tbsp. Cacao
1 tbsp. Almond Butter
1 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
1 cup ice
2 tsp. Cacao nibs (optional)
Place all ingredients in blender, top with cacao nibs (optional) and enjoy! Add more liquid if desired.
That’s all for now, if you have any questions, be sure to hop on facebook and ask away!