What is it this miracle food? It’s Spirulina and I bet now you’re wondering what the heck it is and what the health benefits of Spirulina might be?
Learn more about superfoods in this series.
Spirulina is a blue/green algae that grows in both fresh and salt water. It’s a member of the cyanobacteria family and produces energy via photosynthesis (gets it’s energy from the sun), just like plants.
It’s been around since the beginning of time, well maybe not that long but was consumed by the ancient Aztecs so yeah, it’s been around for a while.
Health Benefits of Spirulina
A single serving (1 Tbsp (7g)) contains:
1.7g digestible carbohydrates
Why is Spirulina a Superfood?
This dark green powder is a fantastic source of antioxidants, one of which is phycocyanin. Phycocyanin can fight free radicals and inhibit the production of inflammatory signaling molecules.
Just like bee pollen, the antioxidants in Spirulina work to help reduce oxidative stress by battling those pesky free radicals in the body.
Vitamins and Minerals – Spirulina provides us with:
- Vitamin B1 (thiamin) – 11% of the Recommended Daily Allowance – helps body use carbohydrates as energy and is important for balancing blood sugar levels
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) – 15% of the Recommended Daily Allowance – helps the body break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Without this vitamin, our body has a hard time maintaining its energy supply.
- Vitamin B3 (niacin) – 4% of the Recommended Daily Allowance – it’s kinda important, every part of your body needs it to function correctly. Helps the body convert food into energy.
- Calcium – high in calcium with more than 26 times the calcium in milk – needed for bone, muscle, and nerve development
- Iron – 4% of the Recommended Daily Allowance -helps in transporting oxygen through the body, kinda important
- Copper – 21% of the Recommended Daily Allowance – works with iron to enable the body to form red blood cells; maintains healthy bones, blood vessels, nerves and immune function
- Potassium – helps regulate fluid balance, muscle contractions and nerve signals
- Magnesium – this mineral is important for like a gazillion processes in the body so you definitely need it
- Manganese – important for metabolism, growth and development
Protein – Spirulina is a complete source of high-quality protein, just like eggs but great for vegans. It also contains all the essential amino acids.
How amazing is this – by the gram, Spirulina contains more protein than red meat!?!
Spirulina is also a good source of Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) which is an essential fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory properties. GLA is hard to find in food sources. Spirulina also contains Omegas 3, 6 and 9.
What is Spirulina Good For?
*I am not a medical professional nor claim to be one. I cannot guarantee that Spirulina helps with these conditions. Please consult a medical professional to determine if it is right for you.*
So we’ve already determined that Spirulina is full of all kinds of good stuff that your body needs but what are the health benefits of Spirulina? What kinds of illnesses and conditions may be helped by incorporating Spirulina into your regular diet?
- may help control blood sugar in Type 2 diabetics
- may reduce blood pressure, a dose of 4.5g/day has been shown to reduce blood pressure in people with normal levels
- may raise good (HDL) cholesterol, lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglyceride levels
- may have anti-cancer properties
- contains chlorophyll which helps remove toxins from the blood and boost the immune system
- improves symptoms of allergic rhinitis, a dose of 2g/day reduces nasal discharge, itching, sneezing, nasal congestion
- detoxifies heavy metals, yep, flushes them out from deep down in the cells
Y’all know I don’t do science. For more information on medical benefits, I find Dr. Axe’s website to be extremely informational however, I would encourage you to consult your medical professional to determine what is right for your specific condition and circumstances.
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Where Can I Buy Spirulina?
You can actually find spirulina at the regular grocery store, I buy mine at Sprout’s.
Conveniently, you can also buy it right here right now on Amazon so you don’t even have to leave your chair. This is the brand I buy.
How to Consume Spirulina
Spirulina comes in a powder form so in our house we mix it into smoothies. I’ve found that I can put about 1 teaspoon in a smoothie without a noticeable taste but if I bump it up closer to 2 teaspoons, the taste of my smoothie changes.
You can also take it in tablet. Several of the supplements we use in our house are NOW brand. If you prefer to skip the powder and just take a tablet –
As with all of these ‘superfoods’, you’ll maximize the benefit when you take them daily.
How to Store Spirulina
It needs to be kept in the refrigerator.
Is spirulina a staple in your diet? Do you have some in your fridge? Comment below and let me know how you incorporate it into your diet and if you haven’t yet tried it, will you?
Make it a green day!