So what’s all the hype about spirulina? Honestly, despite it’s popularity, I didn’t give it much thought until about a year ago. And it was then that a light bulb went off in my head. “I’ve got to find a way to get spirulina into my regular diet!” I’m such a geek like that – and after reading all these posts up until now, does it surprise you?
Spirulina is actually a blue-green micro algae, and it is more often than not considered the most nutritionally complete “food” in the world. Topping off many rivals in the “superfood” category, let’s see what makes this stuff shine..
Out of the more than 100 (WOW!) nutrients readily bioavailable in spirulina, here are just a few to highlight what it can do for your body:
– Spirulina is incredibly rich in vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, C, D, and E! For those of you who may not be up to date on where to get certain vitamins from certain foods, vitamin E is not very common. And the fact that it is coupled with vitamin C in this food, provides a synergistic relationship between the two, that actually quadruples the potency of both!
– Protein! Who would think, looking at this green powder, that it contains 55-70% protein, by it’s cell weight. For a basis of comparison, beef only contains between 20-25% protein by cell weight. And beef is much harder to digest than spirulina! (Which takes a great deal more energy!)
– Amino Acids. Spirulina contains ALL of the necessary amino acids to carry out daily function, as well as to replicate any acids not immediately present.
– Chlorophyll: this amazing nutrient is beneficial on so many levels, ranging from GI tract health – to the formation of red blood cells – to acting as a detoxifying agent in the body. It also makes a great antioxidant, as well as anti-inflammatory!
– Beta Carotene – spirulina contains roughly 70 times more beta carotene than spinach! (I think Popeye was wasting his time promoting spinach – he should have been singing about spirulina!)
– Minerals, such as Potassium, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Sodium, and Zinc.
– You can also use spirulina to test your regularity. What?? Seriously. Take a decent amount of spirulina (1-2 teaspoons is well enough), and see how long it takes your, uh, you know, to be green. Sounds gross, but I actually find it quite comical! (Nerd)
– Essential Fatty Acids, including DHA. Great for a sharp mind!
So what are some of the benefits you can expect to see when you get spirulina integrated in your regular diet?
1: Lowers your risk of diabetes
2: Boosts your immune system
3: Regulation of cholesterol levels
4: Higher energy levels
5: Combats cancer
6: Aids in weight loss
7: Combats radiation poisoning/reduces symptoms
8: Aids in the treatment of fibromyalgia
9: Combats viral infections
10: Aids in lowering the severity of allergic reactions
Now, what’s the best way to take spirulina? Well, it’s a powder, so imagine the possibilities! My favorite way is to put it into my smoothies every morning (see my Smoothie Recipe post) – then voila! You’re done! And you won’t even taste it in there – just be sure to hold your nose when you open the container! Trust me on this one, you probably won’t like the smell. Still curious? Think fish food. There, I’ve said it. Now you won’t have to smell it for yourself. And just be forewarned, spirulina will turn nearly anything you put it in green – so if hiding it from unsuspecting family members (cough Husbands! cough), be sure to put it into something dark so they don’t ask you what’s in it.*
*This does not apply to St. Patrick’s Day, as you can just tell whoever asks, that the leprechaun’s turned their (insert food name) green.
One last thing you should be aware of when purchasing your spirulina: it is best to purchase spirulina that was harvested pre-March 2011 if the origin is anywhere near Japan. This is due to the radiation spill they had – and you surely don’t want tainted spirulina! Any good company will be able to tell you where and when their stock was harvested, so just ask!
And seriously guys, I wasn’t kidding about that fish food smell. Really, don’t smell your spirulina. You may never look at it the same.