Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae considered a superfood due to its excellent nutritional content and health benefits. Spirulina has a high protein and vitamin content, which makes this popular among the plant-based communities. Research suggests that spirulina has antioxidant and inflammation-fighting properties.
This tiny algae is packed with nutrients. A single tablespoon (7 grams) of dried spirulina powder contains according to the USDA.
· Protein: 4 grams
· Vitamin B1 (thiamine): 11% of the RDA
· Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 15% of the RDA
· Vitamin B3 (niacin): 4% of the RDA
· Copper: 21% of the RDA
· Iron: 11% of the RDA
· It also contains magnesium, potassium and manganese.
Gram for gram, spirulina may be the single most nutritious food on the planet.
The quality of the protein in spirulina is considered excellent — comparable to eggs. It gives all the essential amino acids that you need.
Spirulina is a fantastic source of antioxidants, which can protect against oxidative damage. Its main active component is called phycocyanin. This antioxidant substance also gives spirulina its unique blue-green color.
Phycocyanin can fight free radicals and inhibit production of inflammatory signaling molecules, providing impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
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 in and comes from water, it’s surrounded by toxins floating in the water and is more susceptible to contamination of heavy metals. These toxins, called microcystins, can “mostly” be avoided by purchasing from a trusted brand who grows it organically. I say “mostly” because there are some studies (and more here) that show some less than beneficial side effects of spirulina.
Not only do I love the nutritional punch that spirulina provides, but I also love the other health benefits such as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, immune function improvement, reduction of allergic reactions, increased muscle endurance and reduced oxidative stress.
Spirulina is commonly found in several forms: tablets — which are chewable, fine powder, flakes, and pills or capsules. I typically store spirulina in the freezer or refrigerator to retain its freshness as much as possible. Ideally you want to find spirulina in a dark glass bottle. Spirulina is a delicate algae full of antioxidants, nutrients, and chlorophyll, all of which you need to preserve. Following these steps will help!
Total Time: 10 minutes
one pouch of acai
one handful of kale
one tablespoon of Spirulina
1 handful of bluberries
1/2 banana (add more for sweetness)
1 teaspoon of chia seeds (soaked in 1/2 cup pea milk-for about 20 minutes)
1 scoop of plant based protein powder
1/2 cup water
Blend all ingredients in heavy duty blender
By: Carol Aguirre MS, RD/LDN