What is Spirulina
This blue-green alga is a freshwater plant that is absurdly healthy but often overlooked or misunderstood.
Cultivated from the world from Mexico to Africa to Hawaii, Spirulina is known for its intense taste and even stronger nutritional profile.
The ancient Aztecs and African natives used spirulina as a source of food. The knowledge about the healing power of this microorganism has been passed on in these cultures for generations around the world.
What makes Spirulina so special is its ability to photosynthesize just like plants. Photosynthesis is a process by which plants convert sunlight into energy.
Today, spirulina is a popular nutritional supplement that comes in tablet or powder form and a popular ingredient in some superfood smoothies.
Whether you are an Omnivore, vegetarian, or vegan--the high nutritional contents of Spirulina make it beneficial for everyone.
Spirulina Nutritional Content
Health Benefits of Spirulina
An antioxidant that is found in large quantities in spirulina is phycocyanin. It gives Spirulina its blue-green color, fights free radicals, and reduces infections and inflammation.
2. Lowers blood pressure
Spirulina increases the production of nitric oxide, a molecule produced by the body causing blood vessels to expand and relax.
3. Lowers cholesterol and oxidation of LDL cholesterol
Various studies have shown that Spirulina lowers bad LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and cholesterol overall.
If there is an increase of oxidized LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream, it will build upon the vein walls which leads to an increased risk of heart attacks.
4. Helps against anemia and improves immunity
Spirulina increases hemoglobin production because of its high iron content. At the same time, its high-quality protein contents stimulate the immune system and reduce infections.
5. Regulates blood sugar
Because of the high concentration of certain nutrients in Spirulina, it has been proven to control levels of blood glucose and improve the lipid profile of patients with type 2 diabetes.
6. Detoxifying effect
Spirulina can help the body get rid of toxins caused by food and other environmental sources.
7. Increases energy
Spirulina increases the growth of the good bacteria, lactobacillus, in the gut which then enables the production of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 along with the other B vitamins are essential in brain health, cell growth, energy, and metabolism.
8: Relieves allergic rhinitis
The anti-inflammatory properties of Spirulina inhibit the production of histamine and immunoglobulin. Relieving inflammation, nasal congestion, sneezing, and itchy eyes.
Where to get Spirulina
You can buy the algae either as powder, as capsules or as tablets in health food stores, pharmacies, or online.
Make sure you pay attention to organic quality. Algae from contaminated waters may cause more harm than good to your body.
Though it’s common to add Spirulina to meals and drinks, it is also added to beauty products.
What does Spirulina taste like?
Because Spirulina originated from seawater, the smell of the sea is distinct and its fishy taste.
For this reason, many people prefer Spirulina capsules or tablets, which they can swallow quickly and hardly give off-taste.
How to take Spirulina
Whether powder, capsules, or tablets, it is literally a matter of taste.
The powder has undergone one processing step-less and is less at risk of losing nutrients.
It doesn’t taste that good, which is why it’s difficult to integrate into a daily diet and is a more popular ingredient to a green smoothie with fruits or vegetables.
If you don’t like the smell or taste, tablets would be more suitable for you. But since tablets are pressed, valuable ingredients can be lost through pressing.
Be careful not to get spirulina on your clothes, the leaf green color causes green spots.
Spirulina vs Chlorella
At first glance, Spirulina and Chlorella look similar. Both are green microalgae.
But while Spirulina is a multicellular, spiral-shaped bacterium, Chlorella is a single cell with an indigestible cell membrane.
Both microalgae are rich in nutrients, and hand, since Chlorella is more difficult to cultivate, contamination with other algae is unlikely. With Spirulina, cases of contaminated products are known.
Here are the 4 most common differences between the two algae:
Spirulina is spiral, has no core, and can grow up to 100x the size of Chlorella. Similarly, Chlorella’s spherical single-celled microorganism has a nucleus.
Spirulina grows best in freshwater lakes, ponds, and rivers. And requires abundant sunshine and moderate temperatures.
Chlorella grows in fresh water along with other organisms, which makes it difficult to harvest.
Due to Chlorella’s hard, indigestible cellulose wall, it requires mechanical processing to be edible.
Otherwise, the body cannot break down and metabolize its nutrients. This process can be expensive.
While Spirulina has a completely digestible cellulose wall making it easy to consume and digest.
Even though both are superfoods, spirulina and chlorella have different nutritional contents.
Spirulina takes the top spot! Given the amino acid profile of Spirulina, without a doubt, the proteins are of very high quality.
It contains 18 essential amino acids, vitamins B, C, D, E, iron, and protein.
Recipe 1: Tofu & Spirulina Burger Patties
Recipe 2: Avocado & Spirulina Dip
Recipe 3: Blue Spirulina Smoothie Bowl
Recipe 4: Spirulina Mermaid Bowl