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 makes it beneficial for everyone.
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.
Spirulina increases the production of nitric oxide nitric oxide, a molecule produced by the body causing blood vessels to expand and relax.
Variousstudies 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 up on the vein walls which leads to an increased risk of heart attacks.
Spirulina increases hemoglobin production because of its high iron content. At the same time, its high quality protein contents stimulates the immune system and reduces infections.
Because of the high concentration of certain nutrients in Spirulina, ithas been proven to control levels of blood glucose and improve lipid profile of patients with type 2 diabetes.
Spirulina can help the body get rid of toxins caused by food and other environmental sources.
Spirulinaincreases 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.
The anti-inflammatory properties of Spirulina inhibits the production of histamine and immunoglobulin. Relieving inflammation, nasal congestion, sneezing and itchy eyes.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 of 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 freshwater 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.