Superfood Spotlight: Spirulina

What you need to know: Spirulina is a blue-green algae (also known as cyanobacteria) found in tropical and subtropical lakes that have a naturally high pH. It was once the most coveted food source of the Aztecs and other Mesoamerican cultures due to its extremely high nutrient density. Today spirulina is still considered one of the most nutritious food sources known to man. As a significant source of amino acids, essential fatty acids (including ALA, GLA, EPA and DHA), vitamins B, A, E, K and C, minerals and antioxidants, it’s one of the best choices for a daily multi. In addition, it may be beneficial for boosting immunity, strengthening bones, supporting healthy vision and cognitive functioning. Research studies also indicate that spirulina may help prevent damage caused by toxins affecting the heart, liver, kidneys, neurons, eyes, ovaries, DNA and testicles.

Why you should try it: Once called “the best food for the future” by the United Nations World Food Conference, this blue-green algae is a complete protein source, containing all the essential amino acids. This makes it the perfect food for vegans and vegetarians. Spirulina should also be taken for its iron content, which is over two hundred percent of the daily recommended allowance. Iron is essential for building blood, preventing anemia and supporting a healthy pregnancy. Finally, spirulina’s fatty-acid profile may help lower inflammation and normalize cholesterol – raising HDL levels, lowering triglycerides and LDL levels.

Let’s get together: Spirulina is found in powder form, which gives us the opportunity to seamlessly add it to our fresh-pressed juices, green smoothies and superfood puddings. It can also be used to boost the nutrition content of a food, adding a little extra health factor to raw desserts, chocolate, food bars, granola, spreads and kale chips. Spirulina is also a killer natural food coloring, giving your recipes a dark-green hue. Since generic food colors have been found to cause hyperactivity and ADD, we love spirulina as an alternative, especially when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around. One thing to be mindful of when purchasing spirulina is the source. Many lesser quality sources of spirulina may contain pesticides, herbicides or microcystins. Microcystins can cause gastrointestinal disturbances and, in the long term, liver cancer. When shopping for spirulina, check out reliable brands like Nutrex Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica Powder. Their protein powder is a TCM team favorite!

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  1. we love spirulina!! we use it a lot in our recipes when we need something green

    Purelytwins | 11.05.2014 | Reply
    • A great way to fit in some greens, for sure!

      The Chalkboard | 11.06.2014 | Reply
  2. Does the spirulina brand you suggested have a strong scent? The one I bought is OOOOF so strong (can’t remember the brand name right now).

    Alison | 11.06.2014 | Reply
    • Hi Alison! Spirulina does have a very particular smell, but it should never be extremely, unpleasantly strong – a sign of oxidation. Hope this help!

      The Chalkboard | 11.06.2014 | Reply
  3. I’m love smoothies w/spirulina, however* I have read some accounts online that those with auto-immune diseases should possibly avoid it, b/c it can overstimulate those with auto-immune tendencies. (I have an undifferentiated auto-immune with characteristics of lupus). Curious if there is any place you would recommend I could research this? Thanks!

    Mandi | 12.01.2014 | Reply
  4. Spirulina basically made by blue-green algae and, Spirulina super rich in protein, iron, calcium, antioxidants, B-vitamins and other nutrients makes Spirulina a great addition to everyone’s diet, but especially vegans, vegetarians & also pregnant and lactating.
    Thanks for Sharing keep updating…

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