If you are the type of person who has a hard time enjoying those dark leafy greens that are so good for us, then spirulina might be the waterborne algae that rescues you. Spirulina is a natural blue-green algae that is found in freshwater lakes, ponds, and rivers, and it’s absolutely packed with nutrients. Though it does emit a bit of a pond-scum flavour, you can conceal the taste in smoothies (it will seriously redefine the colour of your ‘green smoothie’), or take it in capsule supplements. Read on to find out why we are loving spirulina!
Amazing source of vitamins and minerals
Dubbed one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, spirulina contains a few hard to get B vitamins, including thiamine (B1), which is necessary for the digestion of fats and proteins; it also increases energy and improves eye health, brain, and nerve functioning. Spirulina also contains riboflavin (B2), which helps our bodies break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
Can supplement iron and calcium for those following a plant-based diet
Vegetarians and vegans could consider taking spirulina, as it contains a significant amount of easily absorbable iron, making it a great alternative for those who don’t eat meat. Spirulina also contains a whopping 26 times more calcium than milk, making it a great dairy-free source of this essential bone strengthening nutrient.
Contains Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), Omega-3s, and Protein
Who says vegan food can’t be high protein? You won’t believe it, but pound for pound, spirulina has more protein than red meat (although it wouldn’t be safe to consume spirulina as your main protein source). Nevertheless, its makeup of 65% protein and amino acids, including the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA), is impressive. Spirulina is one of the few foods with a natural GLA content, which has been recommended for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Contains powerful antioxidants
Antioxidants are important because they protect our cells from damage. Spirulina contains an uncommon antioxidant known as phycocyanin, which is a potent anti-inflammatory. It has a unique blend of vitamin E, carotenoids, selenium, and phenolic acids, making it an impressive force in neutralizing free radicals and defending your body against cellular damage. Spirulina also has an ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) rating that’s four times higher than blueberries, making it one of the most antioxidant-rich foods on the planet.
Improves aerobic performance
Skip the energy drink. Next time you’re fueling up for the gym, throw a tablespoon of spirulina into a smoothie. It’s known to increase fat burning during exercise, and studies have even found that it can increase endurance, and decrease muscle damage.
This really is the perfect supplement for those of us who have a hard time getting enough greens (though we don’t want you to give up on greens). When it’s easy as throwing a scoop into a smoothie, or swallowing a small capsule, how can you say no?
If you’ve tried spirulina before, what’d you think?