You have probably already heard from many sources the importance of eating greens. Green foods are typically rich, nutrient dense sources of many vitamins and minerals. You already most likely know about spinach, kale, and wheat grass. How about spirulina? Here’s what you should know about the super-food and check out a recipe at the end for my own favorite way of incorporating it into my diet!
What is it?
Spirulina is a dark blue/green algae that actually is often found on the top of ponds. Yes, you heard it right: it comes from “pond scum.” But wait! When you buy this algae at the store it’s perfectly safe and prepared to eat. In many places and health food stores it comes in two forms: powder and a pill. I personally prefer the powder because you can actually add it into foods. Some people may find the supplement form to be more appealing because they can get turned off by the look of it. In some cases, spirulina can be a bit of a pricey-er food. However, a little goes a long way. A small tub of powder can set you up for months. Try to shop around in stores and online to get the best deal.
Rich in Protein
This tiny supplement contains 50-70% of protein by weight. Just two tablespoons are enough to give you enough protein to keep you satisfied for hours. As a bonus, since spirulina is a plant source, it’s a great protein for vegan and vegetarian friends. Don’t count on it to replace all your protein needs, but it can be incorporated to other protein sources as well.
High in Vitamins and Minerals
Here are just some of the nutrients that this algae contains. It’s one of the best sources of iodine, typically found in animal products such as dairy. Also, it has about the same amount of phosphorous, magnesium, and calcium as milk. In addition, it is a good source of vitamin K, potassium, and pantothenic acid (B5), as well as thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), copper, iron, and manganese. Finally, it’s rich it B12, which is a common vitamin found to be deficient in many people.
Boosts the Immune System
Some studies have shown that spirulina can enhance immune system function prevent the development of viral infections. It contains antioxidants that increase the number of white blood cells in the body. These white blood cells play an important role in the immune system and produce antibodies that fight off illness and bacteria.
No matter how you prefer to incorporate it into your diet, spirulina is a great thing to add if you’re looking for some health benefits of food. Remember that super-foods aren’t a “cure-all.” However, they can play important roles in health with maintaining a nutrient dense diet. So, here is a recipe for the smoothie I have been making lately after getting into spirulina!
Mean and Green Smoothie Recipe
1 cup raw spinach
3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 banana (frozen or fresh)
1/2 cup mixed frozen berries of your choice
1/2 tsp. powdered spirulina
1 tsp. ground flax seed
1 tsp. chia seeds
Directions: add the first 5 ingredients into a blender and mix on high speed until the ingredients are well combined. Pour into a glass and hand-stir the flax seeds and chia seeds with a spoon. Enjoy!
Article written by GUADS staff member, Nicole with contributions from well-beingsecrets.com.