What is spirulina?

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I bought some spirulina a while back because that was one of those superfoods that came highly recommended via my nutrition studies. I was so excited to finally upgrade my pantry with this super green powder that I even posted about it on instagram, complete with the promise to blog about its health benefits that same month! Well, that was 13 weeks ago. Call me the master of procrastination. But luckily, yesterday somebody asked me about spirulina and I remembered that there was something I had promised to write about.
Do you still want to hear about it? Yeah? Good for you – it’s definitely worth learning about, even 13 weeks later :)
Spirulina is a blue-green oceanic algae that is cultivated worldwide and sold as a supplement in powder or tablet form. Algae like in seaweed? Yes! Sea veggies are some of the healthiest foods for you. They’re packed with minerals and antioxidants, but this blue green powder is offering even more

benefits:

– full of vitamins ( A, B1, B2, B6, E, & K ),
– one of the richest sources of protein (between 65% – 71 %, that’s more protein gram per gram than beef, chicken, fish, and even soybeans.)
– chlorophyll (helps build red blood cells)

– magnesium in an easily absorbable form (the combination of chlorophyll and magnesium helps to remove toxins from the bloodstream while oxygenating the blood)

–  phytonutrients (plant nutrients that help build white blood cells)
– enzymes,
– major and trace minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, selenium, potassium, zinc, and varying amounts of iodine)
– polysaccharides (increase immunity, provide anti-viral activity, help in the removal of radiation and heavy metals from the body, and improve the functional productivity of bone marrow, the thymus, and spleen cells)
– antioxidants, carotenoids
– all essential amino acids

Spirulina is also high in a specific and rare type of fatty acid called gamma linolenic acid that is found in very few substances on earth.
This superfood is used to balance brain chemistry, build and purify blood. It can increase the production of stem cells, enhance the immune system, help eyesight, reduce allergies and even promote healthy hair and skin. (source)

All of that from this:

fresh spirulina

Yumm!!! OK, fine – I agree. I wouldn’t want to eat that either. Luckily people have figured out a way to dry this algae and make it into that:

Spirulina-powder-and-tablets

Better, huh? I actually bought that jar on the right, with the powdered form since I wanted to use it in smoothies and maybe some cupcake frosting. It has an intense blue-green color and the powder is very fine, so be careful when you use it – don’t wear white!

This jar I had bought is still around. I don’t use it everyday, but you could. The serving size is only 1 teaspoon so it’ll last a while. It does smell a little bit like ocean, but not fishy. I use 1 tsp in my 16 oz smoothie and can’t taste it at all.

Other ways to use spirulina:

– sprinkle on popcorn

– mix into guacamole

– mix into pesto sauce

– sprinkle on your veggies, salad, soups

– mix into hummus

– add to your scrambled eggs (Green Eggs!! or green deviled eggs!)

– add it to homemade frosting (great for Halloween!)

– you can even use it as a face mask (helps clear pores, reduce lines and soften wrinkles! Also great for Halloween)

 

Or you can try this yummy breakfast  smoothie I made today:

for one 16 oz serving:

– 1 cup fresh spinach

– 1 orange, peeled

– 1/2 banana

– 1/2 cup frozen mango

– 1 tsp spirulina

– 2 tbsp rolled oats

– 3/4 cup water

In a blender, mix the spinach, oranges, and water on high for 1 minute. Then add the other ingredients and blend again until everything’s smooth. Enjoy!!

 

Warnings

  • Do not take spirulina if you have any seafood allergy, multiple sclerosis, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Spirulina may stimulate your immune system and make your condition worse.
  • Do not take spirulina if you have phenylketonuria, a rare condition that prevents the metabolism of the amino acid phenylalanine, which is abundant in spirulina
  • While high quality spirulina is free of adverse side effects, it does contain iodine, so people who are allergic or sensitive to iodine should avoid taking the supplement. For this same reason, people with hyperthyroidism should also avoid the supplement.
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