Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that contains a number of vital nutrients, enzymes and amino acids. It’s a powerful multivitamin, multi-mineral, with omegas and fatty acids that are critical for heart health, skin health, and hormone function. Spirulina also contains antioxidants, minerals, chlorophyll, and phycocyanobilin and is commonly used as a source of vegan protein. Spirulina is capable of reducing inflammation and also manifesting antioxidant effects.
The benefits of spirulina include:
• A powerhouse of nutrients for your body: Spirulina includes vitamins B1, 2, and 3, iron, magnesium, iron, and potassium. Studies show that spirulina truly is one of the most nutrient-dense foods there is, which makes it a real superfood.
• Assists the body in detoxifying: This blue-green algae contains proteins and peptides that are particularly good at binding to the toxins and excreting them out of the body. It prevents the toxins from being absorbed into your bloodstream and entering your system.
• Immune system strengthening: This superfood aids in the body’s ability to ward off pathogens. Spirulina contains a compound called phycocyanin, a powerful pain reliever, neuro-protectant, and anti-inflammatory antioxidant that fights off anything that could cause damage to your cells.
• May lower blood pressure: That antioxidant effect works in favor for blood pressure, too, by helping increase blood flow. Spirulina increases the production of nitric oxide, a gas molecule that helps widen blood vessels, which helps blood flow more easily and the heart doesn’t have to work as hard.
• May support weight management: Surprisingly, even though spirulina is full of nutrients, it only has 20 calories per tablespoon and 4 grams of protein. It also contains an amino acid called l-phenylalanine, which has been linked to appetite suppressant effects. Spirulina has also been shown to help balance blood sugar levels.
• Increases endurance for athletes: Studies show that taking it on a regular basis can up athletes’ endurance. Spirulina’s benefit of better blood flow is a part of it.
• Helps muscular endurance: Studies have shown that athletes who take spirulina on a regular basis don’t get tired as easily when lifting weights as people who don’t take it. This, again, comes down to better blood flow. But reaping the rewards of all the nutrients—perhaps most notably the protein in this case—is a contributing factor as well.
How to Choose Your Spirulina
Make sure that the spirulina you are buying is clean and pure. Buy from companies that are organic, non-GMO, and gluten-free. Companies that have these labels will limit cross-contamination.
Thoroughly check out the companies website first to see if they say where their spirulina is sourced from and whether any testing has been done to verify that it’s clean. If they’re not displaying that information, use caution. Not everyone tests for toxins, and those are the ones you need to look out for.
People with allergies to seafood, seaweed, and other sea vegetables should avoid spirulina. As with all supplements, it is important to examine the “Supplement Facts” label on any product that you buy. This label will contain vital information, including the amount of active ingredients per serving and any other ingredients that might be in the product.
How to Get Spirulina In Your Diet
Spirulina is sold in both powdered form and capsules. The dried powder has a vibrant emerald color and can be added to anything from yogurt, smoothies, juices, baked goods, or sprinkled on top of soups, sauces, and salads. Since spirulina is after all an algae, grown in marine environments, it does has a slightly fishy smell and tastes neutral, just the slightest bit bitter. However you will grow accustomed to it, and it can be made almost indistinguishable by adding it to other more delectable and flavorful foods such as smoothies with bananas and peanut butter. My favorite brand of spirulina is from Nutrex Hawaii and is pure Hawaiian grown spirulina. They sell both the powder and capsules. Hawaiian Spirulina is exclusively grown in Kona, and is certified gluten-free, vegan, kosher, halal, and Non-GMO Project Verified.