Spirulina is a dark blue-green algae dried powder that is grown in water - and most people would find it completely unappetizing to eat (understandable). Spirulina is used in many different cuisines, but it’s probably most popular within the plant-based communities as it’s very high in protein and other wonderful nutrients. I’m here to give you an introduction and quick lesson on all things spirulina (also for more detail simply click the hyperlinked text for direct research on the topic). Afterwards, I hope you seek it out to at least try once.
What is spirulina?
Spirulina is a type of blue-green micro-algae grown and harvested from very alkaline water sources. It was long used by the Aztecs as a food source because of it’s potent nutrient content. Spirulina is commonly found in several forms; tablets (which are chewable), fine powder, flakes, and pills or capsules. When purchasing spirulina, keep in mind to purchase only organic varieties that are processed at very low heat (to retain the maximum nutrition). Since spirulina is grown and comes from water, it’s surrounded by free toxins floating in the water and more susceptible to contamination of heavy metals. These toxins, called microcystins, can be mostly be avoided by purchasing from a trusted brand who grows it organically. Notice I say mostly, there are some studies (and here) that show some less than beneficial characteristics of spirulina.
Not only do I love the nutrition punch spirulina provides into my eats on occasion, but it also has an array of other health benefits such as: antioxidant, anti inflammatory properties, boost immune function, protect the liver, reduce allergic reactions, muscle endurance and oxidative stress, reduce oral cancer, may also help fight infections and antibiotics related illnesses.
Emma Olliff nutrient breakdown of SPIRULINA |
This is not a complete list, but here are a couple brands I enjoy | Naturya (spirulina powder), Organic Burst (spirulina powder) and Spirulina Crunchies. I typically store spirulina (and all my superfood powders) in the freezer or refrigerator to retain it’s freshness as much as possible. If it doesn’t come in a dark glass bottle, I suggest purchasing one or at least keeping it in an air tight container made of glass in the freezer or refrigerator away from light. Spirulina is a delicate algae full of antioxidants, nutrients, and chlorophyll all of which you need to preserve; following these steps will do so.
If you follow Emma Olliff Nutrition on Facebook or Twitter, you will know all too well that I love adding spirulina into my smoothies very often. Now you can understand why!
Have you ever tried spirulina? If you use spirulina, what’s your favorite way to incorporate it into your eats? Share below, I love hearing your comments!
Your guide to living whole and well. Emma Olliff is a Registered Nutritional Therapist, wellness expert, food lover, and advocate for healthy living!