Spirulina is one of my favourite superfoods because it’s outrageously healthy. It’s one of the most nutritious plant-like organisms around. Spirulina is the ultimate superfood powerhouse and its many nutritional qualities are really impressive. Although there are other super-greens like chlorella, spirulina is a great all-rounder and deserves to be considered ‘King of the Superfoods’. It’s amazing benefits make it invaluable especially for vegetarians, vegans, anaemics, diabetics and anyone who’s nutritionally compromised.
Spirulina is a form of blue green algae that’s 100% natural and highly nutritious. It’s one of the oldest life-forms on Earth and billions of years ago it helped produce our oxygen-rich atmosphere.
Although often confused with chlorella, spirulina’s actually a very different and more-complex organism. Spirulina can be easily digested in its natural form while chlorella must be processed. But spirulina is the healthier choice because importantly, it contains more essential amino acids, iron, protein, B vitamins, and vitamins C, D and E.
Spirulina is so nutrient dense you could survive on it and water alone.
Health Benefits Of Spirulina
Spirulina earns its superfood powerhouse status by having the highest concentration of digestible vegetable protein (60-70%) with a perfectly balanced combination of essential amino acids. That’s more protein than you find in beef, chicken or soybeans!
Vitamin B12 is very difficult to find in plant foods. So B12 is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies of vegans or vegetarians. Spirulina is a great choice for vegetarians because it contains large amounts of vitamin B12.
Spirulina is loaded with other nutrients in addition to B12 including:
- iron – nearly 4000% more than spinach
- minerals magnesium, copper, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, chromium, selenium, calcium, sodium
- vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, D, E, K, folate
- omega-3 and omega-6
- health-giving phytonutrients such as carotenoids, GLA, SOD and phycocyanin
- protein rich
- very high in antioxidants
Minerals are sometimes difficult to absorb. But spirulina improves mineral absorption so the abundance of minerals it contains can be utilised properly by the body.
Plus it’s low-calorie and nutrient dense, containing only 3.9 calories per gram.
I can’t overstate the immune boosting qualities of spirulina. With its unique ability to fight infection, enhance cellular functioning, and even keep cancer at bay, it has a wide range of uses.
Concerns About Spirulina
Processing isn’t a problem for the nutrients in spirulina. Spirulina only grows in extremely warm conditions and can withstand any possible high temperatures involved in processing. It’s able to retain its nutritional value unlike many other plant foods which deteriorate at these temperatures.
Proven Health Benefits of Spirulina
- Detoxes by assisting heavy mineral elimination
- Effective antimicrobial agent especially for candida
- Helps prevent cancer by increasing antibody production
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces cholesterol – prevents atherosclerosis and reduces elevated blood cholesterol levels
- Lowers risk of stroke
- Boosts energy
- Speeds weight loss
- Helps sinus issues by reducing inflammation, itching, discharge, congestion and sneezing
- May prevent memory loss
- Improves HIV and AIDS
- Protects against viruses including flu and herpes
- Promotes healthy nerve tissue
- Helps fight free radicals
- Aids digestion and gut health
- Improves age spots, eczema, acne, rashes
- Fights the ageing process
- Curbs appetite for weight loss
- Aids glaucoma, cataracts, poor vision
- Improves allergies and respiratory function
- Helps detoxify radiation from the body
- Fights heart disease, reduces arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes and depression
Because it is so easily digested spirulina packs a powerful punch when it comes to
its many health benefits.
Good quality spirulina has no side effects, but you need to be absolutely certain of the quality.
Contaminated blue-green algae is incredibly toxic and can cause health problems including liver damage. Spirulina easily absorbs nutrients from water. So if the water’s polluted or contains heavy metals these become concentrated in the spirulina cell. If this happens it’s no longer suitable for human consumption.
Select spirulina carefully as some are of questionable quality. Certainly choose organic spirulina. Either research well or buy from a qualified practitioner.
Spirulina…Tablet or Powder?
Spirulina comes as powder or tablets and it’s easy to tell if it’s good quality or not. Quality tablets don’t contain sugar, starch fillers, animal parts, preservatives, stabilisers, or colours. They’re a uniform dark green colour without any light coloured specks.
You can take up to twelve tablets a day, although some people take even more. But start out with three, increasing to six over a couple of days. Take them all at once or spread over two doses. The recommended dose for adults is 5-10 per day.
Powder is a better choice if you prefer adding spirulina to smoothies, water, juice or other foods. You’ll notice the effects very quickly because the powder is so easily digested.
You can take up to two tablespoons a day but most people don’t need anwhere near that much. Start with one teaspoon (5 grams) added to drinks or other foods. The drink or smoothie colour will change to dark green. Select other ingredients with strong flavours to mask the flavour of spirulina. Over time gradually increase the quantity to two teaspoons (10gms) per drink.
Like tablets, 100% pure powder is a uniformly dark green colour.
If you’re very run down or have a debilitating illness keep the quantity you take low. You’ll get enormous benefit from small amounts and taking smaller quantities won’t push your body too fast or too hard.
Avoid alcohol, soda or coffee for 30 minutes after taking spirulina as they destroy some of the nutrients and enzymes.
Because it is a natural food and NOT a supplement you can’t take too much. Taking more than you need is like overeating.
Don’t take spirulina if you suffer from hyperparathyroidism.
Handy hint: Whenever I’m on long-haul flights I take lots of spirulina on the day of the flight, as well as the day before and the one after. It’s part of my ‘flight regime’ to help overcome the bad effects of air travel.
Share your experience with this incredible superfood in the comments below.
I’d love to hear them.
All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation with your health care provider. Do not use this article to diagnose a health condition. Speak to your doctor if you think your condition may be serious or before discontinuing any prescribed medication. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.