If you are looking for a natural, cost-effective way to cleanse, nourish, energize, strengthen, regenerate and rejuvenate your body, adding spirulina to your daily regimen should be at the top of your “to do” list. The health benefits of spirulina are truly tremendous. When I am religious about taking it, I have more energy, my skin looks more radiant and I just feel better overall.
Spirulina, meaning ‘little spiral,’ is a microscopic, spiral shaped, plankton blue green algae. A simple hydrocarbon vegetable, it is made directly from photosynthesis – the pure interaction of sunlight and water. Spirulina is absolutely loaded with nutrition.
If you have our book, then you know we are big into trying to eat the most nutrient dense foods possible. Well, spirulina may actually be the single most nutritious food in existence. Successfully used by NASA as a dietary supplement for astronauts on space missions, declared by the United Nations as the best food of the future and recommended by the World Health Organization, spirulina truly is the ultimate superfood.
In fact, spirulina is so nutritionally complete that if I was forced to give up my daily multi-vitamin, I would replace it with a single daily tablespoon of the green green superfood powder. I would go so far as to say that if I had to choose between taking a multi-vitamin and spirulina I would actually take the spirulina (for the record, I take both). Spirulina is potentially a better choice than a multi-vitamin because all of the nutrients are naturally balanced, naturally occurring and more easily broken down and absorbed, which means they are more bioavailable or more usable to the cells in your body.
The Nutritional Health Benefits of Spirulina (Nature’s Multi-Vitamin!)
Spirulina has everything you need to live on, more than any other protein, grain, plant, algae, herb, vitamin, anything! With a balanced concentration and full spectrum of a vast array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients, the health benefits of spirulina are pretty mind-blowing.
Here’s what you get in just 10 grams (1 tablespoon) of the super green powder:
- Spirulina is a complete source of protein. It contains all of the amino acids essential to human health. One tablespoon of spirulina = 7 grams protein
- Unlike almost all other plant foods, spirulina is a good source of vitamin B12. Many vegetarians and vegans are deficient in this crucial vitamin, which plays an important role in energy production and proper neurological function. One tablespoon of spirulina = 250% of your Daily Value for vitamin B12.
- Spirulina has an exceptionally high concentration of beta-carotene and mixed carotenoids, powerful antioxidants that help quench free radicals. In fact, you would need to consume a whopping 18 carrots to get the same amount of beta carotene found in 1 tablespoon spirulina.
- Spirulina has incredibly high concentrations of phycocyanin, a powerful anti-inflammatory that has also been shown to benefit immune systems weakened by toxic drugs.
- It is rich in fiber. One tablespoon of spriulina = 2 grams fiber.
- One tablespoon of spirulina = 110% of your Daily Value for folate.
- One tablespoon of spirulina = 30% of your Daily Value for iron. For the record, you would need to eat 21 ounces of spinach to get the same amount of iron found in 1 tablespoon spirulina.
- One tablespoon of spirulina = 900% of your Daily Value for vitamin A.
- One tablespoon of spirulina = 50% of your Daily Value for vitamin K.
- Spirulina is rich in a broad spectrum of B vitamins.
- Spirulina is rich in a special anti-inflammatory “super fat” fat called GLA (gamma linolenic acid). Some naturopathic physicians actually prescribe GLA supplements (such as evening primrose oil) to improve sensitivity to insulin and assist with weight loss, to reduce blood pressure and to reduce hormone-mediated nuisance symptoms (bye-bye PMS or hot flashes). Hemp seeds are among the very few non-supplement food sources of “super fat” GLA, but next to mother’s milk, spirulina is the richest natural food source.
- Spirulina also contains highly anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats
- One tablespoon of spirulina contains as much calcium as the equivalent of 3 glasses of cow’s milk.
- Spirulina is exceptionally rich in naturally detoxifying chlorophyll. You would need to consume 3 ounces of fresh wheat grass to get the same chlorophyll found in 1 tablespoon spirulina.
I am not going to stretch the truth and try to convince you that spirulina tastes good. I do however have a trick to making it more palatable that I will share in just a bit. But, taste aside, I can’t say enough great things about spirulina.
The Detoxifying Benefits of Spirulina
In addition to being an incredibly concentrated source of nutrients, spirulina has tremendous detoxifying benefits. Like seaweed, the cell walls of spirulina bind to heavy metals, plastics, solvents and other toxins, shuttling them out with the stool.
Spirulina is also well known to assist the body in detoxifying arsenic. Although the idea of arsenic toxicity may sound far-fetched, according the World Health Organization, the United States is one of the countries affected by inorganic arsenic that is naturally present at high levels, mostly from groundwater. Arsenic toxicity is an even bigger problem in the Far East. Millions of people in Bangladesh, India, Taiwan, and Chile are consuming high concentration of arsenic through drinking water, and thousands of them have already developed chronic arsenic poisoning. Hemodialysis is the standard medical treatment for arsenic poisoning, and yet a clinical study of patients with chronic arsenic poisoning showed an impressive 47% reduction of arsenic in their body following a twice daily treatment of 250 mg of spirulina and 2 mg of zinc.
Energizing Benefits of Spirulina (+ Why I Take it in the Morning)
If you start taking spirulina regularly you will undoubtedly notice an increase in energy. One of the ways spirulina exerts a positive effect on energy levels is by way of the digestive tract. It is incredibly rich in enzymes, which enhance digestion and amplify the absorption of all of the nutrients (which include many vitamins essential to energy, such as iron and B vitamins).
I personally notice an energy boost within an hour or so after taking it, which is why I prefer to take spirulina before 3 in the afternoon. Just like with cordyceps, I have actually noticed that if I take spirulina too late in the day it interferes with my sleep.
The Best Spirulina
It is important to buy Organic Certified spirulina. This way, you can be assured it has been cultivated without toxic fertilizers. You also want to make sure your spirulina comes from a pure water source and that it is a pure strain that undergoes a proper drying process. Avoid spirulina that is grown using un-tested seawater or surface water, which can potentially expose you to heavy metal toxins. Chemical fertilizers, pesticides, plus anything added to the end product are also to be avoided.
Although I am certain there are other pure brands of sprirulina, Sari Foods is my favorite brand. You can purchase a 45-days supply (16 ounces) of Sari Foods brand spirulina for an almost 50% discount for just $26.00. on Amazon HERE. By the way, Sari Foods is the same brand I use for the unfortified nutritional yeast when I make my Energizing “B Tea” (a savory and delicious B-vitamin rich caffeine free tea).
How to Make Spirulina Taste Better
And finally, my secret for making spirulina taste more palatable is to mix it with lemon juice, cumin and cayenne pepper. I’m not going to claim this is my best-tasting recipe ever, but it should at least help you get the spirulina down 😉
- 1 tablespoon organic spirulina powder (such as Sari Foods brand)
- Juice from 1 whole lemon
- ⅓ cup water
- 2 pinches cayenne pepper
- 1 pinch cumin
- Put all of the ingredients in a cup and use a fork to whisk until smooth. Drink at once.
P.S. WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW TO EAT CLEAN?
Did you know our Clean Cuisine book includes an 8-week anti-inflammatory lifestyle plan?