This Superfood Spotlight we talk about the health benefits of spirulina and chlorella.
You don’t have to be an editor at alive to know that superfoods are all the rage right now. Whether they’re in your breakfast cereal, yogourt, or energy bars, superfoods are the new black. But what actually is a superfood, and which ones should we incorporate into our diets?
Well, to answer the first question, a superfood is a whole, unprocessed food that contains notable levels of nutrients to enhance one’s health. As for the second question, a long list of foods are being touted for their superfood status, many of which we will discuss in our Superfood Spotlight posts.
To get started, we’re talking about the superfood algae—more specifically, we’re talking about chlorophyll-rich spirulina and chlorella.
This blue-green algae is found typically in warm tropical or subtropical waters such as in Mexico and Central Africa. It gets its rich colour from chlorophyll, the super-pigment that allows plants to absorb and metabolize light.
Spirulina is a popular superfood among health nuts, as it is extremely high in protein (62 percent of its content, in fact, is amino acids). Further, it contains a high concentration of B vitamins and iron, among other nutrients.
Spirulina’s possible health benefits include boosting immunity, reducing allergy symptoms, fighting infection, boosting probiotic growth (helpful after a bout of antibiotics), and protecting against liver damage.
This single-celled freshwater green algae contains high levels of chlorophyll—more, in fact, than spirulina or any leafy green. It’s also a complete protein (yep, that’s right—all 9 essential amino acids!) and a great source of B vitamins and iron, and is often taken by those with deficiencies.
Chlorella is taken for a variety of reasons. Particularly, chlorella is said to be a great cleansing agent, for the blood, liver, and digestive system. As well, chlorella has been investigated for its cancer-inhibiting abilities, which have been demonstrated in animal studies.
How to incorporate algae into your diet
Spirulina and chlorella come in tablet and powder forms, either individually or in a blend with other green food ingredients.
Unfortunately, spirulina and chlorella aren’t the tastiest of treats, so some people choose to go with the tablet form. Many brave souls, however, add the powder form to smoothies and even baked goods. Another novel idea is to blend it with a natural liquid sweetener (such as honey, maple syrup, or agave) and a nut or seed butter. Drizzle the resulting mixture over cereal, crackers, or fruit salad. Who knows, you might even start to like the taste!