You might have been turned off if spirulina powder if you had discovered that its nickname is ‘pond scum’. Yes, you read that right. The latest health food that has people talking is called pond scum. But don’t let that turn you off this nutrient rich algae that you can purchase in powdered or capsuled form.
Spirulina has been a food source as far back as the 16th century for the Aztecs but it wasn’t really re-discovered as a nutritious food until the 1960’s when scientists began to examine this algae that birds fed on.
As a cousin of chlorella, spirulina is a freshwater plant that is packed with dense nutritional content that includes fatty acids, antioxidants, proteins, iron, vitamin B1, magnesium, and calcium.
Spirulina powder has been proven to fight infection, allergies, and aid with athletic abilities. It’s also been shown to help fight certain types of cancer, negate the harmful effects of chemo radiation, lower blood pressure, and aid with weight loss. And that’s just the beginning!
Spirulina is the most nutrient-dense food on the planet. Officially cementing its spot on the list of superfoods. It contains 57 grams of protein per every 100g which means more than half of it is made of up of pure protein! That serving also contains 177% of your daily recommended intake of iron and 16% of your daily fibre.
All good things come at a price and because spirulina is so nutrient dense, it is often more expensive than chlorella. We also need to be careful to consume less than 11 grams a day (for the average person’s body weight) as it can not only negate the positive effects of the algae but cause detrimental ones as well.
Both have a wide range of nutritional benefits, so unless you’re looking to address a specific health concern it’s really a matter of preference.
The blue-green algae is available in powder form and generally isn’t consumed on its own so the taste depends on how you’re consuming it. The source of it will also affect how it tastes, as some of it has been harvested from salt water will have a more fishy flavour compared to fresh water spirulina which will be more neutral. There are also capsules of spirulina available for those that can never get accustomed it!
You can mix the powder with water or green juice, take it as a capsule or add it to your salad. Whatever you do, don’t cook with it or heat it up; it cannot withstand being heated.
Speak to your health care professional if you are currently suffering from any illnesses, symptoms, or deficiencies. That being said, spirulina can be a great option for vegan or vegetarians who are concerned about getting their daily services of protein and iron.