Spirulina algae powder and tablets

Spirulina: the nutrient powerhouse

Spirulina is a superfood like no other. It’s one of most nutrient-dense foods in the world and can strengthen, nourish and support your body. Although it was used by the Aztecs thousands of years ago to boost their stamina it’s only recently become popular as a supplement in the modern, western world.

What is spirulina?

Spirulina is a microscopic blue-green cyanobacteria (algae) which comes in two varieties, arthrospira platensis and arthrospira maxima. It’s grown in purpose-built freshwater pools in tropical climes as well as places like Mexico, China and India but has existed on earth since the very beginning of time, turning CO2 into oxygen.

A hardy plant that thrives at a pH of 8.5 and a temperature of 30°C, it can be farmed without chemical pesticides. The process of turning the algae into a powder involves spirulina being harvested from the freshwater pools once it reaches maturity. It’s strained out using special screens, washed several times and then dried out. Nothing is added and nothing is taken away.

Why is spirulina good for our bodies?

Spirulina can help soothe aching joints and bones, relieve stress and anxiety, as well as give you an energy boost when you’re feeling drained. It’s jam packed with protein, good fats, vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium and iron. It contains 25 times more beta carotene than carrots, 58 times more iron than spinach and contains 60-70% protein (compared to chicken which has 25-30%)suitable for vegetarians and vegans..

It’s so nutritious that NASA and the European Space Agency have conducted studies to see if it could be used as a food source for their astronauts on long missions.

How can you eat spirulina?

It can be used as a whole food or a supplement in tablet, capsule, powder or flake form. Swallowing the powder straight isn’t really an option as it’s very dry and has a unique taste that takes some getting used to. However, you can add it to a glass of protein shake, water or orange juice, but be prepared to see both your drink and teeth turn dark green in colour. A few mouthfuls of plain water afterwards should return your teeth to their natural colour.

If you prefer, you could make yourself a refreshing spirulina smoothie if you blend it with mango and pineapple in a food processor. Or you could bake some banana and spirulina granola bars or give raw chocolate spirulina brownies a try if you fancy getting handy in the kitchen. Alternatively, there are plenty of products available to buy, such as cereal bars and energy balls which combine spirulina with ginseng.

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