Everyone Is Raving About This Blue-Green Mermaid Algae Superfood (Here’s Why)

Emmy Schneider-Green
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While hardly a newcomer to the health food and alternative medicine scene, spirulina – like many superfoods – has been enjoying a resurgence in trendiness lately.

The blue-green algae has been called a superfood since superfoods became a thing, but thanks largely to its made-for-Instagram color, spirulina has been popping up in posts and hashtags of vibrant blue “mermaid” smoothies, bowls, and creations like lattes, pastas, and face masks.
 

Mermaid-bowl

Image: @healthyluxe


 
So what’s all the buzz about spirulina, beyond its gorgeous, Bahamas-water blue tint? The benefits of spirulina are nearly endlessly, making it one of the most impressive superfoods out there.
 

Spirulina provides more nutrients than any other superfood out there, which has earned it the title of the “most nutrient dense food on the planet.”

 
Skeptical of the term superfood, and feel like it’s a tad overused? We hear you! While the word gets tossed around a lot, ‘superfood’ simply refers to a food or supplement with potent health benefits and, gram-for-gram, more than typical amounts of nutrients.

Superfood obsessed? Check out these 5 “Secret” Superfoods You May Not Have Heard Of
 
 

What Is Spirulina and Where Does It Come From?

Though it looks like something hailing from another planet, spirulina (which means “tiny spiral” in Latin) grows in freshwater regions of Hawaii as well as many other locations around the globe.

Spirulina is a Cyanobacteria, a type of algae, and is therefore technically a bacteria rather than a plant. Spirulina is a close cousin of chlorella, another popular superfood you may have heard of – both of which have been used for centuries for their potent healing abilities.

In fact, spirulina was heavily relied upon by the likes of the ancient Aztecs, who used it as a protein source. It can be traced back through history as far back as the 9th century, when Central Africans cultivated spirulina in the area around Lake Chad.

 

 
 

What Makes This Superfood So Special?

Spirulina is an example of the sometimes less is more adage, with just one single tablespoon packing in an impressive list of nutrients in hefty doses. Gram for gram, spirulina provides more nutrients than any other superfood out there, which has earned it the title of the “most nutrient dense food on the planet.”

For starters, spirulina is loaded with high quality, easily-absorbable iron, calcium, and protein. This makes it an obvious win in any diet, but especially if you’re a vegan or vegetarian on the lookout for plant-based sources of these nutrients.

 
 

The Wide Range of Spirulina Benefits

The list of spirulina benefits is impressive. Just a tablespoon of spirulina in your smoothie or shake provides 4 grams of protein, not to mention 11% of the RDA of Vitamin B1, 15% of the RDA of B2, 21% of your RDA for copper, and 11% of the iron you need in a day.

And that’s in a serving size with only 20 calories, and almost no fat or carbs. Hard to beat!

Consuming spirulina checks off many of the daily minerals and vitamins you need. The blue-green algae can also work magic on a host of health issues.

Like many heavy-hitting health foods (think blueberries or leafy greens), one of the most important spirulina benefits is that it’s a powerful antioxidant, meaning it fights off free radicals that can do oxidative damage in the body.

The active compound in spirulina is phycocyanin, which is responsible not only for its signature mermaid-esque color – but also provides its antioxidant power to fight free radicals and inflammation.

Adding to the list of benefits, studies on the effects of spirulina on those with high cholesterol found that the superfood performs dual functions of lowering the “bad” cholesterol, LDL, while raising the good “HDL” cholesterol.

 

 
 

Spirulina has also long been praised for its ability to detoxify the body and remove toxins and heavy metals from the bloodstream. This is thanks to its large amounts of Chlorophyll, which acts as a detoxer.

Even if you don’t suffer from serious health conditions, increased energy, improved allergy symptoms, and strengthened immunity are all reported spirulina benefits.

 
 

Ready to Add This Algae Superfood to Your Healthy Lifestyle?

Though you should always consult a doctor or medical professional before starting any new supplement, if you do opt to start adding this superfood into your daily health regimen or diet, the standard recommended dose is 1-3 grams daily.

The two most readily available forms of spirulina are powders or capsules, which you can find online and at many health food stores. The powder is often added to smoothies and bowls, giving them that signature blue-green tint.

However, if you’d rather skip the “algae-like” flavor that is a little harsh for some, you can always get your dose in capsule form and still reap the benefits of spirulina.

Whether you choose to include it in your morning breakfast (check out these helpful steps to make the perfect smoothie) or stir it into a latte or bowl for that super-Instagramable mermaid hue, you’ll be reaping countless spirulina benefits and enjoying one of nature’s most powerful secrets.

Enjoy!

All included information is not intended to treat or diagnose. The views expressed are those of the author and should be attributed solely to the author. For medical questions, please consult your healthcare provider.

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Emmy Schneider-Green

Emmy is a passionate vegan foodie and fitness nut with a wanderlust spirit. When she’s not coaching her fitness and health clients or traveling around in her old renovated RV, she’s writing content on food, environmentalism, holistic health, and travel, or lifting weights, to show through bodybuilding the power of a plant-based diet and lifestyle.

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