I’ve been skeptical of the term “super food” ever since I began a raw foods diet, but spirulina is definitely the exception! Spirulina is blue green algae, a simple one celled organism that is amazingly high in protein and nutrients. It grows in both fresh and salt water in the wild. It is rich in Chlorophyll and gets its energy from the sun. Spirulina also has one of the densest concentrations of essential nutrients known in any food.
Spirulina is believed to have been a source of food for the Aztecs in Mexico during the 16th century. It was used even further back in Chad dating back as far as the Kanem Empire during the 9th century. It is said to have been discovered by Hernando Cortes and his Spanish Conquistadors in 1519, but like most “discoveries” in the Americas by explorers, spirulina had most likely been “discovered” and used way prior to this date.
Spirulina is 65% protein and contains all essential amino acids. It has very high levels of chlorophyll, which aids the body in removing toxins from the blood which in turn strengthens the immune system. Spirulina is also high in antioxidants, which destroy free radicals in the body that damage cells and can lead to cancer. It has antimicrobial properties that kill bacteria and viruses, including quite possibly HIV-1. Studies have found spirulina to help inactivate the virus associated with HIV and AIDS.
Spirulina is very high in calcium which is very beneficial for elderly people, children and women that are pregnant. It is also high in Omega 3’s and contains a high concentration of iron, which is very beneficial again for pregnant women as well as for those with anemia. Spirulina has been shown to assist and support the growth of healthy bacterial flora in the stomach which helps keep the overgrowth of candida under control. A dose of spirulina each day has been shown to help regulate blood pressure, which is a major health concern of millions of people just in the United States alone. By lowering blood pressure, you greatly decrease your chances of stroke and heart attack. Some research suggests that spirulina might even be helpful with allergies.
Spirulina is very effective when it comes to detoxing the body of heavy metals. We come in contact with metal toxicity, are actually bombarded with it, in our daily lives. From aluminum in deodorants to mercury in old dental fillings, we also have contact with arsenic and lead. Spirulina is a strong chelating agent that helps remove these metals, toxins and radioactive substances from the body. Also very beneficial at removing this lead “poison” from our bodies is chlorella. But we will get into chlorella at another time.
I think I can agree with the use of the term “super food” applied to a plant that provides most of the required protein you need, helps allergies, helps control high blood pressure, regulates cholestorol and helps to prevent cancer.
Spirulina Usage and Dosing
First and foremost it is important to obtain your spirulina from an organic and reputable source. Otherwise you run the risk of taking spirulina which is contaminated with heavy metals and other toxins. It comes in powder, tablets and capsules and a recommended dose is between 3 and 5 grams per day. I use the powder form myself. Some say that it tastes like pond scum. Imagine that! I actually enjoy the taste myself. I like to sprinkle it over salads and then top with orange juice. It also goes well in smoothies and green soups. You will want to drink plenty of water however you take your spirulina to help absorb it into your system. I recommend you start with a low dosage and gradually work up so you can see how it affects you. Taking too much in the beginning might overwhelm one with heavy detox.
As good as spirulina is for you I still recommend caution when taking any new substance or supplement. Although spirulina is natural and healthy it is not for those with severe seafood or iodine allergies. And women who are pregnant or nursing should contact their healthcare provider. Study and educate yourself on spirulina and use it cautiously in the beginning and I think you will find it a powerful addition to a whole living foods diet.