What Is Spirulina?Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is grown in Hawaii and other parts of the world, in both fresh water and salt water. It’s typically consumed as a dried powder—in capsule or tablet form. Spirulina goes unrecognized by most, but it should be on the forefront of the nutrition world as it’s packed with health benefits! Specifically, it provides energy. Having a natural way to increase energy is always something to get excited about. Peace out, caffeine—spirulina is the new energy booster.
Spirulina for EnergySpirulina is nutrient-dense. In one tablespoon of spirulina, you get the following:
- Calories: 20
- Protein: 4.02 g
- Carbohydrates: 1.67 g
- Vitamin B1: 11% recommended daily allowance (RDA)
- Vitamin B2: 15% RDA
- Vitamin B3: 4% RDA
- Iron: 11% RDA
- Copper: 21% RDA
The vitamin B1, or thiamin, contained in spirulina is also helpful for maintaining energy. When the body is deficient in thiamin, you will more commonly experience fatigue and weakness.
Spirulina contains small amounts of almost every nutrient, including vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. When you look at the nutrients in spirulina, it is gram-for-gram one of the most nutrient-dense foods available! It makes sense why the astronauts use it in space to supplement their diets. It’s an easy way to boost the nutritional content of your diet.
Green Is for ChlorophyllSpirulina has a rich green color, which is due to the chlorophyll that it contains. Chlorophyll is helpful for increasing energy because of how it transfers energy inside the body. ATP (energy molecules in the body) are manufactured by mitochondria which exist inside your cells. Chlorophyll helps this process by transferring electrons which accelerates the production of ATP (energy) inside the body. It’s energy on a cellular level!
Not All Spirulina Is Created EqualQuality is critical when it comes to spirulina. Because spirulina is an algae, it can be contaminated by toxins in the oceans, just like any seafood. Spirulina is most commonly grown in Hawaii where many brands source it from. Brands like Nutrex Hawaii grow their spirulina on the coast of Kona, Hawaii, where this specific brand doesn’t use any pesticides or herbicides.
How to Incorporate Spirulina into Your DietThere are many ways you can successfully incorporate spirulina into your diet. The flavor of spirulina is “green” tasting—think grass and seaweed. That being said, when you pair it with the right foods, you can mask the flavor! Citrus fruits have a sweet and tart flavor that helps minimize the bitterness of the spriulina. You can also get used to the flavor quickly, so don’t worry if you hate the taste at first. Here are a few different ways you can consume spirulina:
- Spirulina + orange juice shot: Pour 2 oz. of orange juice and 2 teaspoons of spirulina powder into a glass. Mix up and drink! This is a great energy booster in the morning.
- Spirulina smoothie: 1 cup coconut water, handful of spinach, 2 stalks celery, ½ cup frozen mango, half a banana, and 1 tablespoon of spirulina powder. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth!
- Spirulina capsules or tablets: If you can’t stand the taste of spirulina, buy it in capsule form and take it as directed.
*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center's Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.
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