Have blue-green drinks and “mermaid” smoothies been filling your social media feeds lately?
Believe it or not, you have an edible algae to thank for that! Spirulina has become a wildly popular addition to food and drink recipes in 2018, and not just for aesthetic reasons. It’s renowned for its numerous brain and body benefits, some of which we’ll discuss here.
But First... What's Spirulina's Backstory?
Spirulina is an algae that grows in water and is one of the most abundant plant-based protein sources. With a high concentration of antioxidants and more protein than meat, spirulina is proven to have a positive impact on the brain and body.
Spirulina has recently gained popularity in the social media scene, but it has been around for centuries. Spirulina was first used in ancient Aztec and African civilizations as a source of protein to combat nutrient deficiencies. It was harvested from the water and molded into cakes where it was consumed for its detoxifying and medicinal benefits.
Ok, So Why is it Good For me?
Three characteristics set spirulina apart – its brain benefits, its protein content, and its impact on energy. Let’s dive into each one!
Spirulina is especially rich in...
- Polyunsaturated fats (including omega-3s) that strengthen neuron cell membranes
- Minerals (including magnesium, selenium, iron, calcium, and potassium) that facilitate proper brain function
- Amino acids (including tryptophan) which our bodies use to make serotonin, a mood regulator produced in the brain
Spirulina contains more brain benefits than any other superfood!
Spirulina is roughly 62% protein, making it...
- A superior protein source to meat, fish, and eggs
- One of the richest vegan protein sources of the planet
- A "complete" protein food, given its inclusion of all major amino acides
Spirulina provides long-lasting energy due to its...
- Capacity to stabilize blood sugar levels and avoid afternoon energy crashes
- Iron content, which facilitates oxygen circulation and cellular energy production
- Anti-oxidant content, which reduces energy-sapping free radicals and inflammation
In fact, spirulina could help you skip the afternoon nap!
How is spirulina consumed?
Spirulina can be purchased as a powder or capsule. In powdered form, it is often incorporated in smoothies, sauces, or meals. Our favorite way to get our daily fix is by adding a dash of spirulina to a morning smoothie!
Here's an awesome recipe to try:
- 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 tablespoon of almond butter
- 1 teaspoon of spirulina
- 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
- 1 cup of ice
Add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
Written by Meghan Burke.