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Chlorella & Spirulina: Super Superfood

Focusing your diet on the most nutrient-dense foods possible is best way to ensure that our body achieves and sustains optimal health and function. On top of a daily, whole foods diet, an excellent way to boost our nutrient status is by including booster foods, such as Spirulina and chlorella.

Both of these super foods are forms of micro-algae, and have received a lot of attention in the health world. They grow in bodies of water that have a high alkaline content, such as lakes, ponds and rivers. Both are packed full of key vitamins, minerals, and even protein (especially in the case if Spirulina). When added to an already nutrient-rich diet, they can truly take your health and energy to the next level.

How Are They Different?Spirulina is typically a larger plant that has a blue-green color

  •  Spirulina is typically a larger plant that has a blue-green color, while chlorella is a solid gr
    en-colored algae.
  • Due to its cellulose wall, chlorella can be more difficult to process than Spirulina, as it needs to be broken down before our body can digest and assimilate it. Spirulina, on the other hand, can be eaten immediately and is more easily absorbed.
  • Spirulina has a higher protein content, and offers a larger quantity of beta-carotene, while chlorella contains more chlorophyll.
  • Spirulina contains all eight essential amino acids (calcium, zinc, potassium, and 4 key B vitamins[1]).

Both are hugely beneficial and can be alternated in the diet, as they hold unique and powerful anti-inflammatory and nutrient properties. Additionally, they can be an excellent addition to an effective detoxification program.

Benefits

Chlorella

Chlorella is a powerful tool in detoxifying the body, as its small size allows it to bind with heavy metals, pesticides, and harmful chemicals and act as a chelating agent (an agent that binds to and escorts toxins out of the body).

  • This super food is made up of over 50% protein, and has a complete amino acid proSome studies have shown that chlorella can actually support fat loss, and is useful for diabetics in controlling blood sugar levels.
  • Chlorella’s most powerful detoxifying nutrient is chlorophyll, which works to cleanse the liver and blood, support cardiovascular health, promote growth of healthy tissues, and optimize oxygen uptake in the body.
  • Beyond its detoxifying properties, chlorella also supports healthy immune function.
  • Chlorella has been shown to heal and achieve healthy gut function, and relieve constipation.
  • Studies have shown that chlorella can lower one’s risk of developing certain cancers.
  • Last but certainly not least, chlorella can work wonders in naturally boosting energy levels and keeping them constant throughout the day.

Spirulina

  • Spirulina truly defines super food, as a single tablespoon contains 4 grams of protein, crucial vitamins B1, B2 and B3, 21% of the RDA for copper, and 11% of the RDA for iron.
  • Furthermore, Spirulina offers smaller amounts of important vitamins and minerals such as potassium and magnesium, which are essential for stress management.
  • Impressively nutrient-dense, Spirulina provides all of its nutritional benefits for only 20 calories per gram.
  • Spirulina contains healthy omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
  • Phycocyanin is the primary acting antioxidant found in Spirulina, which protects against oxidative damage by protecting and repairing cells.[2]
  • Studies have shown that Spirulina is a potent anti-inflammatory food, which is crucial for preventing degenerative disease in the long term.
  • Spirulina has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, lower LDL cholesterol levels, and improve blood sugar levels in diabetics.[3]
  • Spirulina is thought to protect against oral cancers (cancers of the mouth).
  • Due to its’ high iron content, Spirulina can be an excellent supplement for those with anemia.
  • Because of spirulina’s powerful antioxidant properties, it has been used to reduce oxidation due to exercise, and increase endurance and improve recovery time in athletes.

Dosages

As is the case with most herbs and supplements, Spirulina dosage depends on the condition and/or symptoms it is being used for:

  1. For cholesterol, doses in the range of 1-8 g per day may be impactful
  2. For muscle performance, doses of 2-7.5 g per day have been used
  3. For blood glucose control, very mild effects have been seen with 2 g per day
  4. Blood pressure may be affected at doses of 3.5-4.5 g per day
  5. Effects for fatty liver have been seen at doses of 4.5 g per day

Chlorella dosage is a bit simpler, and is said to be in the range of 6-10 grams per day.

As with any supplementation, it is best to consult a qualified healthcare professional to determine which dosage is appropriate, as this often varies person to person.

How To Best Incorporate These Foods Into Your Diet

Spirulina and chlorella powder in smoothie formMake Your Own Smoothie

 Try incorporating Spirulina or chlorella powder into a smoothie. For example, combine 1/2-1 banana, 1/2 cup blueberries (or other fresh or frozen organic berries of your choice), a handful of spinach, 1 tsp. Spirulina or chlorella, and 1 or 2 pitted dates or a touch of honey to a blender along with ice and water, and enjoy.

Eat With Yogurt

 Opt for a whole fat, organic, plain yogurt, add fresh fruit, a serving of raw nuts and seeds, a serving of Spirulina or chlorella, and a touch of maple syrup or honey as a sweetener. Mix and serve.

Take As A Supplement

 Follow the dosage guidelines above, or work with a qualified nutrition or integrative medical practitioner to determine your personalized dosage. Always choose a high quality supplement by researching brands and companies, as this will largely determine the nutrient benefit gained.

Micro-algaes such as Spirulina and chlorella have been used for over 50 years in Asia (especially Japan), and NASA astronauts regularly consume it as a way to ensure their nutrient needs are being met. By incorporating Spirulina and chlorella into your diet, you are not only supporting all of your bodies systems, but doing wonders in aiding vital detoxification processes that are essential given the toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis. Really, it’s hard to go wrong with these two super super foods.

References:
  1. [1] https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3341. Retrieved March 24th, 2016.
  2. [2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19299804. Retrieved March 24th, 2016.
  3. [3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12639401. Retrieved March 24th, 2016.
  • Rachel Fiske started Madrona Wellness Holistic Nutrition in 2010, after discovering her passion for healing and preventing illness through a real, whole foods diet and lifestyle. This passion now encompasses working with her clients to find the underlying cause of symptoms, and achieving optimal health in the short and long term.Rachel specializes in the following conditions: digestive issues, food allergies/sensitivities, blood sugar regulation, detox, fatigue, insomnia, hormonal imbalances, depression, stress, weight loss, and more. She wants her clients to understand the importance of starting with whole foods, and then proceeding to herbs and supplementation when necessary.

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