Spirulina, those green foul-smelling tablets or foul-smelling powder that you can buy from your local health shop, is known as the "wonder food". It is microscopic blue-green algae grown in the alkaline waters of shallow lakes. It contains over 100 synergistic nutrients and is one of the richest and most complete sources of total organic nutrition in the world.
Centuries ago it was part of the staple diet of the Aztec civilisation. By weight, it is 65-71% protein. Compared with eggs, which are 47%, brewers yeast 45%, soybeans 35%, meat and fish 22%. It is amazingly low in kilojoules, cholesterol and fat.
Beef liver is generally regarded as the richest source of vitamin B12, a nutrient used to treat a type of anaemia, but Spirulina has twice the amount. It has 10 times the amount of iron as that contained in the same weight of spinach, and five times as parsley, one supplier claims his spirulina is 28 times richer in organic iron than raw beef liver, but who would eat raw beef liver? It is also high in beta-carotene (the pre-cursor to vitamin A), 25 times richer than raw carrots, chlorophyll, Vitamin E and minerals, particularly Phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and zinc.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Most of the protein our body needs to repair and build can be produced by taking the proteins broken down by digestion, into amino acids, and building the types of protein required, however there are 8 amino acids that the body is unable to produce.
These are called essential amino acids, Isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Spirulina contains higher quantities of these essential amino acids than our usual source of proteins, meat, eggs and for the vegetarians, soy-beans. As these essential amino acids are already in their free form they are remarkably easy to digest.
Because of the remarkable nutrient value and bio-availability Spirulina can be used when normal eating and digestion is impaired, in cases of cancer, prolonged illness, re-couperation and anorexia, spirulina is a whole food in a powder or capsule.
A growing wave of nutritionally enlightened fitness enthusiasts, body builders, professional coaches and competitive athletes alike are using spirulina and experiencing exciting performance improvements. You can see why, with the increased protein to build and repair muscles, and iron content that enables the body to produce red blood cells, that carry oxygen to the muscles.
Perhaps vegetarians should look to spirulina to provide those nutrients that are often missing from the vegetarian diet. Spirulina is the richest source of Vitamin B 12 and iron in all of nature, and is in fact the ONLY plant source of B 12. And can provide the ideal protein complement for incomplete plant proteins as it is a rich source of the essential amino acid lysine, this amino acid can be the limiting amino acid in grains.
Spirulina has been a popular slimming supplement, as it acts as an appetite suppressant. It is recommended to take about 6 tablets 30 minutes before eating food, or try one of our delicious spirulina smoothies.
It has an action on the area of the brain called the hypothalamus, which through a series of chemical reactions can signal the stomach that sufficient food has been eaten to satisfy the appetite, quite soon after commencing a meal. This allows meal sizes to be decreased comfortably and easily without those nagging hunger pains.
Phenylalanine, one of those essential amino acids, is the superstar of natural appetite suppressants.
Recipes using Spirulina Powder
3 cups of your favorite fruit juice
2 teaspoons of spirulina powder
Place juice and banana in a blender or food processor and blend for 30 seconds, add spirulina powder and blend again till smooth. This can serve four but you may enjoy it all by yourself.
Breakfast special, great for that morning after:
3 cups of fruit juice
1 orange, 2 kiwi fruit, 2 bananas
cup of acidophilus yogurt
3 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds
Place the pumpkin seeds in the blender with half the juice and blend to grind the seeds, then add all the other ingredients, blend again till smooth, again this can serve four.
A real pick-me-up:
3 cups of fruit juice
any fruit you choose, strawberries, apples, oranges
one heaped teaspoon of honey
2 teaspoons of spirulina powder
Mix all ingredients except spirulina powder in the blender for one minute till smooth and then add spirulina and blend another 20 seconds.
Quick Reference Facts about Spirulna
Spirulina is a microscopic blue-green algae. It is a vegetable plankton whose cells form the shape of a coiled spring thus, the name "Spirulina," which means "little spiral.' Unlike other plants and animals, spirulina does not have complicated bodies and biochemistries to maintain. Its total function is to produce protein, carohydrates, vitamins, amino acids, protective pigments, and many other vital nutrients so important in human health.
- Spirulina is nature's richest whole-food source of Vitamin B-12. Its 2-6 times richer than it's nearest rival raw beef liver! B-12 is practically a synonym for high energy.
- Spirulina is nature's richest whole-food source of biochelated Organic Iron. It's 58 times richer than raw spinach and 28 times richer than raw beef liver!
- Spirulina is nature's richest whole-food source of Vitamin E. It 3 times richer than raw wheat ger, and its biological activity if 49% grater than synthetic Vitamin E!
- Spirulina is nature's richest whole-food source of Beta-Carotene (por vitamin A). Its 25 richer than raw carrots! Unlike the preformed Vit A of synthetics and fish liver oils, beta-carotene is completly non toxic even in mega doses.
- Spirulina is nature's richest whole-food source of Antioxidants. It contains a spectrum of practically every natural antioxidant known, including : the antioxidant Vitamins B-1, B-5 and B-6, the minerals zinc, manganese, and copper, the amino acid methionine and the superantioxidants beta-carotene, Vit E and the trace element selenium.
- Spirulina is nature's richest whole-food source of Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLS). Its oils are 3 times richer than evening primrose oil! The polyunsaturated oils in Spirulina contain 21-29% GLA.
- Spirulina is natures's richest whole-food source of Chlorophyll. It's 5-30 times richer than alfalfa or wheat grass.
- Spirulina is nature's richest whole-food source of Complete High-Biological Value Protein
About the Author
Senga Barrett: a Naturopath devoted to health and well being.
A former aerobics instructor with a passion for natural therapies, Senga has an innate understanding of the weariness and lack of well being, that results from stress, chronic illness and on-going pain.
Natural therapies continue to play a growing role in the well-being of our community she says. Their beneficial properties have much to offer and can compliment orthodox medicine as well as offering alternative choices.