by: ICONIC Protein
Feeling blue used to be a bad thing, but not when it comes to spirulina-- this superfood ingredient has a signature blue-green color and is absolutely packed with essential nutrients and health-promoting properties.
Spirulina is a natural algae powder that contains a powerful combination of protein, antioxidants, B-vitamins, iron and other nutrients. Spirulina has a unique, deeply rich color that is the result of a specific pigment known as phycocyanin. The phycocyanin is primarily responsible for spirulina's wide-ranging health benefits, including its antioxidant count and nutrient density.
Spirulina is grown around the world, from Hawaii to Mexico and Africa, and is similar to other sea vegetables such as kelp and chlorella in terms of nutritional makeup.
To date, there are over 1,200 peer-reviewed, scientific articles that have detailed spirulina's wide range of health benefits. So how exactly can it help you? Let's take a look at the top five ways spirulina can benefit you.
Spirulina contains all of the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It's also made up of around 65% of protein by weight, which makes it a great, nutrient-dense source of protein.
Chronic arsenic toxicity is a worldwide problem, according to the World Health Organization, and affects all areas of the globe, including the U.S. Arsenic's effects have been associated with symptoms like abdominal pain, vomiting and nausea, but has also been linked to peripheral neuropathy and encephalopathy. A recent study showed that after patients affected with arsenic poisoning were given a dose of spirulina extract combined with zinc, the patients were found to have a 47% decrease in arsenic in their bodies. Spirulina is also high in chlorophyll, which helps remove toxins from the blood while simultaneously strengthing the immune system.
Antioxidants are powerful substances that protect our everyday damage from free radicals. Free radicals can damage the body's cells and ultimately lead to a host of diseases, illnesses and premature aging. Phycocyanin, the compound that makes spirulina unique, is a powerhouse natural antioxidant that can help fight off these free radicals, and ultimately, lead to better health.
Spirulina is known to increase fat burning during exercise, thanks to the presence of antioxidants, and may help reduce exercise-induced oxidation. Studies have found that it also helped to increase endurance and decreases muscle damage from exercise.
Taking a spoonful of spirulina a day is believed to help protect the brain from degenerative diseases. Studies have compared spirulina to foods rich in antioxidants like blueberries and spinach, which are known to have protective effects on brain health due to their ability to lower inflammation and reduce free radicals.
While some hardcore health nuts are able to mix spirulina directly into a glass of water, many people find the taste too strong to drink on its own.
Luckily, we've put together a simple, delicious recipe using a few of our favorite nutrient-dense ingredients, to help get you started on incorporating spirulina into your diet:
In mason jar, mix together chia seeds, Vanilla Bean Iconic and blue spirulina. You can put the lid on and shake the mixture to combine everything well. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir to remove any remaining clumps. Cover and put in the fridge for 2-3 hours in order to let it set up. Top with your favorite fruits (we chose blueberries and dragonfruit) and enjoy.