The following article was written by Heinen’s Chief Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek RD, LD.
You’ve heard me mention leafy greens as one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. In fact, greens like spinach, kale and arugula are so healthy they earned first place in the seven Fx™ Pillars!
Another truly remarkable food worthy of such praise, making waves as one of the hottest new trends in wellness, is spirulina. Although it may be new to us, spirulina first appeared on the earth’s surface about 3.5 billion years ago.
This blue-green algae is one of the oldest and most nutrient-dense foods available today. Grown around the world in places like Mexico, Africa and Hawaii, spirulina is categorized as a functional food. As such, it belongs under Fx™ Pillar #6: remember functional foods, fresh herbs and fermented foods. Functional foods like cacao (raw chocolate), green tea, cilantro, mushrooms and spirulina offer health benefits above and beyond basic nutrition.
I can practically hear the thoughts racing through your mind right now: OK Mel, I can totally eat a spinach salad every day. I’m even willing to add kale to my smoothie! But now you want me to eat algae? Sorry honey, this is where I draw the line.
Look, I get it! I used to share the same objection until I learned just how super this superfood truly is. Now I enjoy a teaspoon every day in my lunch smoothie.
The Benefits of Spirulina
Spirulina is rich in protein, essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fats. It contains a high concentration of bioactive compounds, which enhance anti-inflammatory activity in the body.
Research supports numerous potential health benefits of adding spirulina to your dietary routine, including:
- Detoxification of heavy metals like arsenic
- Promoting growth of friendly bacteria in your gut
- Protection against cancer
- Supporting healthy blood pressure and blood sugar
- Lowering dangerous LDL cholesterol and triglycerides
- Strengthening your immune system
- Improving the health of your brain, including memory
- Enhancing exercise performance
How to Use Spirulina
To ensure purity, I recommend purchasing organic spirulina. My go-to brand is Bare Organics Spirulina, sold in Heinen’s Wellness Department. Here are some simple ways to incorporate this nutrient powerhouse into your meals. Keep in mind that a little goes a long way!
- Stir into homemade pesto sauce.
- Blend a teaspoon into your smoothie.
- Whisk into homemade salad dressing.
- Add to smoothie bowls like this Mermaid Smoothie Bowl.
- Make a batch of no-bake Spirulina Energy Balls.
Spirulina may be the nutritional edge you’ve been seeking to support your precious body. It’s certainly done wonders for me! So, add a teaspoon of organic spirulina to your next breakfast smoothie, or snack on one of these no-bake Spirulina Energy Balls. Sometimes all it takes is one positive habit to change the course of your health. Spirulina could be that spark!
*Please check with your healthcare provider before starting any new supplements.