Food of the Month: Spirulina
Care of Ashley Sauve
You may have heard by now of spirulina. It’s a trendy superfood that has been popping up everywhere from your favourite morning show to the grocery aisles. But what exactly is this mysterious ingredient? And is it really the nutritional superstar everyone is claiming?
The answers might be surprising – first, that spirulina is actually a blue-green algae. If the thought of consuming algae freaks you out at first, don’t be alarmed. Evidence of humans eating algae dates way back to the 9th century, in fact algae is one of the oldest life forms on Earth! Today it might be grouped in with granola-loving hippies, but in 16th century Mexico, spirulina was a valuable food source for the Aztecs.
In terms of nutritional benefits, spirulina is well-known as being incredibly rich in protein (up to 70% by weight—that’s more than double red meat), and this protein is very well digested by humans. In addition it is one of the highest food sources of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) in the world. GLA is an important fatty acid for the heart and joints as it is a precursor to critical biochemical that mediate inflammatory and immune reactions. This makes spirulina the perfect ingredient for anyone struggling with allergies, arthritis, inflammation, or heart disease.
Spirulina is most often used as a dietary supplement, you can buy it is tablets, capsules or powder form. To add to recipes, start out with ¼ – ½ teaspoon per serving and increase from there. Add to smoothies, soups, baking, or anywhere you want a little extra green power!