Spirulina is a cyanobacteria alga that grows in freshwater. You’ve likely seen the mucky-like algae in lakes, rivers, and ponds. Although eating spirulina dates back to the Aztec times, it gained modern-day popularity when NASA astronauts grew it in space.
Spirulina tastes how it looks—like seaweed. Even though it comes from freshwater, spirulina has a mix of an ocean-like flavour and grass. We’ll help you understand when to use spirulina, how to take it, and where you can purchase it.
What is Spirulina Good For?
Spirulina is safe to consume in low doses every day. It offers numerous benefits to those who consistently take it, including:
- Reduces inflammation
- Prevents LDL cholesterol from undergoing oxidation
- May reduce cancer tumours and cancer recurrences
- Helps lower blood pressure
- Reduces allergic rhinitis symptoms
- Prevents anemia
- Increases endurance and muscle strength
- Controls blood sugar levels, making it a good option for diabetics
The high antioxidant content of spirulina means that it helps eliminate free radicals from your body. As a result, it aids in reducing wrinkles and skin damage. It also boosts the body’s melatonin concentration, making it easier for people with insomnia to get sleep.
According to a study on the health benefits of spirulina, researchers found that spirulina may reduce the symptoms of arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic ways.
Spirulina is also a welcomed food for your liver and kidneys when you consume it in small amounts. The reason is that it has detoxicating properties, as it helps move dangerous heavy metals out of your system. That said, people who consume high doses of spirulina may suffer from liver injury, although it’s rare.
Finally, spirulina can be an effective natural supplement for people trying to lose weight, as it can help suppress the appetite.
Read More: What is Glucosamine & What are the Benefits
How to Take Spirulina
You can take spirulina either in pill or powder form. If you choose the powder form, it’s best to consume it with a drink or food with flavour to help mask the ocean-like taste of this algae.
Some popular ways to include spirulina powder in your diet include:
- Sprinkle it on salads and in soup
- Blend it into smoothies
- Mix it into juice
- Use it in no-bake recipes, such as energy balls
There isn’t a set recommendation on how much spirulina you should consume in a day since it’s natural food. However, many people take one to five grams per day.
Most scientists caution against consuming more than ten grams of spirulina per day. That said, studies indicate that consuming spirulina in high doses in people with allergic rhinitis may lessen this condition by 32%.
There are two ideal times for taking spirulina—in the morning before breakfast and before you eat any other meal later in the day.
By consuming spirulina first thing in the morning, you’ll give your immune system a boost, increase your energy, and clear your mind. When eating spirulina later in the day before meals, you’ll keep your iron levels up throughout the day and prevent overeating, thus helping with weight loss.
Where to Buy in Ireland
Spirulina is available at many health food shops in Ireland. You can also order it online and get it delivered right to your door. Tiger Vit is an example of an online store specialising in high-quality spirulina. They offer it in both tablet and powder form.
When looking at the best brand of spirulina to buy, make sure the formula contains a minimum of 98% spirulina if you’re purchasing the tablet version. If you’re purchasing the powder variety, it should have 100% spirulina. In both cases, look for products free of preservatives and artificial colourings.
Which is Better: Wheatgrass or Spirulina?
Wheatgrass and spirulina both have noteworthy health benefits, so it’s wise to include them both in your diet. That said, if you’re looking to increase your protein intake, spirulina is a better option since it contains 60–70% protein compared to wheatgrass’ 20% protein content.
Spirulina also offers a wealth of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamins B, C, D, A, K, and E, iron, and calcium.
As a blue-green alga, spirulina also contains chlorophyll, although wheatgrass is also well known for its cleansing chlorophyll properties.
Spirulina will promote good bacteria growth in your gut and aid with digestion. Wheatgrass is also good for digestion, and it also increases your blood’s ability to carry more oxygen.
How to Grow
Growing spirulina is an excellent option since you don’t have to worry about unwanted contaminants entering the algae. You’ll need the following supplies to grow spirulina:
- Transparent tank
- Filtered water
- Spirulina nutrient solution
- Live spirulina culture
Mix the last three items into your tank and set your “liquid garden” in a warm place with lots of sunlight. Use the thermometer to ensure the water temperature stays around 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s a good idea to stir the water occasionally, and if you don’t see your spirulina growing, use a pH test kit to ensure the pH is between 8–10.
Within three to six weeks, you can harvest your spirulina. After that, feel free to either eat it straight or store it in your fridge or freezer. If you keep it in your fridge, you should aim to consume it within 12 days. Storing spirulina in your freezer will extend its shelf life to about 12 months.
Why Should I Take This Food Supplement?
Spirulina is a nutrient-rich cyanobacterium that’s an excellent source of protein, several vitamin Bs, copper, and iron. It also contains antioxidants and may help reduce inflammation. Researchers throughout the years have found that spirulina can help reduce the risk of cancer, lower blood pressure, and improve allergic rhinitis.