Spirulina is a biomass of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), a micro-algae that is found all over the planet. It is considered one of the oldest microorganisms and is linked to the formation of the biosphere and life on earth, indeed with the creation of oxygen.
Spirulina, scientifically known as Arthrospira platensis, is an algae, one of the 30,000 types found on earth. These are categorised in terms of colour, so spirulina is categorised as blue-green. Spirulina is a micro-organism known as cyanobacteria because it exhibits certain plant-like properties like photosynthesis.
What is spirulina made of?
Spirulina gets its name from its shape, which resembles a spiral fusilli pasta shape. It does not contain any DNA structure of its own and grows in mineral-rich bodies of water, often in volcanic areas. Today, spirulina is farmed in bodies of water, requiring very little energy and water to do so, and is a highly sustainable crop that has immense potential for the future of food cultivation.
Once the spirulina is grown and harvested, it is generally dry-frozen to prevent oxidation and maintain the carotenes and fatty acids. It is most often sold in powdered form or in pills as supplements. Fresh spirulina is pressed to remove some of the water and sold as a type of soft paste.
Health benefits of spirulina
Spirulina has been called the ‘food of the future’ and is a potent source of protein, sometimes compared to eggs for its amino acids. Uniquely, the protein in spirulina has the ability to reduce cholesterol absorption and triglyceride levels, while increasing nitric oxide that relaxes blood vessels. This makes it a powerful ally against heart disease, diabetes, pancreatitis, and blood clots.
Spirulina is rich in vitamins like vitamin A as beta carotene, and vitamins C, D, and E, benefitting the immune system, eyes and bones. It is also rich in antioxidants, which have been shown to have anti-cancer properties.
How to eat spirulina
You can of course just pop a pill of spirulina, but you can add the powdered or fresh version to anything you wish. Adding spirulina to fruit and vegetable smoothies is one of the most popular methods, but it can be sprinkled over salads or added as an ingredient to soups, or just about anything.
You can easily cook spirulina, because it will retain all of its health benefits once cooked and its flavour is completely neutral, meaning it adds colour but nothing else.
A great way to work spirulina into your daily diet is to add it as an ingredient to bread, giving it a lovely green tinge or into your homemade pasta, it will give your handmade fettuccini a delicious green colour.
Spirulina is a powerful way to boost your and your family’s dietary health with minimal effort and maximal benefits. It is inexpensive, completely natural and does not have any overbearing smells of flavours. It is a simple and easy thing you can do that can make a huge difference to your diet.
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