Spirulina and Chlorella are micro sized plants that pack an enormous nutrient punch in your diet. One little algae tablet contains the nutritional equivalent to an entire plate of vegetables and a steak. Algae is a food and a superfood at that. Skip the multivitamin and start your daily algae!
Algae as Food for Humans
Algae is much more than fish food or scum on a lake. The first plants on earth were blue-green algae (cyanobacteria). These creative organisms figured out how to take energy from sunlight which is now called photosynthesis. Later they moved inside other cells and became mitichondria. Algae still lives in water while their “children” moved onto land to create flowers, leaves, bushes, and trees. Blue-green algae know exactly what out mitochondria need to stay alive – from personal experience!
Little fishies nibble on algae. Bigger fish eat little fish. Huge fish like salmon eat smaller fish. Why are salmon so good for you that it is considered a superfood? They effectively ate tons of algae!
Algae might be new to you and the US in general, but others are very familiar with the benefits of algae. Asian algae farming is a multi-billion dollar industry. Algae is endorsed by NASA and the World Health Organization. Algae is also known as a powerful tool against cancer!
Health experts talk up the health benefits of a diet including many plants. Plants have evolved beyond algae to have defense mechanisms to keep you from eating them and structural integrity that requires our digestion to be excellent. When you choose to eat algae, you skip the extra work and just get the good stuff your body and brain need to be a healthier version of you!
Algae is a Whole Food Nutrition Supplement
Algae, specifically tiny microalgae, is known to contain over 40 minerals and vitamins, all the essential amino acids that are part of the protein family, multiple anti-oxidants particularly the ones we stop making as we age. Blue-green algae is also an important source of oxygen for us to breathe!
The proteins in algae require no digestive work by the body before they can be put to use so you use every single amino acid in the algae. Extracting the usable amino acids from meat or other protein rich foods requires digestive power and is not as efficient as eating the amino acids directly from algae.
The terrific thing about getting these nutrients from algae is their forms are already bioavailable for optimal absorption. The nutrients are coming into the body all at once so they will work synergistically. Nutrients will not be lost and you will not make expensive pee out of a whole food!
If your diet is already quite good, consider algae as your nutritional insurance. It keeps you steady day to day no matter the variations in your diet.
If you diet is subpar and you are working on improving it, algae is a valuable nutritional ally. It requires no cooking skills, travels with you easily, and you just pop it in your mouth.
Algae for Gut Health and Detoxification
Gut health and detoxification are discussed frequently by health and wellness articles because they are important for keeping your body and brain functioning well in your current and future years. Algae helps!
Gut health can be a complicated matter but one basic tool that everyone agrees on is that you need to support a healthy gut microbiome. Instead of throwing probiotics at your body every day, consider instead feeding the microbiome that you already have so it can thrive. How do you feed your microbiome? Fiber and plant based polyphenols. Where do these come from? Vegetables and fruits. What if you can’t take in enough vegetables and fruits to keep your microbiome happy? Take algae! Each tablet of algae is like a plateful of vegetables for your microbiome.
Algae also protects the integrity of your gut lining so it can do its job of protecting your body and brain – no more leaky gut! The inflammation in the gut lowers and you digest your food with higher efficiency. The fiber in algae (they are small but powerful!) keeps things moving through your gut at the right speed so constipation is less of an issue for you. Yay for better gut health with algae!
Detoxification is even more complicated because there are so many steps to the detox process. Algae supports multiple of these steps. It gives you antioxidants that your cells need (because algae know what mitochondria need!). Algae provides the minerals that drive the chemical processes of detoxofication inside your body. Algae also acts as a binder in the gut (small intestine specifically) that hold onto heavy metals and more so that you poop them out – as you are designed to do! Gently daily detox support is easier with algae.
If you go out for a night on the town or are traveling and unusure of your food quality, algae with the meal or before bed helps you avoid a hangover and calms your digestion. Try it!
Which Algae is Right for Me?
Like children, each algae species has different lovely qualities. Let’s focus on the two main algae species being discussed in the nutrition and health communities: Spirulina and Chlorella. Spirulina, a blue algae, is known for its ability to support your energy producing mitochondria and help bring mental focus. Chlorella, a green algae, is known for its ability to support detoxification, immune health, and gut healing. I have a favorite producer of algae (EnergyBits) so the rest of this article is about their algae products in particular.
Choosing and Purchasing Algae
Since algae is a food, I apply the same strict selection criteria that I use for all my food sources. I want my food sources to be:
- free of anything I consider toxic to my body – and tested
- grown as local to me as possible (ideally 25 miles but that is not always practical)
- grown by people I know and trust to take care of my health
- full of the nutrients I am expecting in that food
- grown as sustainably and regeneratively as possible
- pure with nothing added that might negatively impact my health
- processed in ways that maintain the nutritional integrity of the food
When I apply these criteria to algae, I end up with EnergyBits. The algae is farm raised in triple filtered water. The farming is currently in Asia where the expertise and technology exist but plans are to shift production to the US without compromising quality or process. Their algae is extensively tested and researched which pleases my scientific mind. Algae from EnergyBits is cold processed because heat damages the nutrients.
My most important gauge of course is that I like how I feel when I take my algae. I can see and feel the difference in my energy, appetite, and skin. I take Spirulina in the morning and Chlorella before bed. Neither one will break my overnight fast (that puts me into a healing state for sleep) but I do tend to incorporate them into my first and last meals of the day. EnergyBits algae comes in tablet form that can be swallowed for brevity or chewed as part of a snack – maybe with some dried fruit and nuts. Beware: You will get blue/green teeth and tongue – superfun for kids!
If you want to join me and add algae to your life, please support my small business.