Ingredient Spotlight - Spirulina
What is Spirulina?
Spirulina is an type of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) that grows naturally in both fresh and salt water. It’s been used as a food source since ancient times, with the Aztecs calling it “tecuitlatl”. Due to it’s richness in nutrients it has grown as a supplement and was even studied for possible future ESA missions to Mars. The World Health Organization has described spirulina as “an interesting food or super food”.
What Nutrients are in Spirulina?
Spirulina is packed full of vitamins, including vitamins C, A, B, and also minerals such as calcium, magnesium, selenium and zinc.
A single tablespoon (7g) of dried spirulina powder contains:
- Protein: 4g
- Vitamin C: 0.707mg
- Vitamin A: 2.03ug
- Vitamin B-6: 0.025mg
- Magnesium: 13.6mg
- Selenium: 0.504ug
- Zinc: 0.14mg
Spirulina also contains a unique phytonutrient known as c-phycocyanin. This phytonutrients gives it it’s vibrant deep green/blue colour. Research has suggested that c-phycocyanin has potential health benefits, including:
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Protection from oxidative stress
- Neuroprotective qualities