Micro algae was one of 2019’s most on-trend superfoods and it’s set to get even more popular in 2020.
Even if you haven’t heard of algae you’ve probably seen those insta-perfect images of Unicorn lattes. It’s blue algae that gives them the stunning colour - but there is so much more to them than their looks!
Micro algae are teeny in size but are nutritional giants. Essentially they're tiny photosynthetic plants that can turn energy from the sun into sugars and proteins, absorbing and converting carbon dioxide in the process and expelling oxygen. Wow!
Algae are high in antioxidant compounds and are nutrient dense. Generally sold in powder form which is easily absorbed by the body they are the perfect smoothie supplement. At Love Taste we use two of the best known - spirulina and chlorella - in our protein smoothies Veggie-Nator and Fruitasia to give you an extra shot of goodness. In this blog we take a closer look at this pair of powerhouses.
Both chlorella and spirulina are freshwater algae. They are generally green in colour but spirulina contains a blue pigment that is sometimes extracted to create Blue Spirulina (which is used for those Unicorn Lattes). They both have incredible but slightly different health benefits.
Spirulina is a blue green algae that is packed full of vitamins and minerals including B complex,, vitamin E, iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc, copper and selenium. It is also composed of 60% protein and contains essential amino acids, making it a great plant-based protein source.
Spirulina contains Omega-3 fatty acids and is extremely high in several antioxidant compounds such as polyphenols, phycocyanins, tocopherols and beta-carotene. These contribute to lower inflammation levels in the body and decrease oxidation, which could be beneficial for cardiovascular health, keeping cholesterol levels balanced and lowering blood pressure. Plus it can reduce muscle fatigue and help you recover from exercise more quickly.
One of its unique nutrients is phenethylamine, known as the ‘love molecule due to its ability to improve mood. It can help with depression and improve memory, concentration and cognitive function.
Chlorella is another super-hero. It’s a green algae rich in many antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E, beta-carotene and lutein, along with being a source of essential amino acids and minerals such as magnesium, iron and zinc.
Chlorella is chock full of chlorophyll – in fact it contains more chlorophyll per gram than any other plant. Chlorophyll is a green pigment that can help cleanse the liver, blood and digestive tract of toxins and reduces harmful cholesterol levels.
Not only that chlorella is a highly effective heavy metals detoxifier and can bind to toxins in our cells such as mercury, lead and cadmium and inhibit their re-absorption, as well as decreasing the damage from UV exposure. It can stimulate immune cells activity too. No wonder it’s called a Superfood!
How to take
Heating or cooking algae will break down nutrients so it’s best add a teaspoon of powder to a smoothie or protein shake to get the full benefits.
If you want to make it really easy for yourself try one of our protein smoothies which contain both chlorella and spirulina. Otherwise blend some powder into your favourite Love smoothie!
You can also add to hummus, soups, salad dressings, pestos and sauces.
Before you add these wonder foods to your daily diet there are a few cautions.
Ensure that you purchase pure quality spirulina and chlorella because they can absorb toxins from their environment.
Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should consult a doctor before using them
Those with auto-immune diseases or a compromised immune system should be careful, since all of them have stimulating effects on the immune function
If you have iodine sensitive thyroid conditions or iodine allergies you should avoid them, as well as those with blood or clotting disorders as their high vitamin K content can cause an increase in clotting.
Don’t forget you can buy our range from Ocado -https://www.ocado.com/browse?filters=love-smoothie-134406
Love Taste Team!