What Makes Spirulina a Superfood?

By Amber Beye

Did you know that spirulina’s common name is pond scum? However, this blue-green algae is a freshwater plant and an exciting superfood that is commonly used in smoothies, energy bars and supplements. Spirulina is grown around the world from Mexico to Africa and even in Hawaii. Referred to as “Tecuitlatl” in Mexico, spirulina was a primary source of protein for the Aztecs for several hundred years! Remember, a superfood is defined as a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being. In other words, superfoods have health benefits.

This nutrient-rich substance is actually a cyanobacteria and it boasts its fair share of health promoting properties. It is rich in Chlorophyll and, like plants, gets its energy from the sun. Spirulina’s benefits are so amazing that, taken on a daily basis, they can restore and revitalize your health! To date, there are nearly 1,200 peer-reviewed scientific articles evaluating spirulina’s health benefits.

Here are some of spirulina’s overall health benefits:

Eliminates candida. Spirulina acts as a microbial agent and has been shown to promote the growth of healthy bacterial flora in the intestines, which, in turn, inhibits Candida from thriving.

Lowers blood pressure. Phycocyanin is a pigment found in the spirulina that scientists have discovered possesses antihypertensive effects (it lowers blood pressure). Phycocyanin is also a powerful antioxidant (four times more powerful than blueberries).

Helps balance blood sugar. Studies show that spirulina not only lowers blood sugar, but it also lowers HbA1c, a long-term marker of blood sugar levels.

Reduces cholesterol. Spirulina also has been shown to prevent atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of arteries) and reduce elevated blood cholesterol levels.

Relieves allergies. For those with allergies, spirulina can lower inflammation that leads to nasal congestion and other issues.

Boosts energy. Combining spirulina and lime and then freezing them, you can enhance energy performance because they unlock sugar from our cells and, when frozen, the cold from the ice boosts metabolic energy while giving our bodies a wake-up call.

Speeds up weight loss. Spirulina is high in protein, which takes more energy to metabolize, which helps maintain lean protein and contributes to fat burning.

Spirulina also is super nutrient rich, too! Check it out:

Protein: Spirulina is considered a complete source of high-quality protein and is often compared to eggs for the amount of protein per gram. The protein in Spirulina is highly usable and has a net protein utilization rate of between 50-61 percent.

Vitamin B1: Also called Thiamine, this vitamin is necessary for the digestion of fats and proteins. It is often taken for increased energy, eye health, brain function and for improving nerve function.

Iron: Spirulina is a favorite food for vegetarians and vegans because it is one of the best plant sources of iron. Even for those who consume meat, it has a highly absorbable form of iron that is gentle on the digestive system.

Calcium: Spirulina is incredibly high in calcium, with over 26 times the calcium in milk.

Just 1 tablespoon of spirulina has 20 calories, 4 grams of protein, 11 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Vitamin B1, 15 percent of Vitamin B2, 4 percent of Vitamin B3, 21 percent of copper, and 11 percent of iron. It also contains B-2 (riboflavin), B-3 (nicotinamide), B-6 (pyridoxine), B-9 (folic acid), vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin A and vitamin E. And it is a source of potassium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, sodium and zinc.

Try this tasty smoothie to get some spirulina in your day.

  • 3 TBSP raw cashews
  • 2 TBSP hemp seeds
  • 2 large Medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 TBSP cacao nibs
  • 1 TBSP chia seeds
  • 2 TSP maca powder
  • 1/4 TSP Spirulina powder
  • 1 TSP cinnamon powder
  • 1 TSP ginger powder
  • 1/4 TSP cardamom powder
  • 2 cups coconut water
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 1/2 cups ice
  • Sweetener to taste (optional)

Blend together all the ingredients, except the frozen banana and ice, until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and blend again until frosty. Taste and sweeten as desired.


Amber Beye hails from southwestern Colorado, where she lives a healthful life full of hiking, snowshoeing, Muy Thai Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, conducting high altitude hop research and home brewing. She received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where she studied a variety of dietary theories and practical lifestyle coaching methods. In addition to her health coaching training, Amber was a Worksite Wellness Coordinator for small businesses in Durango, CO. In this position she provided clients with individual biometrics screenings and health coaching, and helped the business find ways to integrate wellness into the culture of the worksite. Amber became passionate about helping others to live healthful lives after she overcame her battle with weight, anxiety and depression. For more information visit www.healthcoachconnect.com.


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