This semester I have been working on a project in my Ecology class to experiment with growing Spirulina, a type of algae, which is gaining popularity through its reputation as a Super Food. This algae is known as fertilizer for organic food production and to remove chemicals from wastewater. I am interested in the ease of producing this versatile algae, as an organic gardener, aspiring homesteader, and mostly because I have been taking Spirulina almost daily for over a year now and am nearly dependent on the nutrients that it offers as a vitamin supplement.
While I am interested in the MANY aspects and benefits of this algae, I will continue to share some information about Why Spirulina is good for you, intertwined with some facts that I’ve learned through my research.
Many people are perplexed to hear that green plants contain proteins, but Spirulina is one example. The dry weight of Spirulina is 50-70% protein, as it is comprised of a balance amino-acid content. Other vitamins present within this algae are vitamin B-12, B-carotene, and Vitamin A, which in particular has been shown to decrease the risk of cancer. In addition to being a safe guard against cancer, Spirulina is proven to boost the immune system.
The nutrient availability is amazing! It does depend, however, on the growing conditions of the Spirulina as to the exact nutrient content, similarly that the taste and nutrient content of vegetables depends entirely on the soil in which they were grown. If your food is eating chemical fertilizer, so are you. If your food is eating fresh air, lots of nutrient input and sunshine, as you will be too.
From a gardener’s perspective, the ability to grow Spirulina means, not only having access to a nutritious food source, but access to organic fertilizer for the soil and crops as well. Small system farms can have the ability to grow the fertilizer they need with very little input. I am amazed at the potential here.
In terms of purchasing this Super Food, it is sold in capsules in the vitamin department of most natural food stores, but in select markets, it is sold in bulk in a powdered form. I would suggest the latter, as it is cheaper than encapsulated powder and will last you a really long time. Just add a teaspoon a day (more if you feel a cold coming on) to a smoothie, on top of oats, or in a glass of water. The taste may take some getting used to, but it’s not as strong tasting as seaweed for example.
Researchers are discovering more about Spirulina everyday, and it is clear that this algae super food will have so many benefits for public health and food production. I would like to go into this topic more if folks have an interest, send me your comments and let me know.