Super Spirulina...

Spirulina in the morning: a rich green spirulina smoothie for breakfast - mmm!

My cousin emails me this question: "What can you tell me about spirulina powder?"

Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae (actually a microalgae!) which is known to be very nutritious: packed with protein, essential fatty acids, minerals (including iron), vitamins (including B vitamins), healthy pigments (including carotenoids and chlorophyll)... Though spirulina does have all these healthy nutrients, you'd have to eat a very large quantity to get a good dose. (Here's an in-depth review of spirulina.)

According to those who sell it, spirulina also is said to be a tonic helpful in dealing with all sorts of ailments: viruses, cancer, high cholesterol, anemia, arthritis, poor immune system, malnutrition, diabetes, weight-loss...

Though I've been happily consuming spirulina for years, the jury's still out regarding it's health benefits. It appears to be a safe food, though there is some concern over the potential for toxic contamination. (Here's what UC Berkeley has to say.) Thanks for the link Jackie!

My advice: eat it if you like it, don't rely on it as a main food source or cure-all, and buy it from a reliable source.

I love the way it tastes and looks - and get a great little mineral boost after eating it. I buy the powder because it keeps well and is cost effective. The liquid variety is probably healthier, but harder to find and doesn't keep as long. I put it in smoothies, mix it with juice, or mix it with yogurt and maple syrup.

Recipe: Magic Green Smoothie