Ingredient spotlight: spirulina powder

spirulina, alga, vegetable proteins

Spirulina powder

So spirulina powder (along with amaranth in all its cursëd forms) was what really made me consider making a ‘no list’ or a ‘bad list’ since the taste is quite frankly awful. However, I do regularly take spirulina shots in the morning, and I suppose it could be useful in terms of natural food dyes. Therefore,I have still decided to make an ingredient spotlight here to gather some basic facts about spirulina. 

Nutrition

Spirulina is considered a ‘superfood’, although the more I dig into this, the more I am unsure. Basically, with anything nutrition related, I feel like there are new revelations every ten years that sway the pendulum in the other direction. So for a while, spirulina was a superfood and a good source of vitamin B12. Then it emerged that spirulina does not contain B12. It contains pseudovitamin B12, which means that it blocks the sites where you would be able to take in actual B12. Meaning that it actually hinders your vitamin B12 absorption. Which means that you may want to avoid it? I am not sure. I link loads of sources below, so you can read more in depth and inform yourself more. (Is there anything super important that you think I have left out? Leave a comment below!)

Spirulina is high in nutrients and low in calories and is a good source of protein as well as iron and calcium. It also contains a good amount of vitamins B1 and B2 along with copper. Since for every 7 grams (one tablespoon) there are 4 grams of protein along with so many other vitamins and minerals, spirulina is considered one of the most nutrient-dense foods. 

Uses/Recipes

You can use spirulina to very effectively dye just about anything it comes in contact with a vibrant aquamarine. Do be cautious though, since the taste is not always compatible with whatever you are mixing it with. You do you though. 

You can add just a pinch to a smoothie or juice or even tea. I recommend taking it as a shot, if you have the spirulina powder, since the taste is very iron-y. If you can, just get spirulina in pressed pill form and save yourself the trouble. You can also add some spirulina to a salad or the salad dressing, or even to raw ‘baked’ goods. 

Try it out, if you happen to come across it! Maybe you’ll like it more than me, who’s to say? And regardless of where it ends up being on the B12 scale, there are unequivocal health benefits. You got this!

Sources

  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324027
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-proven-benefits-of-spirulina
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirulina_(dietary_supplement)
  4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/by_the_way_doctor_is_spirulina_good_for_you
  5. https://www.webmd.com/diet/spirulina-health-benefits#1

General caveats that I feel compelled to add: 

I am *NOT* a nutritionist, I am just someone who is deeply interested in and profoundly committed to eating delicious food only. In seeking to reach this goal, I am often trying out random new ingredients that I come across. These ingredients are ones I may not know anything about, and so I am sharing my notes with you, and will be updating these as I go along and learn more. I will also link to more and more recipes that use these ingredients, so that you can try your hand at using them and tasting them yourself. If you have any allergies or intolerances, you should not be listening to the vaguely informed opinion about some some stranger on the internet – please consult with an actual doctor who can guarantee you accurate information.

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