Superfood? What does that even mean? As a person who has a personal goal to see through the BS in the industry and find what truly works, I am going to break down a product that I feel truly embodies this word into terms we can understand and find out why its presence in many different products has good meaning.
Today we are going to look at Spirulina. WHAT is Spirulina?
Spirulina is a cyanobacteria, or an organism that creates energy through photosynthesis and lives in moist or wet environments. In layman's terms, Spirulina is Blue-green algae. If you wanted to get your daily dose the most natural way possible you could just swing by your local lake and grab some off the shoreline. JUST KIDDING, please don’t do that! We are talking about a plant product that grows specifically in nutrient rich environments, such as lake beds, where sunlight is in abundance. Do you have to know this much about every food you plan to consume? Not necessarily, although in today's day and age, it can be confusing to negotiate a world in which food labels can be extremely misleading. When push comes to shove everything you consume should have a viable purpose and actual health benefits
The first occurrence of consuming Spirulina was found in ancient Aztec cultures dating back hundreds of years. Although its popularity has emerged recently when suggested by NASA as a great source of nutrients for astronauts in space. The goal here would be utilizing a food source that can achieve many different goals without a ton of extra fluff. Call it a very “functional” food.1
The reason Spirulina is a “Superfood” is because there is so much goodness packed into such a small area. Let’s look at what is packed into 1 Tablespoon of Spirulina
1 Tablespoon or 7 Grams of Spirulina contains the following:
4.02 g of protein
1.67 g of carbohydrate
0.54 g of fat
8 milligrams (mg) of calcium
2 mg of iron
14 mg of magnesium
8 mg of phosphorus
95 mg of potassium
73 mg of sodium
0.7 mg of vitamin C
It also contains thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, and vitamins B-6, A, and K.2
As we can see that is quite the rap sheet of goodness packed into such a small serving. Although this looks like a nutritional label, where it looks like it has all the good things that we want. Protein, vitamins, minerals. So now we can move to WHY?
Consuming Superfoods are great ways to get a multitude of beneficial ingredients in our daily diets without having to take in a wide variety of items to get what is all packed into this naturally occurring substance. By no means do we want to think that we should only be consuming Superfoods, this would be too reductionist. The goal is to eat a variety of foods to achieve a balanced food profile from organic sources. Although, like I described earlier, Spirulina, being a type of blue-green algae or Seaweed, is much easier to consume in a supplement form.
Now we can start to connect the dots. There have been what now seems like hundreds of well documented studies on the supplementation of spirulina for everything including Weight loss, Anti-Inflammatory Properties, blood pressure, Cholesterol, cancer and even muscle damage from strength training. These studies all listed a daily intake of around 1g-4.5g for the desired effect they were testing for in the study. 3, 4
Next is HOW. Routine is King, or Queen!
When we take supplements we are doing so to try and gain the 1% edge. The little help we need to make that difference in our journey whether it be back from sickness, to optimal health, or to increased performance. An ideal addition to a daily routine would be something that can be taken that has a number of benefits as well as easily added to what you’re already doing.
Products like Xendurance Collagen + Greens, and Lean are becoming staples to many morning routines. The goal is to start the day with something that is going to be packed with everything you need, and nothing you don't. Both XND products contain this wonderful superfood Spirulina, in its optimal powder form mixed in with each product so it's not even a thought. There is a reason certain items are chosen to be included in products, because they are tested, multiple times, to prove effectiveness. A common theme around here. One that is here to stay.
About the Author
Trevor James - @trev_james92
Trevor is an NPGL Athlete and 4x CrossFit Regional athlete. He enjoys long, grueling workouts, heavy barbells, and everything in between. He has been a part of the fitness world since before he could drive and his mom had to drop him off at CrossFit after school. Since then, he has been pursuing a journey to become the best athlete, coach, and person he can be.