Want to Detox or Cleanse? Include Spirulina!
- Jan 16, 2014
- Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Your body has its own extraordinary internal detoxification system, but is it working well? It depends on a few things, and one of those is nutrition. Are you giving your body the nutrients it needs to support all three phases of liver detoxification? Are you eating the right foods to promote healthy bowel elimination? Are you drinking enough water to help the kidney's properly eliminate waste? These systems can easily get bogged down by the "stuff" your body is bombarded with every.single.day.
Three Crucial Organs Involved In Detoxing and Cleansing
The Liver: Your first line of defense against toxins is your liver, which acts like a filter in preventing toxic substances contained in foods from passing into your blood stream.
The Colon: This organ has bacteria that produce both healthy and unhealthy chemicals. You want to keep your colon flowing regularly since its main role is to flush out toxic chemicals before they can do you any harm.
The Kidneys: Like clockwork, the kidneys are constantly filtering your blood and getting rid of toxins in the form of urine.
For a detox diet to truly work, you need to maintain these three key organs by nourishing your body with the right nutrients. Spirulina is one of those nutrients.
A type of blue-green algae, the Aztecs discovered spirulina thousands of years ago and soon made it a staple in their diet. Now days, spirulina is considered a “superfood.” The bright green color of spirulina indicates it is full of antioxidants and also aids the liver in detoxifying and contains many elements necessary for a healthy functioning immune system and nervous system.
Ten Great Reasons to Include Spirulina as Part of a Healthy Lifestyle
1. Spirulina is known to be alkalizing to the body, which boosts liver function, a necessary element while detoxing.
2. Spirulina contains chlorophyll which is used for “detoxification” by helping remove toxins such as heavy metals and other pollutants from the blood.
3. Spirulina is often alternated with chlorella for detoxifying the body.
4. Spirulina is high in B-vitamins: vitamins B-1 (thiamine), B-2 (riboflavin), B-3 (nicotinamide), B-6 (pyridoxine), B-9 (folic acid).
5. Spirulina is high in other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, and selenium.
6. Dried spirulina contains 8 mg calcium per 1 Tablespoon serving, which is more than raw spirulina.
7. Spirulina is rich in protein. In fact, amino acids make up 62% of spirulina and provide 4 grams per 1 Tablespoon.
8. Spirulina contains gamma linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid. The only other place it is found is in a mother’s breastmilk. It has amazing anti-inflammatory properties especially when taken with other quality omega-3 supplements.
9. Spirulina has potent antioxidant activity, particularly phycocyanin and beta carotene—antioxidants that can help protect cells from damage.
10. The very high concentration of bioavailable iron makes it excellent during pregnancy and for those with anemia.
How to Eat Spirulina
When choosing Spirulina, make sure to choose one that is organic, as others can have nitrate compounds as additives.
Think of Spirulina as your daily green multivitamin. You can mix it into a smoothie, add it to soup, or mix it into water and drink it straight, though many people have trouble with this.
How Much Spirulina Should I Eat?
Start with a small amount, maybe ½ tsp. at a time and slowly increase your intake until you are eating 1 Tablespoon per day. Take more—2 or more tablespoons—during illness, after radiation exposure, or during pregnancy.
What is your favorite way to incorporate Spirulina into your life?
In Health and Happiness,
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Live Superfoods
1. Spirulina. University of Maryland Medical Center.
2. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference; Seaweed, spirulina, dried