Embodying just about everything spring and green represent — renewal, harmony, positivity…
Spring is the season of green. Of leaves and buds bursting forth, and of fresh spring greens filling our plates. After months of hibernation, of fortifying root vegetables and squashes, it’s hard not to cheer when yet another farmers’ market opens for the season, to hold ourselves back from jumping for joy at the first sighting of spring asparagus or a bunch of technicolor tulips waiting to sit fat and happy in a vase. And CSAs! How could I have forgotten CSAs? Delivering goodness right to our doors. Of course, though we might pile our plates with fresh fruits and veggies, it can be hard to get all the green we need from day to day. But that’s when superfoods step in to the rescue, working with our bodies to heal, nourish, balance and protect. Chlorella is one of these foods. Embodying just about everything spring and green represent — renewal, harmony, positivity — chlorella gets to work spring cleaning the system of heavy metals and toxins while delivering an impressive dose of nutrients, it’s the perfect way to boost your intake of greens. If you’re new to the blue-green gorgeousness of chlorella, read on to learn all about this interesting algae from Japan and to find a nourishing spring smoothie recipe.
What is it? “Chlorella” actually refers to a genus of emerald green single cell freshwater algae native to Japan and Taiwan. One of the oldest-known species on the planet, chlorella is integral to the health of freshwater food chains and has been studied for decades for its use as a potential food source due to its impressive nutritional profile (Fun, if potentially distressing, fact: it was heavily studied in the 1940s when it was believed a boom in population would cause global food shortages). Now used primarily as a supplement, chlorella cells feature a naturally hard outer cell wall that make it indigestible to humans, which is why most chlorella supplements note a “cracked cell wall”, a process that makes it absorbable by the body.
What are the benefits? If you have trouble eating your greens, chlorella can help! Chlorella gets its gorgeous emerald green hue from its high concentration of chlorophyll, which has been shown to stabilize blood sugar levels, detox the system, protect cells from oxidative damage, and more. While it can’t replace your greens completely, 3 tablespoons of chlorophyll-rich chlorella contains 16g of protein, 202% recommended daily allowance of iron, and a massive 287% recommended daily allowance of vitamin A (along with magnesium, zinc, and vitamins B2 and B3). Of course, a typical serving of chlorella is about a teaspoon, which is why you’ll still need to load up your salad with all the good stuff, but when taken in tandem with a healthy diet chlorella can boost the nutrient content of your foods considerably. Along with adding essential vitamins and minerals to your diet, chlorella detoxifies the body by binding to heavy metals present in the system. This is key for those undergoing chemotherapy or who have been exposed to lead, and could even be beneficial for the heavily tattooed, as tattoo ink contains trace amounts of heavy metals. Chlorella has also been shown to increase the good bacteria in the gut, leading to a healthy immune system and better digestion.
How do I use it? Beautiful chlorella mixes easily with water, making it super simple to add to your routine, however there’s one major drawback to this… it tastes like chlorella (if you love the taste, more power to ya… please tell me your secrets). The flavor of chlorella is easily masked when blended into green smoothies, especially those with a tropical twist like the one below. It also mixes well with miso, salad dressings, and fresh-pressed juice. Have a no-fail chlorella recipe? Please share!
Spring Green Chlorella Smoothie
8 oz coconut water
2 large kale leaves, rinsed and de-veined
½ cup fresh or frozen mango chunks
½ cup fresh or frozen pineapple chunks
¼ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
½ tsp powdered ginger
Optional: Protein powder of choice or scoop of hemp hearts
Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
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This information is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease or issue. Please seek your doctor’s advice for any questions regarding a specific condition and before beginning any exercise, diet or health-related regimen.