Around a year ago when I started my journey of adopting a healthy lifestyle, besides including weight training I chose to give my diet a nutritious spin. Over time, the one thing I learnt well is the importance of consuming a diet rich in protein to keep feeling full and energetic for longer while burning more calories than what fats and carbohydrates allow.
Every health and food magazine or column that I read, talks about superfoods these days. Their proven goodness and how we must include them in our daily nutrition plan. In simple terms, a superfood is a natural product loaded with essential nutrients that provide multiple benefits to our body without being high in fat or calories.
This was when I read about the proven efficacy of the superfood Spirulina.
What is Spirulina?
Spirulina is a blue-green micro algae that has lived on Earth for roughly 3.5 billion years. It’s a rich source of highly digestible and complete protein, nutrients and antioxidants such as beta-carotene and zeaxanthin, selium, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E and B-Complex.
During my research, I noted two things.
- The world can’t stop gushing over its benefits.
- The Internet is full of people vouching how disgusting it tasted.
Let’s have a closer look at them both:
- Spirulina is high in protein and amino acids, which help the body to fight infection while boosting the immunity.
- It is beneficial for the skin, aiding repair and rejuvenation and has anti-ageing benefits (okay I need those, like NOW)
- Spirulina is proven to be anti-inflammatory and beneficial for inflamed or dry skin conditions like eczema and acne.
- Reduces Blood Pressure.
- Improves digestion and reduces bloating. It helps in growth of good bacteria in the gut which in turn inhibits Candida.
- Helps prevent Cancer.
- Detoxifying heavy metals (especially Arsenic) which in the polluted world that we live in is often found in tap water.
- Reduces Cholesterol by helping maintain healthy lipids and supporting liver function.
- Boosts energy and speeds up weight loss.
- Alleviates Sinus Issues.
Given my age and family medical history I can safely say 9/10 benefits listed above are relevant to me.
Spirulina is safe to use but the recommended dosage (2 to 4 tablets per day) should not be exceeded.It can produce a few light side-effects by virtue of the fact that it detoxifies and purifies the body. Spirulina can sometimes provoke migraines or light fever; for some it can cause constipation, for others diarrhea (particularly in strong doses). Spirulina is not recommended to persons suffering from fever, nor to those allergic to algae.
It is recommended to start taking Spirulina with weak doses and gradually increase.
With so much talk on how disgusting it tastes, I was sure, I do not want to try it in powder form. That’s when I came across Parry’s Organic Spirulina available in tablet form. I have to be honest, no health supplement, be it fish oil or multi-vitamins taste good. And I, who has a very strong sense of smell, never indulge in trying to smell medicines or supplements. I bet you don’t either, or do you?
I had a detailed discussion with my father (who is a medical practitioner) on its relevance and he was pretty satisfied with all he read. These tablets are 100% organic and vegetarian, making them highly reliable. This is crucial because Spirulina is prone to contamination when derived from polluted water sources.
The Parry’s Organic Spirulina tablets are available to order on Amazon that’s where I placed an order for a box of 120 tablets for Rs 475.
Mango Walnut Spirulina Smoothie:
If you’d Google search Spirulina, you’d come across many juices, shakes and smoothies prepared using Spirulina and all looking green in a not-so-tempting way. I believe, they were all made with the desire to tone down the bad taste of the Spirulina powder, which is fantastically tackled in the Organic Spirulina tablets (I have chewed one tablet, accidentally, and I can safely say it was by all means acceptable though not very pleasant).
But the foodie in me was curious to explore how would a smoothie with Spirulina tablets taste and this is what I made.
Difficulty Level: Easy
- Fresh Ripe Mango – 1 diced into small cubes
- Yogurt – 4 tbsp
- Organic Spirulina – 2 tablets
- Walnuts (or any nut that you like) for garnish
- Blend half of the diced Mango with yogurt and divide into two parts.
- In half of the mango and yogurt mixture add crushed Spirulina tablets and blend for 20 seconds.
- In a glass add few pieces of diced mango at the bottom, now pour the Spirulina smoothie. Add another layer of mango pieces and top it with the Mango, yogurt mix.
- Garnish on top with the nut of your choice.
- Serve immediately.
Tip: The sweetness of fresh Mango balances well the taste of Spirulina. If the taste bothers you, you could even alter the number of tablets used. I highly recommend avoiding to add Spirulina in any juice or directly to milk or yogurt without a fruit of choice, because the result is not very pleasant. Any fresh fruit can be used instead of Mango. Banana replaces it beautifully.
My experience with Spirulina:
I have been taking the Parry’s Organic Spirulina for 10 days now. Though there have been no significant changes in this short span but I have noted the following:
- It is best taken post breakfast.
- My energy levels have boosted and I feel fuller for longer. The cravings that usually used to strike me around 11:30 am owing to the intense workout in morning, seems to have been taken care of.
- Adding Spirulina to my diet has meant cutting out the need of any other nutritional supplements because it already contains them all (calcium, phosphorus, iodine, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, chromium, and potassium) including iron.
- It makes me feel dehydrated, pushing the need to drink water by up to three times the volume I drink normally.
- Initially I got a mild headache that was very dull and lasted around three hours. Stepping down the dose helped tackle this.
- It gives me a mild heartburn, but eating it in the middle of my breakfast has helped solve this issue.
- I feel less bloated than before.
- I find it easy to digest as compared to the protein powder formulations that I have tried earlier.
- Taste is not an issue when the tablets are swallowed with water.Mild after-taste lingers for around an hour when tablets are crushed and used in a recipe.
It’ll be sometime before I can see any substantial results. However the initial unpleasant symptoms seemed to have subsided well with minor adjustments. I am looking forward to noting its visible effect on my skin, overall health, energy and vitality, while hoping for a controlled and sustainable weight loss in conjugation with regular workout.
*The packaging claims these are safe for all age groups (including children) and pregnant women. However, I’d recommend that if you suffer from a medical condition or are taking any type of prescribed medications you might want to consult your physician before starting taking these supplements.