Spirulina has been on the planet since the appearance of life. It has an extraordinary long history of helping to sustain the food chain as it provides the fundamental nutrients for all life. Although it’s known as a member of the “blue-green algae” family, spirulina are actually bacteria that contain chlorophyll (hence the dark-green shade of its colour). Through photosynthesis, spirulina converts sunlight into pure protein, fatty acids, carbohydrates and nearly every other nutrient essential to life. The blue shade of its colour is derived from the exotic pigment phycocyanin.
The Mysterious Tecuitlatl
Luckily for us, the Conquistadors recorded all aspects of Aztec life. They mention a food called Tecuitlatl, the name given to seaweed-like organisms that grew on the water. Tecuitlatl, or spirulina, was collected at a certain time of the year, dried in the sun in the form of cakes and then eaten, having a flavour and taste described as resembling cheese. Spirulina was the primary protein source of the Aztecs for several hundred years. Lake Texcoco near Mexico City is still an abundant source of spirulina. The last great Aztec dynasties revered spirulina as a superfood and were known to mix it with cacao (chocolate) so these two have been eaten together since the foundation of Mexico City.
Dié of Chad
African peoples living near Lake Chad have been consuming spirulina since the beginning of human inhabitation in the area. It is still sifted off the top of the lake, dried on rocks or racks, and sold in the regional markets. Referring to the use of spirulina in Chad, Clément (a botanist) wrote: “According to local opinion, “dié” advantageously replaces meat source and largely contributes to maintaining the nutritional value of the diet when meat is scarce. At one time, dié was the main source of protein of the tribes”.
Today spirulina is going through its renaissance. Many recent clinical studies suggest several therapeutic effects ranging from reduction of cholesterol to enhancing the immune system, reducing kidney toxicity by heavy metals and drugs and radiation protection. Spirulina was actually used to treat children exposed to radiation after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Soviet physicians at the Institute of Radiation Medicine in Minsk administered 5 grams of spirulina daily to some of the affected children for 45 consecutive days. The spirulina-treated children showed bone marrow, spinal fluid, blood cell and liver regeneration, increased white blood cell counts and decreased urine radioactivity levels by 50 percent in 20 days. Other proposed uses of spirulina are for fibromyalgia, hay fever, herpes infection, hives, weight loss and the list goes on.
Spirulina is ranked as the #1 superfood for extending your lifespan by the American Association of Retired People, and the UN identified it as a primary ingredient in the fight against malnutrition worldwide.
So the big question on everybody’s mind is: no matter how good we know it is for us, how do you make spirulina taste nice? My favourite recipe:
- 1 cup of kale
- 1 cup of spinach
- Half a cup of berries
- 1 banana
- 1 cup of a milk alternative of your choice
- 1 teaspoon of Organic Burst Spirulina
- Blend all of these together… voila!
Don’t just take our word for it; try this little miracle of a superfood for yourself.