What the Heck Is Spirulina — and Should You Try It?

Spirulina is constantly touted as a superfood. Chances are, you’ve heard friends talk about adding it to their morning smoothies or daily supplement rotations. But what exactly is this “mysticial powder,” and does it really have any benefits? 

Keep reading to get the scoop on spirulina and find out if it’s actually worth trying. 

What is spirulina? 

Spirulina is a form of blue-green algae. It’s nontoxic and contains a wide array of nutrients that can help support your health in a variety of ways. 

Oftentimes, spirulina can be used as a vegan source of protein and iron. This superfood provides impressive anti-inflammatory benefits and is packed full of powerful antioxidants. 

Benefits of spirulina

1. It’s full of nutrients 

As a plant-based source, one tablespoon of spirulina contains four grams of protein, making this an optimal supplement whether you’re vegan or simply trying to incorporate more plant-based options into your lifestyle. Spirulina also contains thiamine, copper, iron, niacin, and riboflavin.  

2. It combats Inflammation

Chronic inflammation in your body is driven by oxidative damage, which is incredibly harmful to your DNA and cells. The main compound in spirulina is phycocyanobilin, which helps address and reverse this damage. This is also what gives spirulina its particular color. (Who knew?)

3. It supports endurance and strength 

Speaking of oxidative damage, spirulina can also help support your body in post-workout recovery. Since exercise is a stressor and causes your body to exert more energy and experience overall muscle fatigue, recovery-aiding supplements can be quite beneficial. 

Spirulina can help increase the overall time it takes for muscles to fatigue, in turn supporting both strength and endurance among people who work out regularly. 

4. It’s quick, easy, and convenient

We’re all busy juggling an array of roles, responsibilities, and obligations. Oftentimes, this leads to us putting ourselves (and our nutritional support) on the back burner. It can be overwhelming to find ways to incorporate nutrients into every meal, especially when you’re constantly on the go. 

On the Hotter than Health Podcast, Catharine Arnston, founder of Energybits, addresses this exact concept. 

The takeaway? Algae is powerful. It allows you to pack in a ton of nutritional support, without having to put much thought into it. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the product expiring within a few days (unlike fresh fruits or veggies), and you can take your supplements on the go, with ease. 

How to try spirulina

Ready to try this superfood for yourself? Start small by incorporating a teaspoon into your favorite smoothie recipe!

The flavor can be a bit intense (especially at first), so beginning with even half of a teaspoon is a great start. Powder form will dissolve easily into smoothies, juices, or even water (but I’d recommend something a bit more flavorful). 

If you need more inspiration, try this super simple, go-to smoothie recipe here! If a powder just isn’t your thing, there are a wide array of supplement options as well, making it easy and convenient to incorporate into your daily routine, on the go or not!

Eat Nutrition

About Lauren Scheuneman

Lauren graduated from Loyola Chicago in 2018, with a BA in Advertising and Public Relations and began her career in paid media working across health accounts. She has always been incredibly passionate about the health and wellness space and is constantly searching for ways to merge her passion points with her day to day work. She believes we are all lifelong learners, and all just trying to “figure it out,” and is often reminding herself to enjoy the journey rather than focusing on the destination! Lauren focuses on the “360 approach” to wellness and the mind-body connection. She believes we are all our best selves and do our best work when we do so with passion, and are able to use our own strengths to lift each other up. She absolutely loves group fitness classes (and is always up for trying something new!) as she greatly values the importance of community and loves bringing people together.