If you are anything like me, you probably read the title of this article and ran for the hills.
You may be wondering:
- "What is algae?"
- "Is this just another health fad?"
- "Why do I need to eat it?"
- "How do I add it to my diet?"
However, I 100 percent promise you that you are going to want to keep reading.
It's Not a New Fad--The Aztecs Used It!
Do not let the title of this article scare you away. It may seem foreign to eat algae and strange that it would be considered a superfood, but I want to let you in on a little secret... algae has been around for hundreds of years.
Algae is not anything new. It is not this new fad in healthy living trends and definitely was not invented by your local health food store. Algae has been around for a very long time. It has a reputation that reaches many years back in history. Hundreds of years ago, the Aztecs used algae for its great nutrition in a time when most food sources were poor in nutritional value. The Aztecs knew the value of algae and you should too.
The Types of Algae
When you hear about algae,
there is a variety of different types that could be referenced. Two
types of algae that you will likely hear about the most are blue-green algae
Blue-green algae is found in nature. It grows in the
still, alkaline waters of lakes and ponds.
Spirulina is a bit different. It is a cultivated micro-algae and is one of the highest known protein sources on Earth! It contains 70 percent complete protein. To put this into perspective, a cooked steak only contains 25 percent protein.
The Benefits of Algae
Algae may seem a bit out of the norm of everyday life, but once you understand the amazing benefits it offers, you will probably change your mind. Algae is very high in vitamins A, C, E and the B-Complex (B12 and B6). It is also very high in natural minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium. As I mentioned above, algae is also very high in protein and essential amino acids--much more than a cooked piece of meat. If you are a vegetarian and not getting enough protein in your diet, algae can be your best friend.
Some other benefits of algae include reduced inflammation and stabilized blood sugar levels. The phycocyanin, which gives blue-green algae its color, actually also has anti-cancer properties. Algae is also known to increase the health of the joints and the heart, due to being rich in gamma linolenic acid.
Algae and Weight Loss
If you are on a diet or are trying to lose weight, algae is perfect for you too. Algae is known to temper appetite and be low in calories. Instead of drinking a diet soda with little to no true nutritional value, algae in a fresh fruit or vegetable smoothie is a better option.
You're probably wondering... how do I even eat algae/how do I add it to my diet? Algae can be in a powder form or in a tablet. If it is in a powder form, adding it to a smoothie or baked goods is simple. If it is in a tablet, you can take it like you would a normal pill.
So next time you are in your health food store, pick up some algae and give it a try. It can't hurt!
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Nicole Kennedy is a healthy living blogger and public relations specialist living in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Nicole's blog, Simply Nicole, documents her daily life occurrences as she balances working full-time, blogging, training for races, practicing yoga, eating healthy and spending time with her boyfriend. You can connect with Nicole via Facebook and Twitter for real-time blog updates, tips and tricks to living a healthy lifestyle, and more!