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Spirulina From A to Z: 26 Things to Know

Spirulina From A to Z: 26 Things to Know

A look at 26 interesting facts and figures about spirulina, a microalgae rich in proteins: nutritional facts and properties, how it's made and recipes.

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Algae. Spirulina is one of the so-called blue algae. It actually belongs to the family of cyanobacteria that are photosynthetic.

B12. One of the very few non-animal dietary sources of vitamins, whose composition contains a cobalt atom. Our organism is unable to absorb it spontaneously and yet it is indispensable for the formation of red blood cells.

Chlorophyll. The concentration of chlorophyll in spirulina is particularly high.

Dye. The colour of this alga is so intense that it “dyes” the beverages and foods with which it is mixed. And teeth too!

Earthy. A description often given to its flavour, which varies according to where it comes from. It may be rather neutral, like that of uncooked flour, or more intense, and is not necessarily to everyone’s taste.

Fruit. Sweet fruits, such as bananas, are excellent for offsetting the taste of spirulina.

Green. Despite being classified as a blue alga, its colour is actually dark green. This is because the chlorophyll it contains covers the blueish reflections of phycocyanin and the its carotenoids' yellow ones.

Hummus. A spoonful of spirulina added to hummus adds colour and a number of exceptional health benefits!

Iron. Spirulina contains about 34 times more iron than spinach.

Juice. Fruit and vegetable juices, milkshakes and smoothies: these are the favourite partners of spirulina. The avocado-based versions are well worth trying, for their buttery creamy consistency.

Kona. This is the area where Hawaiian spirulina is mainly cultivated since it grows exceptionally well in the free ocean water and, as a consequence, has a more pronounced flavour of seaweed and fish. Other varieties are grown in fresh water and therefore taste different.

Licking. Spirulina in a form you can lick? Ice-cream! Perfect when added to the home-made varieties, for instance to mint flavoured ice-cream.

Mexico. Used since the times of the Aztecs in Mexico and the surrounding regions, it is was also an ancient food source in some parts of Africa.

NASA. NASA and the European Space Agency have suggested the use of spirulina as one of the first dietary sources to be cultivated during long-term space missions.

Omega-6. It contains more omega-6 than omega-3 fats, containing the fatty acids considered to be useful for combating cholesterol and beneficial for the immune and nervous systems.

Protein. It is rich in proteins made up of the essential amino acids, which enable the human organism to absorb the nutrients it needs. 100 g of spirulina contains between 55 g and 65 g of protein.

Quality pasta. Tagliatelle, penne, gnocchi, in an intense dark green colour: these are the new spirulina pasta shapes you can add to a fresh pasta dish to give it an extra touch of quality, as well as a striking appearance.

Raw carrots. Spirulina contains 25 times more beta carotene than raw carrots.

Spiral. The term spirulina actually derives from “spiral,” on account of its shape.

Ttecuitlatl. Meaning “stone excrement” was the name given by the Aztecs to the spirulina gathered from the bottom of lakes, which they then modelled and dried into cake-like forms, similar to those produced in Chad where they are known as “dihé.”

Uncooked. Spirulina does not stand up to harsh treatment, so it should be eaten raw to preserve its nutritional properties.

Vinaigrette. Oil, vinegar, salt, Dijon mustard if you like, and a pinch of spirulina (plus your favourite fresh herbs): the recipe for a perfect salad dressing!

Water. This blue alga has a preference for tropical and subtropical brackish lake waters with a high pH value: today it is mainly cultivated.

Xtra pop! Add some sea salt and spirulina to popcorn, and your snack will burst with health!

Young. Spirulina contains the entire spectrum of antioxidants, the secret of eternal youth.

Zero point. With its narrow elongated shape, it is no longer than 0.5 millimetres.

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