Spirulina, one of the oldest life forms on earth, is hailed for its excellent nutritional content and its health benefits. High in protein (over 60%), packed with vitamins A, C, E and B vitamins and loaded with minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron and selenium – it is a true superfood. Spirulina was made famous by the NASA who originally gave it as a dietary supplement for their astronauts travelling into space.
Besides being known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it also encourages the growth of gut friendly bacteria, helps control diabetes, lowers cholesterol, boosts metabolism and assists your body in flushing out toxins by supporting and protecting the liver. Too good to be true? Perhaps, as insufficient scientific research has been completed in order to fully substantiate these claims. On the other hand, drinking a very green smoothie that has been spiked with Spirulina does feel rather good!*
Spirulina could become a useful tool in combating malnutrition in developing countries, where good quality protein is not easily accessible. Compared to livestock, it needs less land to produce the same amount of protein and energy. Its cultivation is also much more environmentally friendly as opposed to other “superfoods” such as quinoa, avocado and coconut water. Besides nutritional benefits, cultivating Spirulina in developing countries could stimulate local economic growth by driving employment in both production and packaging of the algae.
Give your Skin some Love
Coming back to the title, this ‘Spirulina Beauty Smoothie’ doesn’t only taste deliciously healthy, it could also boost the beauty of your skin as it is packed with nutrients! The algae is beneficial to our skin thanks to its antioxidants and vitamins. The other ingredients in this smoothie also make their own special contribution:
Spirulina: a great skin allrounder thanks to its high nutritional and nutraceutical value. The pure and highly absorbable protein found in spirulina can prevent inflammation, promote tissue renewal and strengthen your skin. Its anti-inflammatory properties can benefit both dry and inflamed skin. Its antioxidants help support the skin’s detoxification, as well as repair the signs of premature skin ageing by stimulating collagen synthesis.
Spinach: great for scars and bruises. Vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen which helps to build new skin tissue. The high concentration of folate accelerates skin healing.
Almond: great for scars. Vitamin E in almonds hydrates the skin from within and keeps it both moist and supple.
Banana: great for gut health and elasticity! Fructo-oligosaccharide in bananas feed healthy gut bacteria which, in turn, promote the absorption of nutrients in the gut. The antioxidant lutein locks moisture in, thereby boosting the elasticity and sebum of our skin. Further, potassium regulates the water in our cells. A deficit in potassium could lead to dry and flaky skin.
Apple:…well…let’s keep the doctor away. 😉
makes 1 smoothie
- 30g / 1/4 cup almonds – soaked in water overnight
- 1 banana
- 1 apple
- a handful spinach
- juice of a lemon slice
- 1 tsp spirulina powder
- 1 medjool date – optional
- 50 – 100ml cold water – depending on your preferred consistency
nuts & seeds
- Soak the almonds in fresh water overnight. Rinse and drain.
- Add all the ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth. Start with 50ml of water and add more if the consistency is too thick.
- Top with granola, nuts, dried berries…to suit your taste.
- If you are not yet acquainted with Spirulina, you might want to start with a smaller dose.
Print Recipe here:
*Caution: Refrain from taking Spirulina if you are: pregnant, breast feeding or taking prescription medication. Definitely don’t use Spirulina if you suffer from PKU (phenylketonuria) as should anyone with an autoimmune condition such as multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis. You also want to make sure to buy Spirulina from a reputable brand as there have been safety concerns about contamination with toxic substances produced by the cyanobacteria.
Healing Foods, Neal’s Yard Remedies Eat Beautiful, Spirulina in Clinical Practice: Evidence-Based Human Applications, Spirulina: a luxury health food and a panacea for malnutrition, The health benefits of spirulina, What’s the deal with … spirulina?, In vitro evaluation of Spirulina platensis extract incorporated skin cream with its wound healing and antioxidant activities, What are the benefits of spirulina?