Spirulina is probably the number one choice for natural green food coloring. If you’ve ever tried mermaid toast or cake decorating, you know what I’m talking about! The beautiful dark green color comes from a detoxifying and immune-boosting component called chlorophyll.
You may have seen it in stores in tablet, flake, or powder form and wondered what it is. More than a pretty face, spirulina is actually an algae, a type of cyanobacteria that grows in both fresh and salt water, rich in nutrients and vitamins that are useful for your brain, as well as for your beauty.
This sea vegetable appears to have been cultivated by the Aztecs before the 16th century and was even proposed by NASA this century as a potential food source for growing astronauts on Mars. [source].
Rich in amino acids and beta-carotene, spirulina contains many of the B vitamins the body needs (B1, B2, B3), as well as copper and iron in significant amounts. Magnesium, potassium, and manganese are also present in its composition, along with trace amounts of many other vital nutrients. [source]. Spirulina is also an excellent source of protein and has been compared to eggs in this regard.
Spirulina is a great ingredient in smoothies, whether you’re looking to improve your overall health or replenish your body during or after illness, excessive stress, or even a workout. Its main active component, phycocyanin, is a antioxidant and anti-inflammatorythat benefits health in several ways [source].
can of spirulina prevent damage to skeletal muscles and improves endurance even with the oxidative stress seen when you lose fitness and start exercising [source]. Research has also shown that spirulina aids in weight loss, lowers blood lipids and reduces appetite [source]- pretty much everything most people are looking for!
The next time you see spirulina on a store shelf, we probably won’t have to remember to put it in the cart! You can add it to your chia pudding or popsicles, but you can also apply it directly to your face for an illuminating face mask. And of course you can use it to make this super green spirulina smoothie!
Green Spirulina Super Smoothie
In this easy green spirulina smoothie recipe, we combine green leafy vegetables, spirulina, the sweetness of apple juice, and a pinch of ginger. Despite the small number of ingredients, this smoothie is packed with health benefits.
Kale is rich in vitamin C, which boosts the immune system, and also contains beauty favorites A, D, and K and plenty of antioxidants. [source]. If you have spinach in the fridge instead of cabbage, don’t skip this recipe just yet; the smoothie will be just as healthy!
Spinach is a major source of digestion-promoting fiber, vitamins K and C, iron, calcium, and folic acid, and it ranks high as an anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity, and lipid-lowering green leafy vegetable packed with nutritional health benefits [source].
The ginger we added is not just for taste, it is a well-known immunity booster [source]digestive aid and can also relieve pain [source].
Top with as much ice and apple juice as needed to create your favorite consistency. This smoothie is easy to make, but it’s a powerful combination that your body craves.
Green Spirulina Super Smoothie
This easy green smoothie is packed with nutrients and vitamins!
- 1 cup organic apple juice
- 1 tablespoon of spirulina powder or several spirulina tablets
- a handful of cabbage and/or spinach
- a handful of ice cubes
- a pinch of ground ginger
Add spirulina and cabbage and/or spinach to blender. Sprinkle on some enhanced ginger to add flavor.
Fill with apple juice to the 2-cup line. Blend until smooth. Add ice if needed to thicken or water to thin consistency.
This recipe makes a smoothie equivalent to about 2 cups.
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Gina Jansheski, a licensed and board-certified physician who has been in practice for over 20 years. Learn more about Hello Glow Medical Reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you discuss it with your doctor.
Photo by Natalia Vanthienen