By: Megan O’Kelly – The Realistic Holistic
Summer is here! You know what that means… patio season! Lots of sangria and sliders, sitting on our butts, soaking in the sun, am I right? Well, great! Enjoy that to it’s fullest, but if you’re someone who feels the effects of that kind of summer lifestyle on their energy levels, mood and waistline, you may want to do something to help counteract that!
My first line of defense against the negative side effects of summer celebrations is a beautiful little superfood called Chlorella.
WHAT IS CHLORELLA?
Chlorella is a freshwater blue-green algae, native to Taiwan and Japan. It is most commonly found in tablet or powder form to be used as an all natural dietary supplement. It is absolutely deserving of the “superfood” title because it is so… well… super!
WHAT IS SO SUPER ABOUT IT?
Thank you for asking! Chlorella is rich in phytonutrients, including amino acids, beta-carotene, potassium, phosphorous, biotin, magnesium, iron and the complete B-complex. Those last two are huge for my vegetarian and vegan friends as this makes it an ideal source of those difficult to get iron and b-vitamins
Anyone looking to get a heavy-hitting dose of nutrition to amp up or balance out their diet would benefit from taking chlorella. It only takes 1 oz (3 tbsp) of chlorella to get:
- 16 grams of Protein
- 287% RDA of Vitamin A
- 71% RDA of Vitamin B2
- 33% RDA of Vitamin B3
- 202% RDA of Iron
- 22% RDA of Magnesium
- 133% RDA of Zinc
Chlorella is ranked one of the top 10 health foods in the world, in part, due to this nutrient density. It puts your typical super-greens to shame, containing way more nutrients per gram than kale, spinach and broccoli! I know… hard to believe anything is more nutritious than our beloved kale!
Chlorella is more than just a quick dose of vitamins & minerals. Its deep green colour is an indication of its extremely high chlorophyll content! It is one of the highest known plant sources of chlorophyll, which provides some of the most potent health benefits to taking chlorella, including improved cardiovascular health, helping deter the effects of radiation and aiding our bodies’ detoxification systems, amongst many more.
Let’s get in depth on just how deep chlorophyll can go toward improving your health!
Chlorella’s detoxification power is one of the main reason I recommend it if you plan on enjoying a more festive summer lifestyle. It is one of the most studied natural supplements for detoxification, as its molecular structure allows it to bind to toxins in our bodies.
Chlorella has proven to have the ability to wrap itself around even stubborn toxins, particularly heavy metals, such as lead, cadmium, mercury and uranium, keeping them from being reabsorbed and allowing your body to effectively eliminate them.
We are exposed to these kinds of heavy metals in more ways that we realize, through everyday things like deodorant, jewelry and eating lots of fish to more concentrated exposures like mercury fillings and vaccinations. The build up of heavy metals in the body can contribute to your toxic load and start to impair many systems in the body. It’s pretty important to get that stuff out! Enter… chlorella!
Regular consumption of chlorella has even proven to help prevent heavy metals from accumulating in soft tissues and organs in the first place! So, even if you think you’re clean as a whistle, incorporating chlorella is a great way to be sure you’re keeping it that way!
IMMUNE BOOSTER (+ANTI CANCER)
Taking chlorella is also a good way to make sure you avoid catching what’s going around! Studies show that chlorella supports a healthy immune system and improves “natural killer” cell activity, your first line of defense against viruses and even tumor formation!
Chlorella has actually been used alongside radiation and chemotherapy because the chlorophyll helps to protect the body against ultraviolet radiation treatments, while also removing radioactive particles from the body. This links back to its detoxification power! At the same time, chlorella keeps the immune system functioning at near normal levels and reduces the negative effects of chemotherapy and immunosuppressive medications such as steroids. This just goes to show how much it nourishes the immune system.
WEIGHT LOSS WARRIOR
Part of summer fun means getting into that bathing suit and flaunting what you’ve got! It can be a tough time of year if you don’t feel good about what you’ve got to flaunt. I want to start by saying, all bodies are beautiful, be proud of who you are and love where you’re at right now. On the flip side, carrying too much excess weight can be dangerous for your health, so in the name of wellness and longevity, it can be beneficial to know some things that might help you slim down and feel good.
Chlorella intake has been correlated with a reduction in body fat percentage, serum total cholesterol and fasting blood glucose levels.
Losing weight can be hard, especially when you feel like you’re doing all the right things but those pounds just won’t budge! Chlorella helps to address several underlying factors that can inhibit weight loss by regulating hormones, boosting the metabolism, improving circulation and promoting higher levels of energy.
Furthermore, taking chlorella as you lose weight also ensures that you can safely eliminate and prevent reabsorption of the toxins that are released from the fat that you’re burning. Fat is the most common place for our bodies to store harmful toxins. In fact, some people have trouble losing weight because it is there as a protective mechanism to prevent toxins from circulating in your bloodstream. For this reason, supported detoxification and weight loss should always go hand in hand. Chlorella helps you out on both ends of that spectrum!
Closely associated with our weight, wellness and longevity is our cardiovascular health. Turns out, chlorella has our back on that one too!
High doses of chlorella have proven to help lower cholesterol and blood glucose levels. It is believed that chlorella activates a number of genes at the cellular level that improve insulin sensitivity, encouraging a healthy balance. This superpower helps to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. I’m down with that!
The high potency of chlorophyll in chlorella helps to purify the blood and allows the body to utilize oxygen more efficiently, which naturally helps to fuel your cells and revitalize your body.
Chlorella also provides a healthy dose of magnesium, integral to the production of energy in the body. It also supports the brain and nervous system by protecting against toxic accumulation. This allows for more energy production, better focus and improved cognition.
DEVELOPMENT & RECOVERY ROCKSTAR
Chlorella is commonly used amongst athletes to shorten their recovery period. Chlorella has a unique ability to boost healthy cell growth and regenerate tissues in the body. This is due to what is now called the chlorella growth factor (CGF). This GCF is what helps the plant grow faster than any other plant on earth. It actually has the ability to quadruple in size in just 20 hours!
The CGF is essentially a concentration of amino acids, glycoproteins, B vitamins and other nutrients. Together, these nutrients give chlorella a superpower like Wolverine! It results in rapid tissue growth, healing and repair.
This growth factor may actually prove most beneficial to children, as it has proven to help them mature faster mentally, physically and emotionally! Subjects consuming chlorella consistently grow taller and develop a higher IQ than those not consuming it. What’s more is that the children’s social skills were actually more pronounced and they had significantly less illness! You want your kids smart, strong and super cool? Chlorella might be something to sneak into their baby food!
FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
In the words of Alphaville, I want to be forever young! Yes, Alphaville is the original artist of that song, and yes, chlorella can help with this too!
Chlorella has the ability to reduce oxidative stress that can be caused from pollution, stress and a poor diet – things most of us have had to deal with at some point. In this way, this superfood steps up to the task of slowing the aging process making you feel and look younger.
This reduction in oxidative stress is likely due to chlorella’s ability to naturally increase levels of vitamin A, vitamin C and glutathione in your body. These powerful antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals and protect your cells. The previously mentioned growth factor also helps to increase cell regeneration, keeping you looking and feeling younger.
Most people notice the most significant difference in the look and feel of their skin. Remember, our skin is a reflection of what’s going on inside!
Some see results in as little as 2 weeks with just 1 tsp or a couple of capsules of chlorella each day!
IS IT BETTER THAN SPIRULINA
This is very common question and I will do my best here to answer whether it is better for you.
Everyone has different needs and, to my mind, the choice between chlorella and spirulina depends on you and what you need!
So, lets have a little friendly competition, shall we?
Detox? WINNER: Chlorella
Chlorella contains 10x more chlorophyll that spirulina, making it more effective at binding and removing toxins from the body.
Protein? WINNER: Spirulina
Spirulina has more protein than chlorella. Spirulina contains 65-71% protein, while chlorella contains 50%. Both are complete proteins including all essential amino acids. However, spirulina contains the highest concentration of complete protein from any plant source.
When you break it down, spirulina actually contains on average up to 10x more protein per gram than beef.
Iron? WINNER: Chlorella
Chlorella JUST edges out spirulina with 6.08 mg as opposed to 4.96 mg per 6g of each. Both serve as fantastic plant-based sources of iron.
Anti-Aging? WINNER: Chlorella
Chlorella is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, with a notable growth factor that helps to accelerate cell regeneration. This is on top of the bundle of antioxidants that protect against oxidative stress – spirulina has those too!
Digestion? WINNER: Spirulina
Spirulina has been proven to fight bad bacteria and support the growth of good bacteria in your gut. This inherently supports healthy digestion and improves the immune system.
Immune System? WINNER: Both
Spirulina and Chlorella both work in different ways to support and protect the immune system. Take them together for best effects!
Everyone has different needs, so if you have to choose, consider what you’re looking for and evaluate the best algae for you!
Best-case scenario is to have the two together! They actually work synergistically, like a superfood justice league, helping each other out and boosting each other’s power!
HOW CAN I GET CHLORELLA INTO MY DIET?
It’s easy! Organika provides a beautiful milled chlorella broken cell powder that is organic and fully bioavailable!
Chlorella naturally has tough cell walls that are difficult to digest. It took years of research to figure out a way for the human body to effective digest and absorb it! It is believed that the substance in its cell walls is what so effectively surrounds heavy metals, pesticides, and other toxins to help remove them from the body. The cell wall just has to be broken first so that our bodies can use it!
This is why it is so important to consuming chlorella that has a broken cell wall, like Organika’s powder and capsules!
If you want to go the capsule route, just consume 2 -3 capsules day with plenty of water. However, in my opinion the more fun option is to go with the powder! Not only is it more pure, (The only ingredient is 100% organic, broken cell chlorella powder!) but it also gives me a reason to come up with fun recipes to incorporate it!
The easy answer is to throw it in your morning smoothie and be done with it, but if you want to get a little more adventurous with your chlorella consumption, here are a few super easy, delicious and healthy treats that I came up with to give you that boost of chlorella and the extra insurance you need to balance out a fun, yet healthy, summer lifestyle.
Cheers to looking and feeling your best!
LEMON CHLORELLA BITES MAKES: 12 bites
Everybody has their favourite “superfood bite” recipe, and this is mine! It packs a powerful punch of chlorella, while balancing out its strong green flavor with the citrusy splash of lemon juice. It also provides a base of healthy fats, featuring walnuts and hemp seeds for that omega-3 anti-inflammatory action. They are totally gluten-free, vegan and raw, to be enjoyed by all!
- 1 cup medjool dates, chopped
- 1 cup walnuts
- ½ cup coconut flakes, unsweetened
- 2 tbsp hemp seeds
- 2 tbsp, fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp nut milk or coconut milk
- 1 tbsp Chlorella
- 1.Toss the walnuts and dates into a food processor or high-powered blender and pulse until broken down into small pieces.
- 2.Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides a few times until you get the right texture.
- 3.Scoop out a spoonful of the mixture at a time, depending on how large you want the bites, and roll into a ball. Place in an airtight container. Do this until you have several little balls and you’ve used up the mixture.
- 4.Place the container in the fridge for at least 2 hours to let the balls set. Enjoy as a tasty superfood treat when you need an extra dose of energy!
CHLORELLA SEED BARS MAKES: 6 bars
This is an easy to make, chlorella packed, energy bar that will fuel your day the right way. It is completely gluten free, refined sugar free, raw and vegan.
- ½ cup pistachios
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- ¾ cup shredded coconut
- ¼ cup hemp hearts
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 1 tsp chlorella powder
- ¾ cup dates, chopped
- ½ lime, juiced
- ½ lemon, juiced
- ½ grapefruit, juiced
- 1.In a food processor or high-powered blender, pulse all ingredients until the mixture combines
- 2.Press into a square pan or dish and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Slice and serve!
MEAN GREEN PISTACHIO BARS MAKES: 10 squares
This recipe is also totally gluten-free, refined sugar free, raw and vegan. It provides plenty of healthy fats that will keep you full and bust cravings. Plus, of course, it gives you a decent dose of chlorella to boost nutrient density and superfood power! This serves as a decadent dessert or a delicious breakfast bar!
- 10 pitted medjool dates
- 1/3 cup raw pistachios
- 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 1 tbsp hemp seeds
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- ½ tsp chlorella powder
- Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
- 2 ripe avocados, pitted
- ½ cup raw cashews
- 1 cup coconut butter
- ¼ cup hemp milk
- 1 tbsp raw honey
- ½ tsp chlorella powder
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- Raw pistachios, chopped
- Raw cacao nibs
- 1.For the crust, pulse the pistachios in a food processor or high-powered blender until they start to form flour.
- 2.Add other crust ingredients and blend until everything is well combined. You may need to scrape the sides down a few times but it will get there. The texture should be smooth and sticky, if the paste is too dry, add extra dates.
- 3.Press the mixture into the bottom of a square pan and let set in the fridge while working on the filling.
- 4.To make the filling, throw all ingredients into your food processor or high-powered blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
- 5.Spread the filling evenly onto your crust and top with chopped pistachios and cacao nibs or topping of your choice!
- 6.Place the pan back in the fridge and let sit for 3-4 hours. Once set, slice into squares and enjoy!