Food Focus: Chlorella
I know what you're thinking and how you are feeling! I learned about the benefits of algae early in my nutrition career, but I did used to think I would never eat or drink anything that would be considered pond scum. Living by the ocean, summer closures of the beach due to algae makes most people assume it is nothing but toxic sludge! Which, most strains, are. But two have major benefits and should be considered medicinal for our health!
The winners you might have seen on the back of bottles or packets: Spirulina and Chlorella
Today we are going to talk chlorella only. I have another blog post about spirulina, so definitely look that up because its worth it to read about both!
I take this powerhouse plant in my morning greens powder, but recently stumbled upon a company that provided much of the research above and offers clean products. I learned the following on their site. Here are the top 5 - but do your research - there are many more! Link to studies below.
Chlorella has the unique ability to bind to and remove heavy metals from the body. Studies show that chlorella is effective at removing several harmful compounds from the body, including heavy metals like lead.
When lead-exposed research mice were given a dose of chlorella at the time of lead exposure, their blood lead levels dropped an incredible 66%! The researchers attributed this to chlorella’s strong chelation properties. We do chelation IV drips at our office so I know how important this is! If I can get it in my daily diet? Yes, please!
Supports Immune System
Chlorella has been found to stimulate the production of several cell types critical to the immune system. For mothers, chlorella can be a great food for helping to make sure dioxins are not transferred to infants while breast feeding. Dioxins are a group of toxic compounds that can find their way into breast milk due to poor environmental conditions. Chlorella has been found to stimulate antibodies in breast milk that eliminate dioxins! Ladies, you know how much I dig breast milk! Just read chapter 4 of my book. Now we can all get a benefit without being on the boob. Remember just how much breastmilk helps a newborns immune system?
Chlorella has multiple studies demonstrating its efficacy in improving lipid-related biomarkers. It has been found to reduce cholesterol along with triglycerides in patients with slightly above average cholesterol levels. The researchers attributed these health benefits to the high levels of carotenoids α-carotene and lutein/zeaxanthin in chlorella. There have also been studies indicating chlorella can help reduce total body fat as well as blood glucose levels! Same as it's sister spirulina.
Improves Blood Pressure
Chlorella is loaded with micronutrients and antioxidants that are important for maintaining healthy arteries, which, in turn, improve blood pressure. These nutrients help reduce arterial stiffness – a problem commonly associated with high blood pressure. Some research suggests that chlorella improves arterial health by increasing nitric oxide levels. Research has used both younger and older individuals, meaning anyone can benefit from chlorella.
Better Aerobic Endurance
Interestingly, chlorella’s ability to increase oxygen uptake capacity was studied in both young men and women. Even more interesting, chlorella was found to significantly improve peak oxygen. These findings suggests that consuming chlorella could be beneficial to athletes who participate in sports or exercise requiring significant aerobic endurance. I know I want to run faster without feeling winded!
All the new things I learned from ENERGYbits CEO Catharine Arnston can be found on her website below and also on my friend Jayne's podcast Elevated Wellness. I highly suggest you listen to her interview. Enjoy the energy of algae!
Jes Royston | Green Mama Tribe