This month’s nutrition feature: Chlorella

The humble algae…

Chlorella, also known as chlorella pyrenoidosa is a single celled fresh-water green algae, sounds delicious right? It is grown in Taiwan or Japan and other Asian countries and is available in most health stores in a tablet or powder form. This nutrient dense plant contains carotenes, protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals, and chlorophyll. Algae are considered plants, although unlike common plants that have roots or proper stems these lack the specialised multicellular reproductive structures that define true plants.

Not only is chlorella an impressive source of vitamins and minerals.

Vitamin A, Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), B1 (thiamine), B9 (folate), B12, and K, Zinc, iron, phosphorus, copper, and magnesium

Depending on the source, chlorella is over 50% protein boosting all nine essential amino acids. For anyone a plant-based diet this is one supplement you can’t afford to miss.

Fairly impressive so far for something that is only just considered a plant but there’s more…

The research, and plenty has been done, suggest that this humble alga can cleans the body of toxins mostly in the form of heavy metals. Through environmental factors such as pollution, and through lifestyle and diet our bodies pick up these toxins, although considered safe in small amounts, if they build up this can create health problems. It is shown that chlorella binds to heavy metals before they are absorbed by the body and allows for them to be flushed from the system.

Wow! This really is a super food I hear you say, so is that all? Well, there are a few more I should mention. Because chlorella contains biotin and copper it will aid iron absorption and this also makes it great for hair, making it strong and shiny. Chlorella also helps maintain a healthy gut and immune system, it stimulates cell renewal and has anti-inflammatory properties which could help manage respiratory conditions such as COPD and asthma by promoting better lung function

By now you’re probably thinking how many portions should I be having dinner?

Like many supplements chlorella is best taken in the morning with a dose of between 2-5 grams or 10 -15 tablets. This is recommended to be the most benefitable for the body in preventing disease and illness. Not all chlorella contains B12 (try and make sure yours does) so if yours does you should not take vitamin C supplement with it, you should leave a 2-hour gap between them as vitamin C can interfere with B12 absorption.

Just remember chlorella in powder form can be added to all kinds of breakfasts to create a super healthy and powerful alkaline way to start any day. Examples are with mashed up with avocado on toast, in a smoothie or even in porridge.

A super food indeed. There are a few exceptions where a little caution is advised, those taking blood thinners for example should check with their doctor as the high vitamin K content of chlorella which promotes healthy blood clotting could interact with this medication. There is nothing to suggest that this would be unsafe to take during pregnancy but again, caution is advised. The amount of chlorella you take should start of small while you get used to it as it might cause some tummy problems such as gas or diarrhoea, by and large though this is a safe and highly recommended supplement to add to your diet.