Weight Loss Benefits of Spirulina (Plus Smoothie Recipe)

12 Smoothie Recipes With Spirulina

Serves 1

Adding spirulina powder to smoothies is one of the easiest ways to eat spirulina. In this nourishing weight loss smoothie, spirulina comes together with white beans, mango and kiwi. White beans are low in calories and fat and high in protein and fiber, plus their mild beany flavor is easily masked by the fruity flavors of mango and kiwi.

What’s more, according to a study published in the Nutrition Journal in 2011, the common white bean has enzymes that appear to prevent starch digestion, which in turn may have beneficial effects for those who tend to gain weight when consuming a lot of carbohydrates.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 scant cup cooked white beans, chilled
  • 1/2 mango, diced
  • 2 kiwis, peeled
  • 1/4 tsp spirulina powder
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup crushed ice

Instructions

Throw everything into a high-powdered blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. Pour the smoothie into a glass and drink immediately.

Note: As with all supplements, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not impose strict regulations on the production of spirulina supplements, and some spirulina products may contain high levels of heavy metals or other harmful substances such as microcystins.

To be on the safe(r) side, only purchase spirulina products from trusted suppliers. If you are interested in buying a batch of US-grown spirulina tested for heavy metals and microcystins, check out Nutrex Hawaii’s spirulina tablets which are available on Amazon.

References

1. EW Becker et al (1986). Clinical and biochemical evaluations of the alga spirulina with regard to its application in the treatment of obesity. A double-blind cross-over study. Nutrition Reports International, 33: 565-574.
2.

M Kalafati et al (2010). Ergogenic and antioxidant effects of spirulina supplementation in humans. Medicine {amp}amp; Science in Sports {amp}amp; Exercise, 42(1), 142-51.
3. M. Barrett and J. Udani (2011).

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Spirulina is having a moment.

With this green algae poised to grow even more popular in 2018 and beyond, it’s worth it to take a moment and analyze why it’s such an amazing superfood.

A blue-green algae that grows in salt water and sub-tropical climates, spirulina was used a supplement by the Aztecs of Mexico — which was around the 14th century. Since then, spirulina has remained a potent supplement, used for everything from weight loss, to diabetes, to stress, to anxiety, to even ADHD.

While more research needs to be done into the natural healing properties of spirulina, what’s for certain is that this algae is rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, amino acids, and even protein.

What makes spirulina a great ingredient for smoothies is its relatively mild taste. When you blend it with sweet fruits and leafy greens, you can’t even tell it’s in there!

(One caveat, even though they’re both algae, spirulina is not the same thing as chlorella. While each have amazing health properties, spirulina is usually cheaper (because it’s easier to process), and for some people, easier to digest.)

Like most of these recipes explain, start with 1 tsp of spirulina in your smoothie, and then slowly work up to 2 tsps or even 1 tbsp. Just know that the more you add – the stronger it will taste!

7 Healthy Smoothies Nutritionists Swear By

Banana. Peanut butter. Cocoa powder. Milk. Ice cubes. Yogurt. Done. While this swirl of chocolate-peanut butter goodness sure does sound enticing, who are we kidding: Sometimes our DIY smoothies might as well be a double fro-yo order with milk chocolate malt balls for all the calories and added sugar they pack in.

Smoothies can absolutely be a part of your strategy for healthy, lasting weight loss—if that’s what you’re after—but only when done right. (Otherwise, consider them slurpable desserts with a health halo around them.) Nutritionists agree that incorporating a nutrient-dense smoothie into your daily diet can help avoid pound creepage by keeping hunger levels in check and even promote weight loss thanks to their filling fiber and muscle-building protein. To find out their go-to slimming sippers, we tapped top R.D.s for their favorite recipes.

Before we get into those, let’s chat about weight loss for a minute. A perfect smoothie will not magically make you lose weight. In fact, no one thing is going to do that—at least not in a healthy or sustainable way. If you want to lose weight (and not everyone does), you have to also address a range of other factors that play important roles: sleep, stress, hormones and and other medical issues, to name a few biggies. Only by looking at weight loss from a holistic point of view can you really home in on a healthy goal, effect meaningful change, and see sustainable results. For some people, weight loss in and of itself might not be a healthy goal. If you have a history of disordered eating, you should consult a doctor before making any changes to your diet.

Now, whether you’re looking for help on your road to weight loss or just want some delectable smoothie inspiration, read on, and dust off that blender.

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Further Research is Warranted

Further investigation, including additional studies, is clearly warranted before any definite conclusions can be made about the potential weight loss benefits of spirulina, but the results of the small studies described above certainly seem promising.

What’s more, spirulina use appears to be safe and have few side effects, so if you are tackling with excess body weight, it might be worth a try, provided that you talk to a qualified health care professional first and don’t exceed the recommended doses.

Spirulina and Weight Loss

Spirulina Appears to Increase Fat Oxidation During Exercise

In the mid 1980s, a group of researchers published an interesting double-blind cross-over study on spirulina and weight loss in Nutrition Reports International (now known as Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry).

The study participants, all of whom were obese at the start of the study, were given either 2.8 grams of spirulina three times a day over a period of four weeks, or a placebo supplement over the same period.

At the end of the four-week trial, the researchers observed a small but statistically significant reduction of body weight in those who had received the spirulina supplements, compared with those in the placebo group.

An intriguing study published in the January 2010 issue of Medicine {amp}amp; Science in Sports {amp}amp; Exercise investigated the effects of spirulina on exercise performance and carbohydrate/fat oxidation in moderately trained men.

Each of the nine men who took part in this study took either spirulina capsules or placebo capsules for four weeks, followed by a washout period with no supplementation. After the washout period, the men who had taken spirulina took placebo for four weeks, and vice versa.

After each supplementation period, the men were asked to run on a treadmill at an intensity corresponding to 70%-75% of their VO2max (the maximum amount of oxygen the body can transport and use during exercise) for two hours and then at 95% VO2max to exhaustion.

A significant increase in exercise performance was observed in those who had taken spirulina supplements over the past four weeks – the men were able to run an average of 30 percent longer after having been supplemented with spirulina.

What’s more, ingestion of spirulina decreased carbohydrate oxidation rate by 10.3 percent and increased fat oxidation rate by 10.9 percent during the two-hour run. This suggests that spirulina may help promote fat burning during exercise, while preserving the body’s glycogen stores.

Spirulina: 11 health benefits and nutrition

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