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How to add algae to your diet

We all know fruits and vegetables — especially those beautiful green leafy vegetables — are good for us, but there are some greens that reign supreme. Fortunately, many of our all-time favorites are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and some even have protein. Not to mention, greens are very versatile and easy to incorporate into meals, snacks, and smoothies.

So, what are the best options? Are mustard greens, spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard, or dandelion greens the most beneficial, convenient, healthy, and delicious options? Sometimes the biggest bang for your buck comes from algae, yes Algae!

Spirulina

Surprise! This nutritious algae isn’t just for pretty, turquoise smoothies (while those are a good way to eat it). Spirulina is, in fact, one of the most impressive greens you can add to your diet. Studies show that spirulina can help support regular immune functions.

Including spirulina in your diet can help support healthy cholesterol levels. Spirulina can also support the activation of antioxidant enzymes and the breakdown of important lipids. It can also increase the activity of cells that protect against oxidative damage. Now that you believe in the power of algae, let us move on to spirulina’s freshwater friend.

Chlorella

This freshwater algae is packed with incredible amounts of nutrients including protein, vitamins, minerals, and a large number of antioxidant polysaccharides. These are known to support many internal processes including the immune system and inflammation modulation.

With these benefits, it’s no surprise that chlorella can help promote detoxification in the body. Studies even show that a daily dose of chlorella can help maintain a healthy blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels to enhance immune functions.

A single ounce of chlorella contains:

Vitamin A—287% RDA

Vitamin B2—71% RDA

Vitamin B3—33% RDA

And there is one more algae that deserves a shout out, this one is not green, but does stand out in the crowd for it’s amazing antioxidant potential.

Astaxanthin

There is a huge amount of interest in a little superhero known as Astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is not just known as the “king of carotenoids” or a powerful antioxidant, but when derived from algae it is also considered enviro-friendly because its sourcing supports a healthy and sustainable ecosystem.

Astaxanthin is known to be a powerful antioxidant with an affinity for tissues that have heightened metabolic demand such as cardiac muscle, capillary beds within organs and skeletal muscles requiring sufficient oxygen and energy for their proper performance.

Astaxanthin’s reputation as a powerful antioxidant is due to its unique structure that includes long chains which allows it to stabilize the cell membrane and provide antioxidant protection in all layers, whereas other antioxidants are more limited.

Maybe it’s time to get some algae in your diet!

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

How to add algae to your diet

[Global] Those bright blue smoothies and puddings that have taken over your Instagram feed aren’t just pretty to look at. They also pack a serious health punch, thanks to the same superfood: algae.

The term algae actually refers to a family of aquatic plants that’s estimated to include anywhere from 30,000 to more than 1 million species. You’ve likely heard of some of the more popular varieties, such as Spirulina, Chlorella, Nannochloropsis, and seaweed, and for good reason. Not only are they tasty—and turn ho-hum drinks a vibrant blue hue— but a growing body of evidence suggests they’re also very good for you.

Here’s a look at the proven benefits of algae and why you might want to add it to your diet—especially if you don’t eat a ton of fatty fish. (More on that in a sec!) Plus, some creative and easy ways to get your fill.

Let’s start by talking about the incredible benefits of the omega-3s found in fatty fish like salmon and tuna. (Fun fact: Fish get omega-3s from the algae and seaweed they eat.) These essential fatty acids are thought to promote heart health, help protect against breast and colorectal cancer, fight cognitive decline, ease rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, and even reduce the risk for depression, according to the National Institutes of Health.

If you’re not a fan of fish (or only eat it once in a while), you might aim to get your omega-3s from plant-based sources like walnuts or flaxseeds. The only problem? The omega-3s found in most plants, while good for you, aren’t nearly as potent as the ones found in fish, explains registered dietitian Isabel Smith. In fact, the body can only use about 15 percent of the omega-3s found in most plants, notes the NIH.

But algae is the exception. It’s a plant-based source of omega-3s, and unlike nuts and seeds, the fatty acids within it are easy for the body to absorb. In fact, research has shown that the omega-3s found in certain species of algae, such as nannochloropsis and spirulina, have the same bioavailability as those found in salmon.

That’s why Smith is such a big fan. “I often recommend algae-based omega-3s for people who are vegetarian or vegan, for those with fish allergies, or anyone who has trouble getting enough omega-3s,” she says.

If you’re looking for ways to boost your heart health, consider algae your ally. Early research shows that taking 4.5 grams per day of blue-green algae by mouth for six weeks reduces high blood pressure in some people with hypertension. Research also suggests that consuming nannochloropsis may boast antioxidant properties that could help lower cholesterol and triglycerides, which could reduce the risk of heart disease.

Algae can play a role in protecting and managing diabetes, too. One study found that obese adults who took 2,000 milligrams of spirulina daily for three months showed an improvement in insulin sensitivity. Further, a daily chlorella supplement was found to improve the fasting blood sugar levels of adults in just four months. (A poor fasting blood sugar level is typically an indication of prediabtes or diabetes.)

Research suggests that spirulina contains compounds that act as anti-inflammatory immunomodulators, which could help make your seasonal allergy symptoms a little more bearable. Another study found that healthy adults showed an increase in immune system activity after taking chlorella for eight weeks.

In addition to being loaded with minerals, algae is also a good source of B-vitamin. Those nutrients play a key role in turning food into energy, giving you the fuel you need to get through your day with a little bounce in your step.

Omega-3s and B-vitamins aren’t the only reason you might want to add algae to your diet. Algae like spirulina, chlorella, and nannochloropsis are rich in minerals like iron, magnesium, zinc, and potassium, which can be tough to get enough of on a given day.

And get this: Algae is also surprisingly high in protein. You’ll get 4 grams from just one tablespoon of spirulina—the same as what you’d find in half a cup of low-fat milk.

Easy ways to add algae to your diet

Up for giving algae a try, but aren’t quite sure how to get started? We get it. Chlorella and spirulina are usually found in powdered form, and they can be a little intimidating if you’ve never used them before.

But there are a bunch of other tasty ways to get your fill of these powerful sea veggies. (Just be sure to get the green light with your doctor first. As with all supplements, algae has the potential to interact with certain medications.)

Here are a few of Smith’s favorite ideas:

Add it to a smoothie: Despite its in-your-face color, algae has a mild flavor that works well with most fruits and veggies. Try adding one or two tablespoons to your other ingredients before blending, Smith recommends.

Mix it into salad dressings: Turn any vinaigrette into a nutritional powerhouse by whisking one to two tablespoons of algae into your favorite homemade dressing.

Sprinkle it over popcorn: Try swapping your usual grated Parmesan for a teaspoon or two of algae.

Rather not use a powered algae? Ask your doctor if an algae capsule or soft gel is right for you. One to consider: iWi’s Algae-Based Omega-3 Daily Support, which contains a proprietary strain of nannochloropsis.

Contact Algae World News for algae industry advertising and other opinions: [email protected]

In the third of a four-part series, we look at the benefits of seaweed. Available in abundance, it is a rich source of iron, calcium and essential amino acids. Eat it like a salad, add to water while cooking or just use as garnishing for your favourite dishes.

Seaweed has the ability to accentuate and draw out the flavour of other ingredients. Narinnate Mekkajorn / Alamy Stock Photo

Don’t be put off by the “weed” component of the word seaweed – consuming seawater plants is actually a very sensible and healthy thing to do.

It’s no exaggeration to say there are thousands of types of seaweed growing in rock pools, clinging to coral reefs and bobbing along seashores all over the world. While not all of them taste particularly appealing, the consensus among experts is that each variety is safe for human consumption, making seaweed foraging a much less hazardous occupation than, say, mushroom hunting, where picking and eating the wrong variety can be fatal.

Superfood focus:

In the UAE, seaweed is most commonly found in harvested, dried and packaged form. Probably most familiar is nori, the paper-thin sheets of seaweed used to make sushi – think maki, temaki and California rolls.

Deep-green wakame, meanwhile, is often added to miso soup and is at its best when rehydrated. After being soaked in liquid it develops a striking emerald sheen, a pleasingly tender, slightly slippery texture, and a mild, sweet taste.

Charcoal-grey kombu (dried kelp) tends to be sold in unwieldy strips and, thanks to its deep, savoury flavour, is a key ingredient of dashi, the all-­important broth base used in numerous Japanese dishes.

Health benefits

Where to start? Sea vegetables are heroes in the nutrition department. To begin with, they provide concentrated doses of iron, calcium and essential amino acids, and are great sources of antioxidants. In addition, seaweed is one of the best known food sources of iodine, a mineral needed for the thyroid to function efficiently and regulate metabolism levels and body temperature.

Among a raft of other health-giving properties, seaweed also delivers protein and soluble fibre, as well as containing folic acid and vitamins A and B12, which we need to produce red blood cells.

How to eat

Seaweed delivers a full-on savoury flavour hit that sends chefs into outbursts of delight.

Reif Othman, a Japanese food expert and chef patron at Play Restaurant and Lounge in Dubai, has been using seaweed in his dishes for many years. He says that from a cook’s perspective one of the biggest benefits of the ingredient, is that it ­provides umami (the elusive fifth taste, after sweet, sour, bitter and salt).

“The type of seaweed I use really depends on what I want to achieve at the end,” he says. “­Depending on the variety, it’s great for flavouring butter, making crispy seaweed paste, adding to tarts and salads, and when preparing stock.”

Just like salt, seaweed has the ability to accentuate and draw out the flavour of other ingredients, which means it can also be used as a seasoning. To give it a go, toast sheets of kombu or nori and crumble into pieces, ready to sprinkle over dishes just before serving.

As well as being used to prepare homemade sushi rolls, crispy baked nori makes a healthy and delicious alternative to crisps.

Kombu, meanwhile, is known for its tenderising capabilities, and when added to the cooking water, is particularly efficient at making green beans more digestible. It can also be simmered until soft, cut into strips and served as an alternative to noodles, added to broths or stirred through rice.

If you want to try preparing your first seaweed-based dish from scratch, a wakame salad is a great entry option. Soak 35 grams of wakame in warm ­water for five minutes, until tender. Drain well, leave to dry and slice into strips.

Whisk together two ­tablespoons of rice vinegar, two tablespoons of low-sodium soy sauce, one tablespoon of sesame oil, two teaspoons of caster sugar and 20g of finely chopped pickled ginger from a jar.

In a bowl, mix the wakame with half of a thinly sliced cucumber and three thinly sliced breakfast radishes. Pour the dressing over the vegetables, stir well and ­garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

Tips

Seaweed is, as you might ­expect, very salty.

With that in mind, resist the urge to add salt to the water when cooking or rehydrating dried seaweed.

Similarly, when seaweed forms the main component of a dish, taste before adding additional seasoning.

If you’re serving seaweed with soy sauce (as in the salad recipe), choose a low-sodium ­option.

How to add algae to your diet

[Global] Don’t be put off by the “weed” component of the word seaweed – consuming seawater plants is actually a very sensible and healthy thing to do.

It’s no exaggeration to say there are thousands of types of seaweed growing in rock pools, clinging to coral reefs and bobbing along seashores all over the world. While not all of them taste particularly appealing, the consensus among experts is that each variety is safe for human consumption, making seaweed foraging a much less hazardous occupation than, say, mushroom hunting, where picking and eating the wrong variety can be fatal.

In the UAE, seaweed is most commonly found in harvested, dried and packaged form. Probably most familiar is nori, the paper-thin sheets of seaweed used to make sushi – think maki, temaki and California rolls.

Deep-green wakame, meanwhile, is often added to miso soup and is at its best when rehydrated. After being soaked in liquid it develops a striking emerald sheen, a pleasingly tender, slightly slippery texture, and a mild, sweet taste.
Charcoal-grey kombu (dried kelp) tends to be sold in unwieldy strips and, thanks to its deep, savoury flavour, is a key ingredient of dashi, the all-­important broth base used in numerous Japanese dishes.

Health benefits

Where to start? Sea vegetables are heroes in the nutrition department. To begin with, they provide concentrated doses of iron, calcium and essential amino acids, and are great sources of antioxidants. In addition, seaweed is one of the best known food sources of iodine, a mineral needed for the thyroid to function efficiently and regulate metabolism levels and body temperature.
Among a raft of other health-giving properties, seaweed also delivers protein and soluble fibre, as well as containing folic acid and vitamins A and B12, which we need to produce red blood cells.

How to eat

Seaweed delivers a full-on savoury flavour hit that sends chefs into outbursts of delight.

Reif Othman, a Japanese food expert and chef patron at Play Restaurant and Lounge in Dubai, has been using seaweed in his dishes for many years. He says that from a cook’s perspective one of the biggest benefits of the ingredient, is that it ­provides umami (the elusive fifth taste, after sweet, sour, bitter and salt).
“The type of seaweed I use really depends on what I want to achieve at the end,” he says. “­Depending on the variety, it’s great for flavouring butter, making crispy seaweed paste, adding to tarts and salads, and when preparing stock.”

Just like salt, seaweed has the ability to accentuate and draw out the flavour of other ingredients, which means it can also be used as a seasoning. To give it a go, toast sheets of kombu or nori and crumble into pieces, ready to sprinkle over dishes just before serving.

As well as being used to prepare homemade sushi rolls, crispy baked nori makes a healthy and delicious alternative to crisps.

Kombu, meanwhile, is known for its tenderising capabilities, and when added to the cooking water, is particularly efficient at making green beans more digestible. It can also be simmered until soft, cut into strips and served as an alternative to noodles, added to broths or stirred through rice.

If you want to try preparing your first seaweed-based dish from scratch, a wakame salad is a great entry option. Soak 35 grams of wakame in warm ­water for five minutes, until tender. Drain well, leave to dry and slice into strips.

Whisk together two ­tablespoons of rice vinegar, two tablespoons of low-sodium soy sauce, one tablespoon of sesame oil, two teaspoons of caster sugar and 20g of finely chopped pickled ginger from a jar.

In a bowl, mix the wakame with half of a thinly sliced cucumber and three thinly sliced breakfast radishes. Pour the dressing over the vegetables, stir well and ­garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

Seaweed is, as you might ­expect, very salty.

With that in mind, resist the urge to add salt to the water when cooking or rehydrating dried seaweed.

Similarly, when seaweed forms the main component of a dish, taste before adding additional seasoning.

If you’re serving seaweed with soy sauce (as in the salad recipe), choose a low-sodium ­option.

It’s something to really consider—especially if you’re not a fan of fish.

How to add algae to your diet

How to add algae to your diet

Those bright blue smoothies and puddings that have taken over your Instagram feed aren’t just pretty to look at. They also pack a serious health punch, thanks to the same superfood: algae.

The term algae actually refers to a family of aquatic plants that’s estimated to include anywhere from 30,000 to more than 1 million species. You’ve likely heard of some of the more popular varieties, such as spirulina, chlorella, nannochloropsis, and seaweed, and for good reason. Not only are they tasty—and turn ho-hum drinks a vibrant blue hue— but a growing body of evidence suggests they’re also very good for you.

Here’s a look at the proven benefits of algae and why you might want to add it to your diet—especially if you don’t eat a ton of fatty fish. (More on that in a sec!) Plus, some creative and easy ways to get your fill.

The health benefits of algae

It promotes heart health.

How to add algae to your diet

Let’s start by talking about the incredible benefits of the omega-3s found in fatty fish like salmon and tuna. (Fun fact: Fish get omega-3s from the algae and seaweed they eat.) These essential fatty acids are thought to promote heart health, help protect against breast and colorectal cancer, fight cognitive decline, ease rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, and even reduce the risk for depression, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The body can only use about 15% of the omega-3s found in most plants, but algae is the exception.

If you’re not a fan of fish (or only eat it once in a while), you might aim to get your omega-3s from plant-based sources like walnuts or flaxseeds. The only problem? The omega-3s found in most plants, while good for you, aren’t nearly as potent as the ones found in fish, explains registered dietitian Isabel Smith. In fact, the body can only use about 15 percent of the omega-3s found in most plants, notes the NIH.

But algae is the exception. It’s a plant-based source of omega-3s, and unlike nuts and seeds, the fatty acids within it are easy for the body to absorb. In fact, research has shown that the omega-3s found in certain species of algae, such as nannochloropsis and spirulina, have the same bioavailability as those found in salmon.

That’s why Smith is such a big fan. “I often recommend algae-based omega-3s for people who are vegetarian or vegan, for those with fish allergies, or anyone who has trouble getting enough omega-3s,” she says.

It can help lower your risk for certain diseases.

How to add algae to your diet

If you’re looking for ways to boost your heart health, consider algae your ally. Early research shows that taking 4.5 grams per day of blue-green algae by mouth for six weeks reduces high blood pressure in some people with hypertension. Research also suggests that consuming nannochloropsis may boast antioxidant properties that could help lower cholesterol and triglycerides, which could reduce the risk of heart disease.

Algae can play a role in protecting and managing diabetes, too. One study found that obese adults who took 2,000 milligrams of spirulina daily for three months showed an improvement in insulin sensitivity. Further, a daily chlorella supplement was found to improve the fasting blood sugar levels of adults in just four months. (A poor fasting blood sugar level is typically an indication of prediabtes or diabetes.)

It might fortify your immune system.

How to add algae to your diet

Research suggests that spirulina contains compounds that act as anti-inflammatory immunomodulators, which could help make your seasonal allergy symptoms a little more bearable. Another study found that healthy adults showed an increase in immune system activity after taking chlorella for eight weeks.

It could give you an energy boost.

How to add algae to your diet

In addition to being loaded with minerals, algae is also a good source of B-vitamin. Those nutrients play a key role in turning food into energy, giving you the fuel you need to get through your day with a little bounce in your step.

It can help ward off nutritional deficiencies.

How to add algae to your diet

Omega-3s and B-vitamins aren’t the only reason you might want to add algae to your diet. Algae like nannochloropsis are rich in minerals like iron, magnesium, zinc, and potassium, which can be tough to get enough of on a given day.

And get this: Algae is also surprisingly high in protein. You’ll get 4 grams from just Easy ways to add algae to your diet

Up for giving algae a try, but aren’t quite sure how to get started? We get it. Chlorella and spirulina are usually found in powdered form, and they can be a little intimidating if you’ve never used them before.

But there are a bunch of other tasty ways to get your fill of these powerful sea veggies. (Just be sure to get the green light with your doctor first. As with all supplements, algae has the potential to interact with certain medications.)

How to add algae to your diet

Here are a few of Smith’s favorite ideas:

Add it to a smoothie: Despite its in-your-face color, algae has a mild flavor that works well with most fruits and veggies. Try adding one or two tablespoons to your other ingredients before blending, Smith recommends.

Mix it into salad dressings: Turn any vinaigrette into a nutritional powerhouse by whisking one to two tablespoons of algae into your favorite homemade dressing.

Sprinkle it over popcorn: Try swapping your usual grated Parmesan for a teaspoon or two of algae.

Rather not use a powered algae? Ask your doctor if an algae capsule or soft gel is right for you. One to consider: iWi’s Algae-Based Omega-3 Daily Support, which contains a proprietary strain of nannochloropsis.

While the green stuff floating around in a lake might fall pretty low on the list of ingredients you want on your dinner plate, algae deserves a second glance. Certain types of algae (think seaweed) could be an alternative source of protein, and pack quite a nutritional punch by providing a number of vitamins and minerals like iron and vitamin A.

According to a recent presentation by the Institute of Food Technologists in Chicago, certain types of algae contain 63 percent protein and 15 percent fiber, while all types are easily digested and good for your heart. And while eating algae may sound a little strange, you're probably unknowingly tasted several types of this plant-and each comes with its own nutritional perks.

The most common form? Seaweed. Whether it's wrapped around a sushi roll or floating in your miso soup, seaweed is a powerhouse of nutrients, including high levels of calcium, iron, magnesium, and B vitamins. "I particularly like that it has iodine, which is a mineral that's great for healthy thyroid function," says Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D.N. Seaweed also has antibacterial properties and, according to a study from Newcastle University, can help prevent fat from being digested and therefore reduce obesity rates. It's even great for your skin!

Algae also comes in a powerful little powder. Blue-green algae strains such as chlorella and spirulina are quick and easy to use. "What is interesting about chlorella is that it contains B12, a vitamin that is usually found only in animal-based food sources. Because of that, this is a vitamin many vegetarians and vegans are deficient in," says Manuel Villacorta, R.D., author of Whole Body Reboot and the Peruvian Superfood Diet. Meanwhile, spirulina contains the compound zeaxanthin, a carotenoid that has been shown to reduce chronic eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, says Villacorta.

Enough said-now you know algae is great for you. But how the heck do you eat it? Check out these 10 tasty ways to work algae into your diet. (No Top Chef skills required!)

1. Wrap sandwiches in nori sheets. Liven up your lunchbox with a different kind of wrap. Nori sheets, which you can find at your local Whole Foods Market or online, are a great swap for bread or tortillas, says Blatner. Think outside of the sushi roll, baby!

2. Add spirulina to your favorite smoothie. Just like how you sneak greens into your morning blend to score more nutrients, reap all the benefits of spirulina by adding one teaspoon of powder to your regular fruit-and-vegetable smoothie. We like Pure Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica by Nutrex ($53; nutrex-hawaii.com). (In fact, it's one of our 14 Super Smoothie Boosters.)

3. Bake seaweed chips. Forget kale chips-try this recipe for homemade seaweed snacks from Nourishing Meals. They're crunchy and, with a dash of sea salt, they'll satisfy your salty cravings while secretly stocking your body with nutrients.

4. Add spirulina to homemade sweets. Next time you're craving something sweet but don't want to fall too far off the wagon, try adding spirulina to a baking recipe-like these Spirulina Power Bites from Worth Every Bite. Not only are they raw and Paleo-friendly, but they're vegan and gluten-free!

5. Garnish your Bloody Mary with toasted seaweed. Move over celery, Bloodys have a new best friend. With a crunchy texture and slightly salty taste, toasted seaweed (which you can buy in packs from stores like Whole Foods) is the perfect snack garnish to your favorite brunch drink, like Candice Kumai's DIY Bloody Mary Bar. Want to get really fancy? Try this Kimchi Bloody Mary recipe from Beautiful Booze.

6. Swap kelp noodles in pasta dishes. They really don't taste anything like traditional noodles, but kelp (a type of seaweed) noodles have the same look as pasta-without the carbs and with a lot more nutrients. Since they have a pretty neutral flavor, pair them with delicious sauces like pesto or marinara, and sprinkle with your favorite cheesy toppings (just like spaghetti!). (Other great pasta alternatives? These 12 Sensational Spiralized Veggie Recipes.)

7. Make a seaweed salad. Switch up your mundane bowl of mixed greens by using seaweed as the salad base. To prep, put dry seaweed in a bowl and pour in cold water. Depending on how much crunch you're looking for, let it soak for five to 10 minutes (the longer it soaks, the more tender it'll become). Drain the seaweed, squeeze out excess water, and add your regular toppings.

8. Make miso soup. Stop leaving miso to the restaurants. This recipe by Minimalist Baker only takes 15 minutes to make and is chock full of nutrients-in addition to dried seaweed, the recipe calls for fermented miso, leafy greens, and tofu.

9. Roll your own sushi. Sushi is the healthy girl's go-to for take out, but it's time to set the take-out menu aside and learn to roll on your own. Makemysushi.com is a great place to start, with recipes and how-tos for a variety of different types of sushi. (Or watch our video on How to Make Homemade Sushi Maki Rolls.)

10. Top salad with wakame shreds. Goodbye croutons, hello wakame! This type of seaweed (often found in miso soup) offers a somewhat sweet and slightly salty taste, making it a great topping for any regular ol' salad. Plus, it's crunchy, so it's a healthy replacement for croutons.

How to add algae to your diet

To reduce your risk of getting diverticulitis, you should try and add high-fiber foods to each meal. Aim for up to half your plate to contain some fiber-rich food.

However, be careful about eating a lot of fiber at once. Overdoing it can cause gas, bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps as your gut bacteria try to process all the new fiber. These problems go away after a while as your digestive system gets used to the higher fiber levels, but you can avoid them by adding extra fiber gradually to your diet. For example, try to add just one more serving of a high-fiber food to your daily diet for a week, then see how your body feels. Give yourself another week, if needed. If everything is okay, add another daily serving for a week. Continue this pattern until you reach your daily quota of fiber.

Also, make sure to drink plenty of fluids each day—about 16 ounces of water, four times a day. Increasing the water you drink can help fiber pass through your digestive system and avoid stomach distress.

Here are some additional tips that can help you make the transition to a higher-fiber diet.

  • Eat a minimum of three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit every day, the five-a-day recommended by the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans. What does that look like? In general, one serving is a single piece of fruit or a half-cup of raw fruits or vegetables, or a cup of leafy greens.
  • Include fruits, vegetables, or both with every meal. For instance, include fruit with breakfast and as a snack, and vegetables with lunch and dinner.
  • Eat pulses (the seeds of plants in the legume family), such as beans, lentils, and peas, at least three times a week. You can include them either as a plant-based protein in meatless dishes, or as the starch side in place of grains. For example, you could have fish on a bed of lentils rather than rice.
  • Rely on nuts, seeds, and fruit for snacks. Or add them to other items like yogurt, oatmeal, salads, and stir-fries.
  • Replace refined grains like white rice with whole grains like brown rice, wild rice, or bulgur. For pasta, look for versions made from quinoa or pulses like chickpeas and lentils.
  • Check nutrition fact labels for the amount of dietary fiber. Aim for at least 5 grams of fiber per serving.

Image: KarpenkovDenis/Getty Images

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Algae is a very valuable, although still a bit underrated product. Recently, more and more people are reaching for them, but some of us still wonder what they can add to the menu, and what dishes can be prepared from them. Therefore, to dispel any doubts, we present you the nutritional value of algae and ideas for using them in the kitchen!

Introduction

Algae are plants that live in water and where it is humid. Some of them occur in places where extreme conditions prevail, e.g. large changes in temperature or salinity. Therefore, to survive, they produce a large amount of biologically active metabolites, the valuable properties our body can also benefit from. That is why algae are becoming more and more popular, not only in a vegetarian diet.

Health properties

There are many valuable ingredients in algae, such as vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and amino acids.

Antioxidants

The excess of free radicals in the body is harmful, because it leads to damage of blood vessels and lipid oxidation, and thus increases the risk of developing atherosclerotic changes. In addition, their excess predisposes to the occurrence of cancer, neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease), and also has a pro-inflammatory effect and accelerates the aging process. Unfortunately, the modern lifestyle (excessive stress, smoking, unhealthy diet, low level of physical activity) promotes the formation of free radicals. That is why it is so important to protect our bodies from their harmful effects and look for food rich in antioxidants. One of the products rich in these valuable compounds is algae. It has been observed that although they are exposed to radiation and high oxygen concentration (which promotes the formation of free radicals), they do not lead to structural changes in their organisms. Therefore, it has been found that algae can produce the necessary amount of antioxidants to protect against damage. This means that they are a good source of these compounds, and consuming them also helps our body fight free radicals.

Alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3)

Vegetarians who eliminate fish from their diet (including fatty sea fish, which are the source of omega-3 fatty acids) are looking for other products that will be a source of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids for them. Therefore, algae, which are the source of alpha-linolenic acid, often appear in their diet. It is an ingredient that must not be missing in a healthy diet, due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer properties, as well as beneficial effects on the functioning of the central nervous system.

Vitamins and minerals

Algae are also a source of numerous vitamins and minerals, including:

  • vitamin E (one of the strongest antioxidants),
  • vitamin C (necessary for the synthesis of collagen, the proper functioning of the immune system, and increases the bioavailability of iron from plant products),
  • folates (play an important role in the diet of women planning a child and pregnant),
  • iodine (necessary for the production of thyroid hormones),
  • magnesium (responsible for the proper functioning of the nervous system and muscles),
  • calcium (it cannot be missing from the diet, it has a beneficial effect on bones and teeth).

In addition, there are ingredients in algae that improve metabolism, lower the level of LDL cholesterol (the so-called bad cholesterol), strengthen immunity, and have a beneficial effect on carbohydrate metabolism.

Culinary properties

Taking into account the amount and variety of valuable ingredients that are present in algae, it is undoubtedly worth including them in the menu. However, the question is how to do this?

Powdered algae

In stores, we can find powdered algae (e.g. chlorella, spirulina) most often. We can add them to smoothies, pesto, vegetable paste, wholemeal flour pancakes, fit bars, fruit sorbets, and soups. Thanks to them, the dishes gain not only nutritional value but also acquire a unique green color. This can be especially desirable when it comes to fit desserts.

Fresh algae

We can prepare, for example, a salad from fresh algae or use it as a healthy addition to groats or rice. One idea is to combine them with avocado and cucumber, or to prepare a salad based on algae and eggplant. They are also perfect for Asian cuisine (e.g. mun mushroom salad and rice).

Summary

Algae are rich in ingredients valuable to our body that naturally strengthen immunity, improve the functioning of the central nervous system, delay the aging process, and protect us against various diseases. Therefore, even if we have not had the opportunity to try what they taste like before, it is worth breaking down and including them in the menu in a powdered form or as an addition to salads.

The discovery of this ancient strain of blue-green micro-algae Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA) has led to a new super food that contains more protein and chlorophyll than any other food source. Primitive as algae may appear, most are highly efficient photo synthesizers, even more so than plants. Algae utilize light energy from the sun, carbon dioxide from the air, and hydrogen from the water to synthesize proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. AFA grows only in the wild and is far superior to any other algae on the planet. It is nature’s perfect food. AFA is unique among all food grade algaes in that it also metabolizes molecular nitrogen from the air to produce its proteins and other nitrogen containing bio-molecules. The AFA cell is truly awe-inspiring. Although hundreds of times smaller than the cells of the plant or animal kingdoms, its wide range of sixty-four micro-nutrients is remarkable and unsurpassed by any known food. It should be no surprise that the nucleic acids of AFA also bio-stimulate the immune system. Our E3 AFA is a non-GMO heirloom variety

Is All AFA Algae the Same?

The benefits of Aphanizomenon flos-aquae are directly proportional to the quality and exact source of the algae. Unless you know the source of the algae, there is no guarantee of quality. AFA has been harvested from the purest and healthiest algae from the deepest waters of Upper Klamath Lake. We harvest from the deepest waters of Upper Klamath Lake to bring you the purest, healthiest and most potent algae available.

About the Brain

How to add algae to your diet

The brain is the most undernourished organ in the body. Although it comprises only 2% of the total body weight, it uses 20% of the body’s available energy resources. Each of its estimated 10 billion neurons has an insatiable appetite, which must be satisfied every minute of every day of our lives. AFA metabolizes molecular nitrogen directly from the air. This growth pattern allows for the biosynthesis of Low Molecular Weight Peptide Groups. These low molecular weight peptides are the precursors of neurotransmitters, which are used by various regions of the brain and body to initiate the secretion of other substances (such as hormones) that influence metabolic functions. Neurotransmitters can be seen as the chemical link whereby neurons communicate with one another. The ability of the brain neurons to manufacture and utilize neurotransmitters is dependent upon the concentration of amino acids in the bloodstream. This largely depends upon the food consumption of the previous meal.

The Importance of Protein and Amino Acids

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT AFA HERE ==>

All of the body’s basic biochemical processes require energy to occur. It is from the ingestion of various food substances that the required amount of energy is obtained. The central part of the body’s energy package that provides for the replication and repair of cells, organs and organ systems is protein. Next to water, protein is the most abundant substance in a healthy human body. It comprises a major portion of the blood and lymph and creates a natural immunity by giving the body a means of recognizing invading foreign cells and viruses. Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of the body. Proteins comprise 90% of the hemoglobin and form the backbone of the body’s immune system. AFA contains more protein than any other organism (plant or animal). There are 22 amino acids, 8 of which are essential and must be obtained from our foods. Without proper quantities of all the amino acids, health cannot be maintained. When improper amounts of amino acids are consumed, the less important body tissues are “cannibalized” causing premature aging and possible severe deficiencies, such as lack of motivation, loss of memory, low mental alertness, poor intellectual performance, and depression. What is truly unique about the algae is that its amino acid profile is almost identical to that found in our body, making AFA one of the nature’s perfect foods.

Last week, we talked about the amazing health benefits of chlorella. This green algae is not only a superfood, it’s also considered “nature’s multivitamin” because of the numerous benefits it has for our health and well-being. It contains vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients, like magnesium and iron, and it’s a wonderful source of plant-based protein!

Once you’ve gotten your chlorella powder, capsules or tablets, naturally the next question is “what am I supposed to do with this stuff?” We understand it can be a little daunting when jumping into something new like taking green algae supplements, so we’ve put together a little guide to get you on your way.

How Much to Take Per Day

Your supplement should have your daily recommended dosage listed right on the label, but as a general guide, depending on which form you’re taking:

Powder
Adults: 1-2 teaspoons (3-4 g)
Children: 1 teaspoon (1-2 g)

Tablets (500mg)
Adults: 6-8 tabs
Children: 2-4 tabs

Capsules (600mg)
Adults: 5-7 caps

How to Take Chlorella

If you’re taking the tablets or capsules, your work is already done. Just take them with some water or juice, about half an hour before meals.

If you’re opting for the powder form, there are many ways in which to add chlorella to your daily regimen. You can either add the powder to water or juice, or add it into your smoothie or green juice. You may also sprinkle it right onto your salads, yogurt, or cereal.

Some people like to use both the powder and the pills together, using the powder in their morning smoothie/juice and taking the pills with them to work or school to eat throughout the day.

Some Tips and Precautions

  • When first adding chlorella to your diet, it’s recommended to do so gradually, working your way up to the daily recommended dosage.
  • Do not take vitamin C with chlorella because it can loosen the binding of the heavy metals the chlorella is holding. These toxins can go right back into your tissues rather than being eliminated. Do not take vitamin C within 3 hours of a chlorella protocol dose.
  • Chlorella is best when spread out into multiple doses throughout the day (about half hour before meals) to help the body absorb all the nutrients. If taking the entire dose all at once, it’s recommended to do so around breakfast time.
  • Do not add chlorella to hot drinks or anything that will be heated, cooked, or baked, as the heat will destroy its nutritional value. Instead, add it to cold drinks, cereal, yogurt, or raw desserts.
  • Due to the cleansing and detoxifying nature of chlorella, you may experience a mild headache, diarrhea, or gas when first adding it to your diet. These symptoms are normal and should subside within a few days. If you experience these symptoms, try cutting the next dose in half. If the symptoms persist, discontinue use immediately and consult your health care physician.

Where to Buy Chlorella Supplements

Healthy Planet carries a wide variety of chlorella supplements, including the powder, capsules, and tablets. Remember, this month until June 5th, 2013 the Organic Traditions Chlorella Powder is on sale for $13.99 – that’s 13% off the regular price!

So what is your favorite way to take chlorella? Do you prefer the powder or pill form? What health benefits are you enjoying from taking chlorella supplements?

About the Author:

Sarah UmmYousef is a former school teacher turned stay-at-home wife and mama with a passion for all things simple, natural, and homemade. She loves the natural world, and believes the solutions to many of the world’s ailments lie in nature. Her blog, Nature’s Nurture, began as a way to document her family’s journey to a greener home, but has since become a thriving community and resource for those wishing to take small steps towards a more eco-friendly, natural and sustainable lifestyle. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.