If the trendy teal blue smoothie bowl (takes its eye-eating hue courtesy of edible spirulina algae) has given your sense of well-being chills, there’s another alga in town that is vying for a title of “healthy food”: chlorella.
So is chlorella?
“Chlorella grows in freshwater and is also commercially produced and produced,” says Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RDN. This means that you can find it in various forms of consumption, such as powders, tablets, capsules and extracts.
Now you know it’s another edible seaweed, but its nutrient composition and claims that it can help with a number of health issues are what brought it to the surface. “It is emerging as a more widely recognized dietary supplement,” says Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D., clinical biochemist, author and founder of the Institute for Functional Medicine. Chlorella contains a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and more, and is said to aid in everything from blood sugar control to detoxification.
But there is still a lot of research to be done before science tells us for sure whether chlorella deserves a place in healthful diets or is simply dressed in an aura of health. “Most of the studies so far have been conducted in animals or have a very small human sample size, so we need to proceed with caution before making bold claims about chlorella’s ability to be a food miracle,” adds Shaw. Additionally, nutrient values often vary depending on the form of chlorella you are consuming.
These are some of the potential health benefits of chlorella.
Chlorella is rich in nutrients.
While research into chlorella’s potential to positively impact specific health aspects still has a long way to go, one thing we do know is that it is a nutritional potency and that those it contains confer benefits. Chlorella is a source of:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B12
- omega-3 fatty acids
“Chlorella contains vitamin D and B12, which are two nutrients not found in many plant-based foods,” says Shaw, and its higher levels of folate and iron are also notable.
Chlorella can target free radicals.
Carotenoids are important antioxidants, and you may recognize them as the plant compounds that give fruits and vegetables their orange or yellow undertones (in this case, the chlorophyll content of chlorella pushes its all-green hue). Carotenoids in chlorella can help rid the body of free radicals, which left unchecked can cause damage and lead to the development of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cognitive conditions, says Shaw.
Chlorella can support immunity.
“We know vitamin D has a connection with strong immune health, and one study found that chlorella may have the potential to improve immunity,” says Shaw, but more research is needed to determine which form and dose would be most beneficial. . In general, vitamin D plays a role in regulating the immune system and has anti-inflammatory properties; keeping inflammation in check allows your immune system to function better.
Chlorella is a complete protein.
Not all protein sources are created equal: some are complete proteins, which contain all nine essential amino acids that our body cannot make on its own, and (you guessed it!) Incomplete proteins contain only some of the essential amino acids. those amino acids.
Since chlorella is a type of complete protein, it contains those amino acids that create the building blocks of bone, tissue and muscle.
Chlorella can promote eye health.
While no specific studies have been done to explore chlorella and vision health, research shows that carotenoids, particularly lutein, can help improve age-related macular diseases or prevent their development in the first place – and Chlorella is a source of these eye helpers, Shaw says.
Chlorella fights inflammation.
The vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and omega-3s contained in chlorella are known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation can damage cells over time and is associated with the development of chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Chlorella can promote good heart health.
Clinical research is needed on chlorella’s potential impact on heart health, however seaweed is a source of omega-3 fatty acids, which we know are part of a heart-healthy diet. Omega-3s are thought to support a healthy heart by lowering the levels of triglycerides (fats) in the blood, lowering blood pressure slightly, and taming inflammation.
Chlorella can contribute to blood health.
Chlorella contains three nutrients essential for the formation of red blood cells: iron, folic acid and vitamin B12. Blood is what carries oxygen throughout the body so that organs, muscles, and more can function as they should.
How to supplement with chlorella:
While more studies are needed to determine exactly how chlorella can support various aspects of good health, you may still want to consume it to enjoy all the vitamins and minerals it contains. “As with any supplement, I recommend speaking with your doctor first to make sure it’s the right choice for you,” says Shaw and for dosage advice.
Chlorella powders can be added to smoothies, soups, and even sauces like guacamole or hummus. Whether you choose a powder, capsule, extract, or tablet supplement, look for reputable companies that run third-party testing, says Shaw.
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