With SO many superfoods being touted daily by the mainstream media, it's hard to keep up!
But have you paid attention to one of my favorites - Chlorella?
Sure ... it's not as sexy as cacao, or as on-trend as kale, but this velvety green whole food has unreal nutritional superpowers that you need to know about.
What is it exactly?
This superfood is a single-cell, water-grown algae (sounds gross, but don't be put off) that contains a nutrient vital to our health - Chlorophyll, not to be confused with Chloroform - a toxic substance that can seriously depress the respiratory system and heart.
Do you know that Chlorella is:
- One of the most ancient forms of life - it has been in existence for nearly 2 billion years. (2)
- Currently being investigating by NASA as a source of nutrition for its astronauts. (1)
- Used daily in Japan as a food supplement by 4 million people, to such an extent that the Japanese government has declared it a functional food of national interest. (2)
- A superfood because it contains an almost complete range of vitamins (apart from vitamin D), all the main minerals, large amounts of iron and calcium, 19 amino acids and 50-60% of vegetable protein. (2)
- Mighty, with 10 times more vitamin A than beef liver per gram, 40 times more protein per gram than soya, rice and wheat. (2)
- The champion in the chlorophyll world, with the highest amount of chlorophyll of any plant in the world. In fact, that's how it got its name!
- An algae that quadruples itself every twenty hours, growing faster than any food crop know to man (8)
According to *Paul Pitchford, M.S., author of the landmark nutrition book, Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition (2002), these are just some of Chlorella’s many amazing benefits: (3, 4, 5,6,7)
- Detoxification of the body (heavy metals, PCB’s, some pesticides/herbicides).
- Stimulation of the immune system (stimulates production of our immune ‘T’ cells).
- Improvement in bowel and digestive function (causes the Lactobacilli bacteria in our stomachs to multiply at four times their normal rate and helps reduce constipation).
- Promotion of longevity without desirable side-effects (Highest known food source of RNA).
How To Consume Chlorella?
It's a potent detoxifier, so it's best to introduce Chlorella very gradually into your diet to allow your body to adjust. A slow introduction helps avoid unwanted headaches, lethargy and brain fog - if you get these symptoms, reduce your dose. It's your body's way of telling you that you are detoxing too fast.
You'll find Chlorella in tablet and powder form (1 teaspoon of powder is equal to 5 grams).
Tablets – Chew them up thoroughly at the end of your meal for optimal digestion.
Powder – Great in smoothies but be pre-warned - Chlorella has a ‘fishy’ taste so best to mix it with citrus flavors or chocolate to mask the taste.
3 grams daily is a generally recommended as a good maintenance dose.
For detoxification purpose, I recommend you consult a Certified Nutritionist as it's vital that all your detox pathways are ‘open’, with your bowels moving well and that you are well hydrated.
Note: Since Chlorella is high in iron, it is not recommended for those with elevated iron blood levels.
What Do I Look For when Buying Chlorella?
Chlorella is ubiquitous – however some products have been known to contain substantial quantities of contaminants such as mercury and aluminum. Also be aware of chlorella products that contain fillers, binders and other preservatives; these only lessen its nutritional effectiveness and rob your wallet.
Instead, look for companies that offer ‘organic, broken cell’ chlorella that improves digestion and assimilation.
*Paul Pitchford, M.S., recommends Prime Chlorella TM, and uses it clinically for its ‘unsurpassed purity and effectiveness’. I have not used it in my practice so I cannot guarantee it authenticity.
(3) Yamaguchi, Shimizu, et al. "Immuno Modulation by Single Cellular Algae (Chlorella Pyrenoldosa) and Anti-tumor Activities for Tumor-Bearing Mice," a paper presented at the 3rd International Congress of Developmental and Comparative Immunology, Reims, France, July 1985.
(4) Yamada, Yoshio, et al. "School Children's Growth and the Value of Chlorella." Nihon III shimpo, No. 2196, 1988.
(5) Frank, Dr. Benjamin, "Dr. Frank's No-Aging Diet." B of A Communications Co., Baton Rouge, LA (1981).
(6) "Changes induced by Chlorella on the Body Weight and incidence of Colds Among Naval Trainees." Midorf, 1, 1970.
(7) Yamagishi, Yoshio. "The Treatment of Peptic Ulcers by Chlorella." Nihon III Shimpo. No 1997, 1962.
(8) David Wolfe, “Superfoods. The Foods And Medicine Of The Future”. Pg. 234