To us humans, algae is something we think of as weird textured, green goop that forms in the bottom of a pond. In reality, it is so much more than that. Algae is a group of microorganisms that use carbon dioxide, sunlight and the minerals in water in order to sustain their life. Algae can form at notoriously fast rates and are a vital part of the ecosystems it survives in.
All over the world, different species of algae are considered to be “superfoods”, foods that are nutrient-rich and extremely beneficial for one’s health. There are many different types of algae available to buy, whether it be as food or supplements. For someone who hasn’t tried it before, consuming algae may seem intimidating thanks to it’s intense, green color.
Spirulina and chlorella are the two of the most common and popular green “superfoods”. What is the difference between the two and how can we benefit from the consumption of each of these algae? Is one better than the other? Let’s look further into this.
What is Spirulina?
Spirulina is related to kelp, wakame, nori as well as other robust sea veggies. It has a blue-green hue. This is because spirulina is actually a cyanobacteria, rather than a true algae. However, just like algae, it uses the sun as a source of energy since it is a plant. The spirulina species is native to Mexico and Africa, and it grows in freshwater lakes, especially those that are alkaline. It’s most popularly consumed in Japan, but it is growing in popularity in other places worldwide.
Benefits of Spirulina
- One of the best things about spirulina is how easily it can be broken down and digested by humans. It’s cell wall is made of something called mucopolyasccharides, which are extremely easy for the human body to handle. The nutrients spirulina has are quickly absorbed and utilized in the body quite soon after consumption.
- Being both protein and B12-rich, Spirulina is considered to be 70% full protein. Spirulina is the perfect supplement for those who eat a limited amount or no meat in their diet. It would also be very beneficial if the quality of meat you have access to is not the best. The amino acids Spirulina provides are readily available for the body to use and the proteins are used very efficiently.
- Spirulina contains omega-6 fatty acids that are called Fatty Gamma Linolenic Acid. This essential fat is vital for effective brain functioning as well as to regular one’s metabolism. The Spirulina cyanobacteria are potent with this fatty acid and it is easily absorbed.
- The beautiful blue hue that Spirulina has is due to the pigment phytochemical. This is very useful for the health of your heart, brain, immune system, muscles as well as bone marrow function. Mammals convert phycocyanin to phycocyanrubin, which is a powerful antioxidant that works against free radicals.
What is Chlorella?
Being a single cell green algae, Chlorella is also originated from fresh waters. The biology of the Chlorella organisms are mainly made of chlorophyll pigmentation. Chlorella is capable of quick reproduction, expanding over 4 times over the course of 12 hours. It is very sustainable and is a rich in nutrients and protein. Technically the cell walls of Chlorella algae are not easily digested by the human digestive system. However, it can be broken down in order to be bio available for humans. Just like Spirulina, Chlorella has a lot of health benefits to offer.
Benefits of Chlorella
- Chlorella has chlorophyll pigmentation, which is a powerful detox cleanser for the human body. It helps when it comes to processing oxygen as well as promotes the repair and growth of your tissues.
- It has been studied that Chlorella binds to heavy metals like mercury, uranium as well as radioactive materials. This helps to filter these harmful metals out of the human body and it also strengthens immune systems. It was common to see Chlorella used in high pollution and mining areas as well as places with impure drinking water.
- Nucleic acids are important for the protection of RNA and DNA cells and this helps raise the levels of energy.
- As a powerful antioxidant, Beta Carotene helps reduce free radical effects and helps the reproductive system, eyes and skin organ function properly and stay healthy.
- Because Chlorella promotes the growth of aerobic bacteria, your bowel health will improve when you consume it. Not only that, but with it’s cell walls, it absorbs any toxic compounds present in your intestines. This helps restore the normal gastrointestinal pH balance.
Which one is Better?
When it comes to choosing which one is better, it is clear that both of these algae species have many of their own different and unique benefits to offer the human body. Both Spirulina and Chlorella are considered to be superfoods and are worthy of being supplements in one’s diet. With each algae providing it’s different qualities, it is suggested that one takes both of these algae supplements together for the best health benefits possible.
The composition of Spirulina gives it higher levels of protein, iron, potassium, calcium, a variety of B-vitamins as well as beta-carotene when compared to Chlorella. On the other hand, Chlorella provides us with higher levels of chlorophyll which is useful for bodily functions such as healing wounds, hormonal production and balance, healthy digestion, detoxification as well as deodorizing.
It’s easy to implement these superfoods into your diet with the user of green blends and single capsule supplements. Because algae is becoming such a popular demand in the supplemental market, it’s important to make sure the source of your algae is organic and pure. All too often algae and other plants are raised and harvested in poor conditions and are contaminated.
With the simple utilization of Spirulina and Chlorella, or even just one of these, you will surely reap the health benefits in the simplest ways possible. Not only is this the path to a long life of health, but your happiness as well.