It sounds fantastical, but spirulina is a blue-green algae believed to have been produced by the oxygen in our atmosphere billions of years ago, and which enabled other lifeforms to exist. Consumed by the ancient Aztecs, today it is loved by athletes and fitness fans thanks to its energy-giving and muscle-strengthening properties. NASA has even suggested that spirulina might be grown in space for use by astronauts. UNESCO and the World Health Organisation have both described it as the best and most complete meal of tomorrow. So what is it that makes spirulina so close to nutritional perfection?

Under The Sea

Arguably, the most nutritious food on the planet, spirulina is incredibly high in protein – offering more nutritional value than chicken, beef and soybeans – and a good source of vitamins A, B, C, D, E and Omega-3, 6 and 9, which help reduce bad cholesterol.

Spirulina is also super high in chlorophyll which helps to boost our immune system and remove toxins from our body. This wonder ingredient is packed with potassium, copper, magnesium and zinc and has more than 26 times the calcium found in milk. Spirulina has even been reported to help increase our fat-burning ability during exercise.

The algae is a fantastic vegan source of iron, providing 2mg per tablespoon, around 20 per cent of the RDA for adults. One thing to watch out for is that spirulina contains salt, around 73mg per tablespoon, so if you have high blood pressure, check with your GP before adding it to your diet. Pregnant and breast-feeding women should also seek advice.

Spirulina naturally grows in fresh and salt water and is ordinarily sold as a green powder, but it’s important to ensure that the product you choose is high quality and comes from a sustainable, traceable source.

While there have been reports of bogus products on the market that are contaminated with toxins from bacteria, Juice Master’s Organic Spirulina is carefully dried in controlled temperatures to preserve its nutrients, has no fillers, preservatives, artificial flavours or sweeteners and is approved by The Vegan Society.

As spirulina is high in protein, it is recommended that you introduce the ingredient to your diet gradually, starting with half a teaspoon per day and increasing to two heaped teaspoons of the powder, added to a juice or water.

In fact, adding spirulina powder to your juice or blend is a fantastic way to soften its distinctive flavour, which some find overwhelming by itself. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Millie Mackintosh have spoken of their love for spirulina-spiked green juices, with Sarah Jessica Parker and Natasha Hamilton singling out Juice Master Jason Vale’s green-juice recipes.

Spirulina can even be successfully added to raw chocolate brownies and truffle-style energy balls.

While some people report an immediate boost to their energy levels after adding spirulina to their diet, it can take a couple of weeks to feel the full effects of this nutrient-dense food. A little goes a long way, so start small and give this magical ingredient a go.

Juice Master’s Green Super Smoothie

Rich in chlorophyll, essential amino acids and fats, vitamins, minerals and natural sugars, this is the daddy of green smoothies!

  • 2 – Golden Delicious Apples
  • 1 handful – Spinach
  • 1 handful – Kale
  • 1/2 unwaxed – Lime
  • 1 stick – Celery
  • 1/2 – Cucumber
  • 5cm – Broccoli Stem
  • 1/2 – Avocado
  • 1tsp – Spirulina
  • 1oz (shot) – Wheatgrass
  • 1 handfull – Ice Cubes

1. Juice the apples, spinach, kale, lime, celery, cucumber and broccoli. Make sure you pack the leafy vegetables tightly into the chute of the juicer between the apples before you start to get the maximum juice.

2. Pour the fresh juice into the blender with the avocado, spirulina, wheatgrass and ice. Blend until very green and very smooth.