Spirulina is one of nature's own superfoods, comprising two species of cyanobacterium (or blue-green algae) called collectively Arthrospira, growing in alkaline lakes in tropical and subtropical regions. Spirulina has found recent popularity both as a dietary supplement in powder, flakes and tablets, or directly as a whole food, and is now cultivated commercially in many parts of the world.
Traditionally, from Africa to the Aztecs, spirulina was collected, dried and eaten, sometimes in the form of cakes, crumbled into stews and sauces, or even applied topically to the skin as a poultice. It is one of the natural plant proteins that contain all nine of the essential amino acids, and the content of high quality protein (59-65%) is more than in other sources such as soya beans or peanuts. In addition, the lack of cellulose in its cell walls makes it very easily digestible.
Spirulina is very rich in vitamins, with several members of the B complex, as well as vitamins C, D, K, the powerful antioxidant vitamin E, and the vitamin A carotenoids which are beneficial for eye health. It is a rich source of potassium and contains many minerals including selenium, magnesium, copper, manganese, zinc and iron.