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Nutritional Spotlight: Chlorella

Yet another superfood has emerged to abet our health and longevity. Chlorella, not to be confused with another green algae superfood spirulina (found in this WelleCo product), features substantial protein and a multitude of amino acids and vitamins to help prevent bone loss, cleanse the digestive tract, promote liver function, and balance pH.

What Is Chlorella?

Chlorella is a freshwater algae, native to Taiwan and Japan, made up of high doses of chlorophyll (quick science refresher: Chlorophyll is the pigment in all green plants responsible for the absorption of light to provide energy for photosynthesis). According to the American Cancer Society, chlorella contains 3 to 5 percent chlorophyll, the highest amount in any microalgae and significantly more than green vegetables — even broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and bell peppers.

The Benefits

Chlorella is a rare plant-based source of vitamin B12 and offers enzymes, minerals, and vitamins. Deserving of the superfood moniker, this powerful antioxidant not only helps cleanse the liver and digestive tract of toxins and reduces cholesterol, but studies have shown it leads to weight loss, reduces inflammation, and possibly reduces the risks of dementia and cancers.

In an effort to restore your body’s pH, chlorella taps into its extreme alkalizing properties to combat our acidic diet — processed foods, animal products, and sodas need all the help they can get — and binds to heavy metals, toxins, and pesticides in our bodies to keep our detoxing organs working correctly. And thanks to two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, chlorella also promotes eye health. It’s also a source of vitamin K2, which prevents osteoporosis.

But it’s the whopping 50 to 60 percent protein content that is incredibly invaluable for aging bodies. Researchers at medical technology company Abbott and The Ohio State University found that one in three adults over 50 don’t get the daily recommended amount of protein. “While eating an adequate amount of protein is not going to prevent age-associated loss of muscle altogether, not eating enough protein can be an exacerbating factor that causes older adults to lose muscle faster,” says Wayne Campbell, a professor of nutrition science at Purdue University.

Need another perk? Chlorella promotes blood flow and circulation, giving you a glowing complexion.

Best Bets

Like many supplements, chlorella is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, so it’s imperative to purchase from a reputable, quality source. It is sold in all forms — tablet, powder, or concentrated liquid — so you can decide how to ingest it. We like the Sun Potion, Sunfood, and Organic Traditions brands. Smoothies and baked goods are often recommended to mask the bitter taste. And we found this chlorella serum for the skin.

While chlorella is considered safe, we recommend consulting your doctor before proceeding with it or any new supplement. Dosage and timing for taking the supplement may depend on your health and/or medications.

Photo: Eskymaks

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