Yep, spirulina is counted as a food :) I particularly like the Lifestream brand because they don't use any fillers or binders in their tablets. All it is, is dried, pressed algae. Over the years, I've collected over 100 studies on spirulina and some scientists believe that the tiny Spirulina plant is close to the perfect food. Along with all the nutrients, vitamins, enzymes, trace elements, phytonutrients and antioxidants you could wish for, it contains pre-formed glycogen - so it's excellent for the fast delivery of sustained energy. It is also provides more iron per 100g than sirloin steak, spinach or chicken livers and contains 18 amino acids including all 8 essential amino acids. Spirulina is my piece of mind, knowing that even if I have a day where I don't eat as well as I'd like, I'm still getting everything my body needs to perform well.
It's like a salad in a glass. Such an easy way to get at least 3 servings of fruit and vegetables in you. I love the way it's so quick. I usually make a big blender full of it, store in the fridge then help myself to it over the next day or so. Green smoothies are really great for delivering lots of good fiber for a happy digestive system while being very easy to digest. They are super nutritious and as you can see, full of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll purifies the blood, prevents tooth decay, aids in proper digestion, helps detoxify the liver, keeps the thyroid gland in balance, cleanses internal organs, enhances capillary function, supports sex hormones, decontaminates inorganic chemicals, and builds up red blood cell counts. If I'm short of time, I'll have a big jar of green smoothie as a meal substitute (a million times better for you than those synthetic meal replacement shakes!). Click on the image for a few of my green smoothie favourites.
Another Lifestream product but trust me, I'm not getting paid for this! Chlorella is another algae I have collected a plethora of studies on. It is most popular in Japan - being their largest selling supplement. Chlorella is a natural microscopic plant containing over 20 vitamins and minerals, 65% protein and is abundant in essential micronutrients and RNA/ DNA nucleic acids. It is nature’s richest source of chlorophyll. As such, it has powerful cleansing and detoxifying properties and makes an excellent blood tonic. I use chlorella as an ongoing detoxifying agent. When I have chlorella in my diet I usually feel less tired and my digestive system is happier. It's basically an internal deodorant. It cleans and flushes out stored waste and pollutants in the body, aids the liver and is another complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids.
The humble apple. It's almost too easy but adding in more apples to my diet makes a big difference in how I feel physically that day. I can't pinpoint why exactly but I think it's a combination of their antioxidant content, good carbohydrate energy, their perfect blend of soluble and insoluble fiber, prebiotics that feed probiotics in the digestive tract and vitamin C boost. There are actually 63 healthy components to an apple! They are an excellent example of a high net-gain food (read more about that here). They take minimal amount of energy to digest and a substantial level of micronutrients is gained, therefore apples are a very efficient form of energy. Apples are one of my favourite snacks between meals.
Apple Cider Vinegar is how I start my day almost every day. It's long been used as a weight loss aid. The acetic acid appears to suppress the appetite, increase metabolism and reduce water retention. I mainly use it as a digestive tonic and it's always good to try and add in more fermented foods and drinks to your diet. If you feel crampy or uneasy in your belly, apple cider vinegar contains pectin, which can help soothe intestinal spasms. If you are prone to indigestion or know you are about to indulge in something that will make you feel sorry later, you can take a sip of apple cider vinegar and it can help stimulate the digestive process. Thankfully I've come to a point where I can swig it straight from the bottle and don't need to mix it with anything. Some days I still screw my face up but generally it's not too bad on it's own. Otherwise, most people mix it with a little bit of lemon juice in a glass of water. I also use it in a lot of salad dressings. Unlike other types of vinegar, apple cider vinegar has an alkalizing affect once consumed.
Grapefruit helps keep my appetite and weight in check. This is because it contains naringenin, a naturally occurring alkaline compound found in all citrus fruit, but most significantly in grapefruit, orange and tomato. For example, in 2006, a scientific study found that by adding half a grapefruit to meals, participants had an average weight loss of 3 1/2 pounds a week without altering their diet in any other way. The researchers believe that the naringenin helped the liver lower cholesterol and also helped regulate insulin levels. Grapefruit also delivers high amounts of vitamin C, cartenoids, potassium, inositol, bioflavonoids and is a brilliant source of fiber. Grapefruit's vitamin C and unique phytochemicals offer potential for acting through several paths to reduce cancer risk. If you are on blood medications, you will probably know grapefruit is contraindicated for you. Ironically, grapefruit is becoming more well known as a fantastic food for the prevention (and even treatment) of heart disease. New research from the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology, has identified molecules specifically occurring naturally in grapefruit may play an important role in the future treatment of heart disease. I usually add 1 grapefruit into my green smoothie every day.