Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.
I’ve been trying very hard to think of my body as a machine, an engine. It needs good fuel, and lots of it. Stuff that is as pure as possible, no additives, so it burns clean and doesn’t leave gunky residue behind to gum up the works and cause breakdown and expensive repairs sometime down the road.
I love a good metaphor.
So I was focusing primarily on getting in my daily requirements of fruits and veg, and as I think I’ve mentioned before, that’s a lot more food than I thought. I’m barely even hungry for anything else. But getting enough protein is also vital for building muscle and losing weight and being generally healthy— complete proteins providing your essential amino acids which do all sorts of important things: aiding muscle and cell repair, helping produce collagen for your joints, boosting immunity, playing a role in producing vital brain chemicals.
This is where I started learning about “superfoods” and super nutrients. Basically, superfoods are foods that pack extra nutrition into every bite, so you can fulfill all your nutritional requirements without eating all dang day. Super nutrients are the same concept but on a micro scale; supplements rather than side dishes.
(I started reading about superfoods from this little ebook on Amazon, Superfoods List: The 11 Best Nutrient Rich Foods For Increased Immunity, Energy and Longevity. It’s just $2.99 if you’re interested in learning more. I also wrote about 12 superfoods you may already be eating here. If you’ve got time to poke around on your own, just put a Google on it!)
One of the superfoods listed in the ebook above was spirulina, one of the most nutritious whole foods in existence. Packed with easily digestible protein and numerous vitamins, all natural and vegetarian, Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica has
- 3100% more beta-carotene than carrots
- 5500% more iron than spinach
- 375% more protein than tofu
- 31x more antioxidants than blueberries
Nutrex Hawaii sent me a bottle of their Spirulina Pacifica to try out, along with their BioAstin Hawaiian Astaxanthin and JointAstin Astaxanthin specially formulated for joint health (also contains Glucosamine, Flaxseed Oil and Boswellia Extract). The Dr. Oz Show apparently lauds Astaxanthin as “the #1 Supplement you’ve never heard of that you should be taking.”
True enough, I had never heard of it, but it’s actually kind of fascinating. Astaxanthin is a carotenoid, which are pigment colors in nature. Specifically, red pigment, and eating large quantities of it is why salmon, crab, shrimp and flamingos are pink (I did know flamingos are born white and become pink from their diet). A logical conclusion is that ingesting it yourself will help your skin to look more flushed, youthful and healthy (a recent small study indicated that adding yellow and red carotenoids to your diet may make you more attractive to others).
Astaxanthin is also nature’s most powerful antioxidant, one of the few able to move throughout the body for all-over protection. (Good post about antioxidants and why they’re important here.) Oxidation prevention means, essentially, cellular protection for less wear and tear on your body, which feeds into “anti-aging” claims: not exactly accurate, as you are still aging, but showing fewer of the physical losses of age.
Less wear and less damage means faster recovery and improved endurance. You know how salmon swim upstream, against the current to spawn? That’s a hugely significant feat of strength and endurance, and their Astaxanthin-heavy diet may be precisely what fuels that.
Are you learning some wicked cool trivia or what?
BioAstin Hawaiian Astaxanthin:
- Supports joint and tendon health
- Supports skin during UV and sun exposure
- Supports eye and brain health
- Improves recovery from exercise
So what ARE spirulina and Astaxanthin, exactly?
They are microalgae that occur naturally in fresh water under certain conditions. Spirulina is blue green algae, and Astaxanthin is green algae.
Why Nutrex Hawaii?
With its envious location on the Kona coast of Hawaii, the farms of Nutrex Hawaii receive more sunlight than any other coastal area in the US for continued growth and superior nutrition. Their microalgae are grown in pure water, naturally filtered through lava rock. The spirulina is grown with 5% deep ocean water, which means it’s naturally enriched with all 94 minerals and trace elements including magnesium and calcium. Nutrex Hawaii is the only microalgae farm in a “BioSecure Zone”— pesticides and GMOs are prohibited.
From an environmental standpoint:
- no generation of land erosion or water pollution
- in fact fresh water is recycled and returned to the pond for the next growing cycle, minimizing water waste and returning essential nutrients
- algae ponds produce oxygen, fighting global warming
- Spirulina is the world’s most productive crop, using the least amount of water per pound of protein produced
- cold seawater is used as clean energy to cool their ponds and air condition their buildings (I’ve never been to Hawaii, but I imagine this means a huge offsetting of energy costs and use)
- everything is recycled: water in the culture ponds to waste algae produced (used by local farmers as fertilizer)
- portion of profits donated to worthy causes
- Nutrex Hawaii has even received an Audubon Society award for saving an endangered species of local Hawaiian birds.
What does it taste like and does it make you feel yucky?
I was a little worried, to be honest. I don’t do well with some supplements, iron and calcium especially. This is microalgae, so I don’t recommend sticking your nose in the bottle unless you’re cool with a whiff of fishy (I grew up in a house where trips to the Asian market were frequent, and bags of dried seaweed or cuttlefish handed out as bribes for being patient; I don’t love the smell but I may tolerate it better than some).
I’ve only been taking it a few days, but I figure my reaction would be most significant in the first few doses anyway. I take them with food (Astaxanthin will be better absorbed with some fat) and I haven’t felt nauseous or crampy (usually I take iron right before bed because it makes me feel so wretched I prefer to sleep through it). I haven’t noticed any aftertastes— no burping it up hours later like you can get with some supplements.
There’s lots more to talk about! For more info on spirulina and Astaxanthin, join us tonight at the #SuperNutrients Twitter chat at 9pm EST. I’m manning the @FitFluential account, and our co-hosts are Nutrex Hawaii @SuperNutrient and expert Dr. Suzy Cohen @suzycohen (America’s Most Trusted Pharmacist and author of Diabetes without Drugs). Three winners will receive SpaFinder gift cards and Nutrex Hawaiian Health Packages!
Disclosure: I work for FitFluential and Nutrex Hawaii is a client, but as always all opinions, verbal meanderings and general geekiness are my own.