Feeling Blah? Reach For This One Superfood, Says An Energy Specialist
The term superfood has become so popular, you might wonder what makes a food "super" in the first place? Admittedly, when it comes to whole, nutrient-dense foods, they're all a little "super" in their own way. Some are exceptionally high in vitamins and minerals, while others are plant-based protein powerhouses. And many tick both of those boxes!
You can also categorize these foods based on a specific nutrition goal you have in mind. Take, for example, superfoods for energy balance: We spoke with Ari Whitten, energy specialist and author of Eat for Energy, on a recent episode of the mindbodygreen podcast to find out exactly what foods fall into this group. While he gave us seven different foods that fuel energy levels, he declared his all-time favorite with zero hesitation: spirulina.
Why spirulina is a top pick food for sustaining energy levels.
You may have seen spirulina in powder form or blended up into smoothies (especially those with a gorgeous dark green or bright blue hue). This sea vegetable comes from a type of bacteria called cyanobacterium, which is often referred to as blue-green algae. According to Whitten, "Spirulina is No. 1 on the list," when naming the best foods for your energy levels.
Not to mention, there's been significant research2 on spirulina's role in performance, specifically physical activity and energy levels. This makes sense, given that spirulina also contains significant amounts of magnesium3 (which supports muscle and nerve function) and potassium (which aids in muscle contraction).*
Spirulina is also an incredible source of plant-based protein—it's between 55 and 70% protein, in fact. This algae is a particularly great addition to a vegan diet because it's high in vitamin B12, which tends to be harder to find in vegan dishes. A lack of B12 can result in a dip in energy levels4, so it's essential for everyone to get their fill.*
Now, spirulina is certainly powerful but has an equally strong flavor. It's great to add to smoothies, but pure spirulina powder can be difficult to incorporate into other meals because of the potent flavor. That's why we included it in our organic veggies+ powder, mixed in with other powerful greens, roots, and pre- and probiotics to leave a more gentle taste. You can sprinkle this powder over just about anything—roasted vegetables, salads, pasta dishes, or even mix it into desserts to add some invisible nutrients.
Superfoods are all "super" for different reasons. Spirulina earns a spot in this lineup, thanks to its ability to provide plant-based protein, offer tons of vitamins and minerals, and support energy levels.* Trust the benefits don't stop there: Here, you can read about even more benefits of spirulina, if you're so inclined.
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty & Health Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including skin care, women’s health, mental health, sustainability, social media trends, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends and innovations, women’s health research, brain health news, and plenty more.