Spirulina vs Chlorella: Health Benefits + Recipes

Key differences in functional algae species Spirulina and Chlorella and how to incorporate them in recipes

When it comes to superfoods, Spirulina and Chlorella often make top lists. Both are aquatic species (algae) that grow in mineral rich lakes as well as fresh water sources. Although from the same classification, spirulina and chlorella have distinct nutrient profiles that make them BOTH great foods to incorporate in a well-rounded diet. 

Yes! You can eat them. Do they taste like moldy seawater? No, not exactly. I find the flavor of both spirulina and chlorella to be more of an earthy, root-like taste. >> Skip ahead to some favorite recipes!

Spirulina va chlorella algae and how to consume
Functional Algae: Spirulina & Chlorella

First up, what is spirulina? 

Spirulina is a cyanobacteria that thrives in warm weather. It was very popular with the Aztec when it was harvested from Mexico’s Lake Texcoco. Today, it’s being studied for use in outer space! 

Spirulina is rich in manganese, B-vitamins, zinc, protein, and iron. It’s also a source of anti-inflammatory Gammalinoleic Acid (GLA) one of the good Omega-6 fatty acids. Beyond providing these key nutrients, Spirulina can support gut and immune health, and decrease inflammation.  

It’s thought that spirulina may support a healthy microbiome by encouraging ‘good’ bacteria to grow. The high antioxidant content can lower oxidative stress and inflammation. Further, some studies show that supplementation with spirulina can decrease allergy symptoms like itchy eyes, sneezing, and runny nose. 

How to Consume Spirulina

Spirulina can be taken in a powdered supplement or in tablets. The vibrant green color and earthy flavor mixes well into smoothies, yogurt, and even savory dishes like risotto. WellMade Organic Spirulina is a gluten-free, vegan, paleo, raw, soy-free, option ethically sourced from Inner Mongolia. 

If a powder isn’t for you, Spirulina tablets have concentrated sources of amino acids, chlorophyll, essential fatty acids, and vitamins A, E, and B12. For vegetarians and omnivores alike, this can be a beneficial supplement due to the bioavailability (re: ability for your body to use and absorb) of these nutrients.  As Americans, we often don’t consume much chlorophyll; making this a ‘fill-in-the-gaps’ addition to a healthy diet. 

So, What about chlorella?

Chlorella is a bright green, single-cell algae known for its protein content, amino acids, and Vitamin B12. What makes chlorella special is the broken cell wall (post-fermentation) that makes these nutrients readily absorbable. Chlorella is an excellent addition for vegetarians and vegans, as it contains 50% protein by weight. 

Perhaps best known for its detoxification properties, chlorella has also been shown to lower total LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in individuals with high blood pressure. It has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM); and is most widely produced in East Asian countries. 

How to Consume Chlorella

Similar to spirulina, Chlorella can be consumed as a powder or in tabletsThrive Market Organic Chlorella Powder is organic, dairy-free, gluten-free, and ethically-sourced from South Korea. It has a milder flavor than spirulina, making it almost undetectable in soups, pastas, and even desserts! 

Where to Purchase Spirulina and Chlorella:

When it comes to supplements and superfoods, I trust Thrive Market for their purity standards, transparency, and best-of-all great prices. You can find Spirulina and Chlorella in both powdered form or tablets at this online marketplace. NEW Thrive Market members can save 25% on their first order

The best recipes featuring Spirulina and Chlorella:

Incorporating Spirulina and Chlorella into your diet can be as easy as adding the powder to your favorite recipes for a functional boost. If you need some new inspiration, check out the recipes below ranging from savory to sweet for a new twist on GREEN eating! 

Matcha Chlorella Recipe

Iced Matcha + Chlorella Superfood Latte

by Merce Muse via Thrive Market

Recipe for Spirulina and Chlorella

Green Spirulina Dressing

by Feasting at Home

TLDR; Spirulina vs Chlorella

Although very similar, Spirulina and Chlorella each offer their own profile of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants. If you’re consuming them for general wellness, there is likely not one-better-than-the-other. Instead, I recommend trying them and choosing based on preference. It’s also a good practice to vary your supplements! 

Do YOU prefer one over the other? I’d love to know! 

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