The green food craze has been around for a while now with the popularity of green juices and smoothies booming and vegetables like kale reaching cult-like status among health aficionados. Juice bars are offering the green powder add-ins as well as grass shots and there is increased awareness of acidic versus alkaline foods.
I will explore the benefits of taking the best super green food ingredients on a daily basis and how they can help heal many different ailments, removing symptoms that perhaps you’d been believing were normal things you had to simple live with. Over a series of articles I will continue to look at the best super green food ingredients, which you may choose to add in individually or look for as being represented in a supplement. In this article- the wonders of algae!
Our Acidic Lifestyle
Our system works within a fine-tuned slightly alkaline pH range. It has an amazing diverse set of strategies, to keep balanced despite the fact that generally in the west, we are continually bombarding our bodies with acidic stressors. These include the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat as well as stress levels and the amount we choose to exercise.
The air in big cities is heavily polluted with substances such as Sulphuric acid which is derived from sulphuric dioxide- a compound released from the burning of fossil fuels. Immediate effects could be irritation of the throat and trouble breathing especially if you have been exercising or have asthma. People exposed to high levels within the work place, such as manufacturing plants, have been found to have higher levels of larynx cancer.
Tap water is generally treated with lime to raise the alkalinity to a neutral or slightly alkaline pH. Bottled water however is often found to be acidic but depends on the brand. You can test your water of choice with simple pH drops or paper test strips. With other drinks, alcohol is acidic forming along with sugar filled soft drinks (probably the most acidic stuff we can consume) and concentrated fruit juices.
Food can be a complex category to understand because certain foods are classed as acidic before consumption but once assimilated they have a alkalising effect, such as lemons. This is because they contain minerals which basically neutralise their inherent acidity. Generally speaking, packaged and processed foods are acidic forming along with dairy, meat and sugar. Whole organic vegetables and fruits are alkalising. When we digest foods to use the energy component they go through a combustion process and what’s left is a residue or ash, much like in a fireplace. This residue can be acidic or alkaline. If acidic then the body needs to neutralise it before it goes to the kidneys as they would become damaged. It does this by extracting alkalising minerals from the stores within the body. The most easily accessible being from the bones. Osteoporosis is caused by this thinning of the bones due to leaching of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. There are of course a whole host of problems that could develop from regular leaching of our vital mineral stores.
Stress effects us all at times and can be a motivator over the short term, but if encountered everyday for elongated periods then this can take its toll on our bodies. The stress hormone cortisol communicates with the liver when you are hungry (or stressed) and causes it to fill up the gall bladder with bile ready for digestion. if you get too stressed out, you will be making excess bile and the system can get overloaded. This will cause excess bile to dump into your small intestine and start refluxing back towards your stomach. This will cause heat or burning across your lower ribcage, as bile moves backwards through your small intestine and into your stomach.
Too much strenuous exercise can be a factor in an imbalanced pH. Usually, the body uses oxygen to produce energy in the body. However, when you push yourself hard during a workout, your body requires energy faster than your body can produce it using aerobic methods. When this happens, your body uses anaerobic methods to produce energy. Lactic acid – or lactate – is a by-product of these anaerobic energy production methods. Although lactic acid drains out of the body in the hours after a workout, the burn you feel during an intense workout can be micro tears in the muscles which can take days to heal.
Symptoms of poor pH balance or mild acidosis
- Inflamed sensitive gums, cavities
- Immune deficiency
- Sciatica, lumbago, stiff neck
- Respiratory problems, shortness of breath, coughing
- Yeast fungal overgrowth
- Low energy and chronic fatigue
- Cardiovascular damage, including the constriction of blood vessels and reduction in oxygen
- Heart problems, arrhythmias, increased heart rate
- Weight gain, obesity, and diabetes
- Bladder and kidney infections
- Accelerated free radical damage
- Premature ageing
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea
- Osteoporosis, weak, brittle bones, hip fractures, bone spurs
- Headaches, confusion, sleepiness
- Joint pain, aching muscles, and lactic acid buildup
- Allergies, Acne
So, do you want to potentially reverse any of the symptoms above? If acidosis is indeed the cause, then adding in the best super green food is a good place to start. Obviously, lifestyle is holistic and any number of factors can combine and create undesirable symptoms. A deficiency in one mineral can create a domino effect with internal processes malfunctioning and below optimal conditions in one area affecting the vitality of the whole. That’s why it’s so important to supply a wide range of different minerals and vitamins as many actually work in synergy with each other.
In this article I’m going to explore the benefits of the best superfood algae for alkalizing and detoxing the body from acidic wastes.
A multi-celled blue-green cyanobacteria which grows in brackish bodies of water. Known to many as one of the most nutrient dense foods in the world gram for gram. Although many benefits are lauded including its easily assimilated high protein composition I will focus on its mineral composition and direct benefits for the symptoms of acidosis
- The calcium levels within spirilina are 26 times higher then with milk, which is one of the main alkalizing minerals to combat brittle bones and osteoporosis.
- Vitamin B1 (Thamine) This is needed for digestion of fats and protein, proper digestion= less acidic waste. It also helps with energy levels and neurological functioning.
- Spirilina helps stabilize blood sugar levels and has even been shown to be an effective treatment of diabetes by decreasing systemic inflammation (Insulin resistence has been found to be associated with persistent low-grade inflammation from a heavy toxic load) and improving vasodilation.
- Phycocyanin is the antioxidant in spirilina that protects against free-radical damage, which are introduced through the environmental acidic stressors mentioned above. Much testing has been done of late with phycocyanin as a powerful protector against strokes and for lessening the after effects and degenerative brain disease such as Antioxidant level is measured with the ORAC score which for spirilina has been measured at 24,000- 4 times that of blueberries.
- Spirilina increases fat burning during exercise while the high level of antioxidants protect against exercise induced oxidation through lactic acid buildup.
- High levels of GLA (Gamma-linolenic acid) are found in spirilina which is very unusual in other foods and is an precursor to important bio-chemicals responsible for immune and inflammatory responses.
A single celled green algae that grows in fresh water which has a very tough cell wall which has to be cracked before it can be digested by the body, for this reason it’s very important to get your chlorella from a reputable source.
- Chlorophyll- Chlorella is extremely high in chlorophyll, double that of spirilina. It’s a powerful blood builder and cleanser; due to the presence of the pyrol ring, which is identical to the pyrol ring found in haemoglobin. Chlorophyll helps fight leukaemia as well as certain forms of skin and liver cancer.
- Evidence suggests that insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity become properly balanced with help from this mineral for controlling blood sugar level.
- Magnesium- A powerful alkalising mineral which helps activate vitamin D stores within the body as well as metabolizing calcium, it is therefore just as important for bone strength.
- Magnesium is also beneficial for Gastric Disturbances (heartburn and flatulence) as it neutralises the stomach acid converting it to magnesium chloride. With less acid available less gas is produced, resulting in alleviation of the symptoms.
- Magnesium can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol as it is a vasodilator which means arteries relax and widen reducing the pressure. The main reason why cholesterol is a problem is when it sticks to artery walls. This happens only when there are damaged, rough spots on the artery walls from calcified deposits trundling through. So while we work on removing the cause of these acidic deposits and start promoting healing, relaxing the arteries is an important element.
AFA blue-green algae
Aphanizomenon flos-aquae is a extremely soft-celled wall blue-green algae which grows wild in Klamath lake in Oregon. As a wild plant it is amazingly nutrient dense and a little goes a long way.
- High levels of DHA which is a critical essential fatty acid used in the production and maintenance of healthy eye, brain and nervous system tissue as well as sperm and cardiovascular “slipperiness”. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA make our cardiovascular system too slippery for calcified deposits (microscopic barnacles) to attach and begin to calcify the arteries causing arteriosclerosis.
- Pycocyanin levels are twice that of spirilina. As well as amazing free radical fighting clout it is shown to inhibit certain enzymes associated with the production of inflammatory compounds, therefore reducing swelling and pain in joints.
- Strengthening of the immune system. Stem cells are found throughout the body, they divide to replenish dying cells and to repair tissue. As we age the regenerative qualities of stem cells decrease which contributes to the ageing process. The Department of Neurosurgery at USF investigated the effects of blue-green algae extracts on human stem cells in cultures. The preliminary findings show that an ethanol extract of Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA) may help to promote human stem cell proliferation. An acidic diet is far more harmful when we age and our ability to heal is slower.
- AFA Blue green Algae is naturally high in mood enhancing Phenylethylamine (PEA), which also helps, improve mental clarity. When we feel great, generally we are feeling more optimistic and inlivened and far less likely to dive into our favourite acid forming comfort foods!!
So trying to keep this run down simple and to the point the bottom line is algae is fab (although spirilina is technically not an algae hehe) and I believe most could benefit from taking all 3 of these superfoods everyday. The exception might be those already taking blood-thinning medication or immunosuppressants.
It’s important to source from reputable sources that test each batch of algae as they can be contaminated with bacteria, pollution or heavy metals, so no bulk ebay purchases please!
If you don’t like the strong green taste of the powers you can also buy capsules but I find that mixed in with juices or smoothies all are very agreeable and because I have reprogrammed my taste buds so much of late, bitter greens are pretty sweet to me now and I love the earthy, vibrant green tastes of these even just in water. It doesn’t take long to reprogram and cleanse your taste buds, the best and easiest way of doing it is through some kind of fast- you can read about the 3 day supported superfood fast here
I now use 2 products regularly where algae is concerned-
Miessence Deep Green contains all 3 algae within it’s alkalising blend formula (the other ingredients I will touch on in a further article).
Because I’m a vegan I like to take extra Spirilina for the protein and iron. I favour Nutrex Hawaiian Spirilina for it’s high quality and credentials and in the UK have used Naturya’s Spirilina powder which is also available in Holland and Barrett.
Stay tuned for the next part of this series focusing on alkalising and the best super green food supplements to add in and supercharge your system, sign up to my email list to receive updates on new articles. If you missed the first part of my alkalising exploration check it out here The health of the Alkaline versus the Acidic body.
Many blessings on your path to an alkaline life!