Chlorella is a single-celled fresh water green algae and is often referred to as a “super-food” due to its high phyto-nutrient content.
When properly prepared, it packs a very large amount of nourishment into a small package. But the benefits are not just limited to nutrition.
Clinical studies have also shown Chlorella to have positive effects on many diseases and health problems.
Chlorella was envisioned as a large-scale miracle food source after the Second World War due to its efficiency in converting sunlight into edible plant energy.
Fears of a global population boom and resulting famines prompted governments and scientists to search for potential solutions.
Though plans to develop chlorella as a large-scale food crop were subsequently judged impractical, its popularity as a nutritional supplement, super-food and medicinal product has grown.
Nutritional benefits of chlorella include high protein, essential amino acid and chlorophyll content as well as the presence of several important vitamins and minerals.
Vitamins present in chlorella in significant amounts include the B-complex vitamins niacin (B3), biotin (B7) and choline, with lower levels of B6, pantothenic acid, folic acid, thiamine and riboflavin.
Chlorella also contains high levels of vitamins A, C, E as well as potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and beta-carotene. When dried, chlorella is around 50% protein, but depending on how it is grown, harvested and processed, can have a protein content ranging from 7-88%. It is also a good source of dietary fiber.
Though chlorella is a very nutrient-dense food source, its naturally tough cellulose cell walls must be broken in order for those nutrients to be digested.
There are several methods used to break down the algae’s cell walls, including heat and chemical processes as well as mechanically pulverizing the chlorella, believed by many to be the best way to facilitate its digestion.
Studies have shown that chlorella is useful in the prevention of cancer and reducing the side effects of radiation therapy. Further research suggests that it helps dioxin detoxification (poisoning by environmental pollutants) reduces high blood pressure, lowers cholesterol levels and assists in the healing of wounds.
Chlorella is also believed to stimulate the immune system, increase the white blood cell count in AIDS patients and help weight loss.