Fill Your Cup with Algae

A capsule of blue green algae has become my cup of tea. For the past month, I have started my day in this way. At first it was one capsule followed by my usual green tea, but soon the desire for caffeine slipped away, completely leaving me fumbling for another morning ritual — taking a pill is over in two seconds, while drinking tea can last a good 30 minutes, depending on how you drag it out.

Blue green algae is a superfood, that is, a member of the elite class of consumables that are so good for us they've been elevated to superhero status. Blue green is jammed with so many nutrients that it's been classified as the most nutrient-dense food on the planet. Algae contain glycoproteins, vitamins, minerals, simple carbohydrates, lipids and biologically active enzymes. And the best part is that algae are designed to be quickly and easily metabolized. The plant's soft cell wall allows the body to convert it to fuel without exerting excess energy.

Algae are linked to overall health and vitality — giving the body decidedly more energy (hence my new morning routine) — but it's also prized for its effect on the brain.

"The greatest value of A.F.A. is not only its nutrient concentration, but its effect on the nervous system, specifically the pituitary, pineal, and hypothalamus. People taking A.F.A. have reported an overall increase in mental alertness, mental stamina, short and long term memory, problem solving, creativity, dream recall, a greater sense of well being and centeredness," explains Dr. Gabriel Cousens, author of Conscious Eating.

But even a sun-soaked plant from an expansive lake is not always perfect. Blue green algae are often criticized for their risk of contamination. According to sources like Berkeley Wellness, algae that are harvested from natural lakes may be exposed to toxic substances like microcystins and heavy metals. That said, Health Canada (like the U.S. FDA) has warned consumers to consider contamination risks before taking blue green algae or giving it to children.

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