It seems like every year there’s a new superfood. Superfood is more of a marketing term than anything else.
Consider açaí,which rose to prominence a few years ago. Açaí is amazing stuff and I throw it a packet or two into my superfood smoothies. Açaí has a high ORAC score. (ORAC standards for oxygen radical absorbance capacity; a high score means the food binds to a greater number of free radicals.)
But does açaí offer any health benefits that blueberries don’t offer? Not really. Dollar-for-dollar, you’re better off using blueberries. Açaí is just another healthy food to eat rather than anything magical.
So you have to be careful when you see something called a superfood. Hide your wallet and all that.
But there are some foods that seem to offer health benefits not readily available from other sources.
Sea algae is one of those foods. Seal algae binds to mercury and aids in detoxification. It also offers several other health benefits. I’ve started taking shots of E3 live, which has a ton of science behind it but is really expensive.
Chlorella is much more affordable and is also a legitimate superfood. You can go on PubMed and poke around. Here are a few proven benefits of chlorella:
- Beneficial immunostimulatory effect of short-term Chlorella supplementation: enhancement of Natural Killer cell activity and early inflammatory response (Randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial). Conclusion: These results may suggest a beneficial immunostimulatory effect of short-term Chlorella supplementation which enhances the NK cell activity and produces interferon-gamma and interleukin-12 as well as interleukin-1beta, the Th-1 cell-induced cytokines in healthy people
- Six-week supplementation with Chlorella has favorable impact on antioxidant status in Korean male smokers. Chlorella supplementation resulted in the conservation of plasma antioxidant nutrient status and improvement in erythrocyte antioxidant enzyme activities in subjects. Therefore, our results are supportive of an antioxidant role for Chlorella and indicate that Chlorella is an important whole-food supplement that should be included as a key component of a healthy diet.
- Chlorella vulgaris modulates hydrogen peroxide-induced DNA damage and telomere shortening of human fibroblasts derived from different aged individuals. Therefore, we concluded that Chlorella vulgaris exhibited bioprotective effects especially in cells obtained from young donor but were more bioremediative for cells obtained from old donor as indicated by DNA damage, telomere shortening and reduction in telomerase activity.
- Therapeutic potentials of unicellular green alga Chlorella in advanced glycation end product (AGE)-related disorders.
Unlike E3 live, chlorella is inexpensive. I throw a tablespoon into my Superfood Smoothies and enjoy the taste. But chlorella is very “green.” If you’re not into juicing vegetables, it might be a bit much.
Fortunately there are chlorella pills, which are what most of the studies used.
It’s pretty rare that a superfood meets the hype. Chlorella seems like a rare example.