Have you had a mermaid bowl yet? They are delicious! My kids love them. They are a great morning treat or a great alternative to ice cream. Mermaid bowls get their name from their beautiful blue color. That blue hue is thanks to a powerful superfood called spirulina.
Blue healthy foods make a big difference in our immune system, and spirulina is packed with a mind-blowing number of beneficial things for your body.
What is Spirulina, and Why Should Kids Be Eating It?
Spirulina is classified as a cyanobacteria, which is a fancy name for single-celled microbes that are also known as blue algae. Spirulina can be found naturally in both fresh and saltwater. It’s also commercially grown, which helps ensure fewer contaminants.
Spirulina isn’t a plant, but like plants, it uses photosynthesis from the sun to generate energy. The ancient Aztecs used spirulina as a primary food source. NASA identifies it as a superfood and provides it to astronauts as a dietary supplement when they are in space.
We know that eating a rainbow of colorful foods is essential for our health. Choosing foods with vibrant colors helps make sure kids get a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from whole foods. That’s why we feed our kids green leafy spinach, red grapes, oranges, and blueberries. Spirulina is one of the best blue foods for kids and packs a ton of benefits into every serving.
Spirulina is Loaded with Vitamins & Minerals
One daily dose of spirulina, about 1-3 grams and up to 10 grams in some cases, offers an incredible number of benefits. First, spirulina is a complete protein equal to that of eggs. Spirulina is 65% to 71% protein which is the highest concentration found in any food. Additionally, spirulina is packed with:
- B Vitamins (More than found in red meat)
- Vitamin K
- Iron (more iron than spinach)
- Beta carotene (10x more than found in carrots)
Spirulina is a Blue Healthy Food That Helps Prevent Illness
The health benefits of spirulina don’t stop there. Spirulina is also an antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial food. That means this healthy blue food helps:
- Prevent illnesses
- Boost immunity
- Lower blood pressure and blood sugar
- Fight bad cholesterol
- Promote heart health
- Prevent cancer
While spirulina aids in combating the “bad” LDL cholesterol in our bodies, it also raises the “good” HDL cholesterol. Too much fat in our bodies can lead to oxidative damage, which triggers severe diseases, including cancer. Heart disease occurs when LDL cholesterol is oxidized. Spirulina reduces the oxidation of that fat and cholesterol and fights the free radicals in our bodies.
Spirulina Reduces Inflammation
Not all inflammation is harmful. Sometimes we need inflammation to help our bodies heal. In fact, it is an essential part of healing wounds. When your body is fighting certain illnesses, swelling and inflammation can be expected but isn’t healthy if chronic.
Sometimes our bodies mistake healthy cells for invaders, and they use inflammation to fight the healthy tissues. Under the circumstances like these, that auto-immune disorders like Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis occur.
Even in otherwise healthy people, our highly processed diet and stressful lifestyles in the West have caused a massive spike of inflammation in our bodies. Spirulina is a delicious, nutritious way to mitigate unhealthy inflammation.
The anti-inflammatory properties in Spirulina can boost immunity and help reduce inflammation in the body. If you or your child suffer from an auto-immune disease, it’s essential to consult your treating physician to make sure it’s an approved addition to your diet without any adverse side effects.
Get Creative Using Spirulina Every Day
Spirulina comes in capsules, tablets, and powdered forms. It does have a unique taste, so it’s best to mix it with other fruits and veggies for kids. Although the powder can be combined with water or juice for immediate and easy consumption, most kids prefer it incorporated into something tasty during a meal.
We buy our spirulina from Perfect Supplements because it is really high quality, organic, and fair trade. When you buy yours HERE and use coupon code REALFOODRN you will get 10% off your order! If you buy three or more at once you get an even deeper discount!
You can easily entice your kids to eat spirulina because they love the unique blue tinge that foods take on it’s when it’s added. Smoothies are a go-to in our house, and you can bet we add spirulina to boost the nutritional value. Here are some other fun dishes you can create that include spirulina plus other healthy foods.
Mermaid bowls – Mermaid bowls have become a popular treat, especially for kids. They are a sweet indulgence or a perfect way to start the day. Mermaid smoothie bowls are a thicker, more decadent alternative to drinkable smoothies. Made with frozen bananas, they have an ice-cream-like base. Add your favorite fruits, veggies, and of course, spirulina for the signature mermaid coloring. You can top off your bowls with granola, shredded coconut, chopped nuts, or other family favorites. I love to create smoothie bowl breakfast bars where my kids choose their favorite toppings and create their own healthy breakfast concoctions.
Spirulina pesto – Pesto sauce is a healthy way to add flavor to meats, pasta, eggs and is excellent as a dipping sauce for bread or vegetables. Traditional pesto is a mixture of crushed pine nuts, olive oil, basil, and garlic. While that combination is impressive, you can easily switch things up to use a variety of ingredients. Try leaving out the nuts altogether or substitute basil for other healthy leafy greens like arugula. Add spirulina to pesto sauce to give it a nutritional kick and splash of color on your kids’ plates.
Spirulina hummus – Hummus tends to be a kid-approved dip and spread in my house. My kids enjoy the great taste and versatility since hummus goes with so many things. From dipping veggies to a perfect replacement for high-fat mayo on wraps and sandwiches, hummus can do it all. Adding spirulina to hummus turns it into a colorful and flavorful spread that brightens the dish in a whole new way.
Spirulina protein bites – Protein balls or bites, as we call them, are fun to get a sweet treat without processed salt, unhealthy fat, and sugar. Every kiddo wants something sweet now and then, and these bites do the trick; plus, the fun color makes them unique. Mix crushed nuts, dates, nut butter, and add spirulina. You can also add cocoa powder if your kids love chocolate.
The health benefits of spirulina are vital for every age. Spirulina adds pure nutrition to everyday meals you are already making at home. Making mermaid bowls is easy and a great way to include your kids in creating healthy dishes they love. Have fun adding spirulina, and watch your kids get excited over the unique mermaid color. I personally get spirulina into my diet by taking it in capsule form daily.