Anticancer Foods: Chlorella and Spirulina Uses & Benefits

Spirulina powder on a wooden background

What does the creation of life, the ancient Aztecs, and good health have in common? If you answered spirulina and chlorella then you are right.  These powerful blue-green algae are related to all three. Spirulina and chlorella are not the same things but they are very similar to one another.

What Is Chlorella and Spirulina?

There are many reasons why you are here on earth and Spirulina is one of them. Spirulina is the oldest life form that produced oxygen for the first organisms that evolved on the earth. Spirulina and chlorella both are a type of blue-green algae. Spirulina grows in salty water but it best grows in freshwater whereas chlorella grows in freshwater.

How Is Chlorella and Spirulina Used?

Spirulina is used as a food source in Mexico and Africa since 1300 A.D. Ancient Aztecs also harvested Spirulina. But chlorella is discovered much more recently. It was only after the discovery of the microscope in the 19th century that chlorella was discovered. The harvesting process of Spirulina is much easier than chlorella because chlorella contains cell walls that limit its harvesting method.

Spirulina is grown in large ponds then passed through filters and dried and finally pressed in the form of tablets or it can also be sold as a powder. On the other hand, the cell wall of chlorella needs to be removed or cracked for its supplemental use. For this reason, chlorella has not gained as much popularity as spirulina thus far.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Chlorella and Spirulina?

Spirulina and chlorella are both nutrient-dense foods that contain vitamins A, B, C, and E. They also contain minerals such as calcium.  Selenium, magnesium, and zinc. Due to the presence of these nutrients, they offer are many health benefits.

Omega 3 fatty acids:

Both chlorella and spirulina are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and the 6 fatty acids these fatty acids are a special type of unsaturated fats that are important for the proper growth of cell and brain function. Your body cannot produce these polyunsaturated fats so you have to obtain them in your diet. Omega 3 fatty acids are particularly important because they are associated with many health benefits including improved bone health, low risk of heart disease, and reduced risk of several cancers – primarily due to anti-inflammatory properties.


Both chlorella and spirulina are also rich in antioxidant compounds that protect your body against damaging reactive oxygen species. In a study conducted on smokers, it was found that smokers who consumed chlorella and Spirulina for 6 weeks had increased levels of Vitamin C and Vitamin E as compared to the control group. The chlorella also significantly decreases DNA damage.

High protein content:

Aztecs used spirulina as an important food source. Because of its rich protein content spirulina has been used as food by astronauts as well. Both chlorella and spirulina contain all the essential amino acids that our body requires. Currently, chlorella is being investigated as nutrient-rich food for longer space missions in the future.

What Makes Chlorella and Spirulina An Anti-cancer Food?

Nutrients that strengthen our immune system and have antioxidant properties also tend to reduce the risk of cancers. Cancer is caused due to DNA damage. Reactive oxygen species play an important role in damaging the DNA of cells. Antioxidants are compounds that fight these reactive oxygen species, ultimately reducing the risk of cancer.

As spirulina and chlorella, both are rich in antioxidants, therefore, they also may play an important role in preventing cancer. Spirulina is good at producing antibodies and also inhibits the growth of existing tumor cells.

This is especially important in the case of breast cancer where spirulina can reduce the growth of malignant breast tissues. Due to these properties, it is important to add these two to the list of your anticancer foods.


Health Benefits:


Cancer Prevention:


Chef Shedric

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