The Worlds Most Nutritious Plants: Spirulina, Moringa, and Chlorella

Written by: Pard Bharaj

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Time to read 14 min

"You can trace every sickness, every disease and every ailment to a mineral deficiency" Dr. Linus Pauling

Introduction To The Worlds Most Nutritious Plants!


There are some plants that are so nutrient dense they can provide us with all of our vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other essential nutrients for good health, thereby reducing the requirement for synthetic multivitamins, which are not as easily recognised by the human body.  


The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health states, "Eating enough nutrients as part of a varied diet is required for the health and function of all cells, including immune cells." This statement emphasises the importance of a nutrient-rich diet for maintaining a healthy immune system. This article is about three of the world's most nutrient dense plants, including information about the nutrients they contain and how they heal our bodies.


Disclaimer: Please note that this article will mention and discuss related organic products at the end of the article.

Key Takeaways:


  • Spirulina: A blue-green cyanobacteria rich in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, offering benefits such as boosting immunity, improving digestion, and reducing inflammation. It's also researched by NASA as a potential food for astronauts.
  • Moringa Oleifera: Known as the "miracle tree," it's rich in over 90 nutrients and 46 antioxidants, making it a powerful source of vitamins and minerals for boosting immunity and energy, with strong anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Chlorella: A type of freshwater algae with a high chlorophyll content, known for its detoxifying properties and ability to improve cholesterol levels and gut health.
  • Nutrient Decline in Modern Food: Modern farming techniques have led to a decrease in the nutrient quality of crops, highlighting the importance of incorporating nutrient-dense supplements like Spirulina, Moringa, and Chlorella into diets.
  • Organic vs. Conventional: Organic foods tend to have higher levels of certain nutrients and are better for the environment, though the choice between organic and conventional should be based on personal health beliefs and budget considerations.

Is Food Less Nutritious Today?


Modern farming techniques, which emphasise quantity and rapid growth over the nutrient quality of crops, have led to a decline in the value of what we consume. Soil exhaustion, the application of artificial fertilisers and pesticides have resulted in produce that, whilst plentiful, are markedly less nutritious than those of yesteryears. This downturn in food quality has led to a notable rise in nutrient deficiencies. Fortunately, there are a number of organic food supplements we can incorporate easily into our diets that can make up for any lack from our diets.


Disclaimer: Please note that this article will mention and discuss related organic products at the end of the article.

Spirulina V Moringa V Chlorella Nutritional Comparison Table:

Spirulina V Moringa V Chlorella Nutritional Comparison Table

Spirulina

A close-up view of a wooden spoon brimming with fine dark green spirulina powder, against a vibrant green background that echoes the natural origins of this organic supplement

Spirulina is often called blue-green algae. However, in terms of biology, it is not truly an algae but cyanobacteria. It is considered one of the most nutrient-dense foods because it contains many vitamins and minerals. Spirulina grows in freshwater environments like rivers and lakes. 


Nutrients in Spirulina


Spirulina is a highly nutrient-dense food with many amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. NASA has researched Spirulina as a potential food for astronauts due to its high nutrient content and easy cultivation in space.


You can get the following nutrients from Spirulina per 100g:

  • Protein: 57.4g

  • Vitamin B1¬†(Thiamin): 2.38 mg

  • Vitamin B2¬†(Riboflavin): 3.67 mg

  • Vitamin B3¬†(Niacin): 12.82 mg

  • B5 (Pantothenic acid): 2 mg

  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): 1.1 mg

  • Vitamin B9 (Folate): 100¬†őľg

  • Vitamin C: 10.1 mg

  • Vitamin E: 7.5 mg
  • Calcium:¬†144 mg
  • Iron:¬†35.5 mg¬†
  • Magnesium: 250 mg¬†
  • Phosphorus: 175 mg¬†
  • Potassium: 1363 mg¬†
  • Sodium:¬†500 mg¬†
  • Zinc: 2 mg

It is important to note that spirulina is much more nutritious than the everyday fruits most of us have in our diets. For example, spirulina has four times the amount of iron as apples and oranges and ten times the amount of calcium. Moreover, vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B6 are present in significant quantities in spirulina, while they have a tiny amount in oranges and apples. 

Key benefits of Spirulina:


Following are some of the significant benefits that you can get by adding spirulina to your diet:

 

  • This study¬†finds spirulina to have significant health benefits, especially in terms of terms of antioxidant, immunomodulating, and microbial-modulating activities.

  • Boosts immunity through the presence of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.

  • Improves digestion¬†and gut health by building a suitable environment for good bacteria to grow.

  • Natural energy booster¬†due to the abundant number of nutrients it contains.

  • Reduces inflammation that can minimise a lot of medical issues.¬†

  • Lowers cholesterol¬†and promotes cardiovascular health.¬†

  • Improve muscle endurance and minimise muscle damage. It is highly beneficial for athletes and physically active individuals.¬†

  • This joint¬†study¬†indicate's that Spirulina has anti-cancer properties as well as being effective as a heavy metal cleanse.

Detoxification with Spirulina:


In this study conducted on 41 patients suffering from chronic arsenic poisoning. They were divided into two groups: one received spirulina extract (250 mg) plus zinc (2 mg) twice daily, and the other group received a placebo. After 16 weeks of intervention, the spirulina plus zinc groupshowed a 47% reduction in arsenic levels in their hair and a 43% reduction in arsenic levels in their nails compared to the placebo group.

 

Spirulina has a lot of antioxidants, due to which it has an alkalising effect on the human body. In addition, it contains chlorophyll, which promotes natural detoxification from heavy metals, pesticides, alcohol, and other toxins. Readers maybe interested in reading our article about natural toxin removal.

Moringa Oleifera

A wooden bowl full of bright green moringa oleifera powder sits beside fresh moringa leaves on a muted pink surface, highlighting the organic and pure form of this nutritional plant

Moringa Oleifera is a tree mostly found in Nepal, Pakistan, and India. Other than South Asia, it is also found in other regions of South America and Africa. Moringa Oleifera is known as the "miracle tree" because its leaves, pods, and seeds are rich in nutrients and it provides many health benefits. It's estimated to contain more than 90 nutrients and 46 different antioxidants! It is easily among the worlds most nutritious plants, and an essential energy boosting superfood and probably the most nutritious plant in the world.


Nutrients in Moringa Oleifera:


Here are some of the main nutrients in moringa powder per 100 grams:

  • Vitamin A:¬†0.378 mg

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin):¬†0.6¬†mg

  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin):¬†0.9¬†mg

  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin):¬†2 MG

  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine):¬†1.5 mg

  • Vitamin C:¬†150 mg

  • Vitamin E:¬†20 mg

  • Calcium:1440 mg

  • Iron:¬†55 mg

  • Magnesium:¬†120 mg

  • Phosphorus:¬†300 mg

  • Potassium:¬†450 mg

  • Zinc:¬†3 mg

  • Omega-3 fatty acids:¬†0.259 g

  • Omega-6 fatty acids:¬†0.042 g

  • Protein: 27.1g

If we compare the nutrient value of moringa to spirulina, moringa has seven times more vitamin C, four times more calcium, and two times more iron than spirulina. On the other hand, spirulina has about 14 times more vitamin B12 and four times more protein than moringa.


The Following Are The key Benefits of Moringa Oleifera:

 

  • The high number of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids obtained from moringa (Ref)¬†is helpful in several ways, including¬†boosting immunity and energy. One of the worlds most nutrient dense plants, and probably the healthiest plant in the world.¬†

  • Moringa oleifera has strong¬†anti-inflammatory properties that can be used to minimise the symptoms of conditions like arthritis.¬†

  • You can obtain essential antioxidants from moringa to get rid of free radicals and toxins. It also minimises the risk of chronic diseases like cancer and heart conditions.¬†

  • Moringa has traditionally been used to treat wounds and promote healing, especially in South Asia.¬†

  • This study¬†(published in the National Library of Medicine), concluded Moringa to be a prominent source of nutrients, as well as being a significant anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-cancer and anti-tumor, good for blood pressure and fantastic for immune resilience support.

Detoxification with Moringa:

 

Moringa is considered one of the best natural detoxifiers because it has some of the highest levels of chlorophyll. Since it also has high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, it supports the natural detoxification process of the human body. It can help build immunity against harmful free radicals. 

 

This study concluded that Moringa oleifera, was effective in decreasing cadmium concentration, suggesting its potential use in diets for heavy metal detoxification. Further research was recommended to explore the effects of these plants on other heavy metals like lead, mercury, and arsenic.

Chlorella

A spoonful of rich green organic chlorella powder is presented in sharp focus, with a monochromatic green fabric background that emphasizes the powder

Chlorella is a kind of freshwater algae. It is mainly found in Taiwan and Japan. Regarding biology, chlorella is a unicellular organism with a significant number of nutrients, which is why it is commonly added to many health supplements. 

 

Nutrients in Chlorella


Chlorella is highly rich in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It also contains the highest amount of chlorophyll of any known plant, which is why it's incredibly efficient at converting sunlight into energy (around 28.9g/kg). A 100g quantity of chlorella powder contains some of the following nutrients:

  • Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene):¬†0.45 mg

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin):¬†1.29 mg

  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin):¬†3.1 mg

  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin):¬†14.8 mg

  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine):¬†1.37 mg

  • Vitamin B9 (Folate):¬†100¬†őľg

  • Vitamin B12:¬†0.050 mg

  • Vitamin C:15 mg

  • Vitamin E:¬†2 mg

  • Calcium:¬†100 mg

  • Iron:¬†150 mg

  • Magnesium:¬†300 mg

  • Zinc:¬†2 mg

  • Phosphorus:¬†1060 mg

  • Potassium:¬†700 mg

  • Protein:¬†60 g

Key Benefits of Chlorella


The following are the significant benefits of adding chlorella to your diet:


  • It boosts immunity and helps your body in fighting different infections.¬†
  • Improve gut health¬†by promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.¬†
  • Increases oxygen intake, which is especially good for energy and aerobic endurance capacity.
  • Helps improve cholesterol levels.
  • This very reputable study,¬†found Chlorella to have very significant anti-cancer properties. The study also noted that Chlorella contains all the vitamins necessary for human health

Detoxifying Properties of Chlorella


Chlorella is one of the most potent superfoods that can help you get rid of the following heavy metals and toxins:


  • Chlorella can effectively bind to and remove mercury from the body and minimise mercury toxicity.¬†
  • This study¬†conducted over 90 consecutive days led to a decrease in the levels of certain heavy metals, specifically Mercury, Lead and Tin, when compared to baseline levels. Additionally, mercury levels at the 90-day mark were lower than those in the untreated control group.
  • Chlorella is known to reduce cadmium levels and protect against damage to the kidneys.¬†
  • Chlorella is also helpful in supporting the removal of toxic chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that can accumulate in the body and cause various health conditions.¬†

Is Organic Food More Nutritious?


  • Organically grown produce tends to be free or much lower in synthetic pesticides, fertilisers and nitrates, which can be beneficial for those concerned about chemical exposure.
  • Organic farming practices are often considered better for the environment.
  • Organically¬†grown foods tend to have higher levels of certain nutrients, such as vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. ¬†As well as higher levels of important antioxidant phytochemicals such as anthocyanins, flavonoids, and carotenoids. ¬†However, more research needs to be done into this subject.
  • The choice of organic should be based on personal health beliefs, environmental concerns, and budget considerations.

Health Considerations and Side Effects of These Ingredients:


Spirulina:


  • Health Concerns:¬†Risk of contamination with microcystins if not properly cultivated.
  • Side Effects:¬†Can cause allergic reactions, fever, and liver damage in rare cases.
  • Limitations: Not recommended for those with autoimmune diseases, as it can stimulate the immune system.

Moringa:


  • Health Concerns: High doses may affect liver function.
  • Side Effects:¬†Possible laxative effects and stomach upset at high doses.
  • Limitations: Limited research on its efficacy and safety in pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Chlorella:


  • Health Concerns: May contain contaminants if not sourced properly.
  • Side Effects:¬†Can cause digestive discomfort, nausea, gas, green discoloration of stools.
  • Limitations:¬†Limited research on long-term effects; not recommended for people allergic to iodine.

Conclusion to The World's Most Nutritious Plants:


Overall, spirulina, chlorella, and moringa oleifera are all nutrient-dense foods with great nutritional value. In addition, they are fantastic as a natural energy booster, and they have evidence to show they can be effective at removing heavy metals, pesticides, and toxins from your body.  There are certainly many others that can also provide a nutrient boost - Natural Energy Booster: The Top 9 Plants.


Readers maybe interested in checking out our organic Vitality Green Blend supplement (capsules or powder), which contains 3 of the ingredients listed above plus 3 other nutrient-dense organic energy greens - A nutrient rich health formula.


Our ingredients are sourced from the best organic producers and certified by the Soil Association. It's always best to go for an organic source, as organically grown plants have a higher nutritional value than conventional supplements due to the absence of pesticides and fertilisers. This restores the plant's natural structure and boosts the production of phytochemicals (vitamins and antioxidants). They are also much better for the environment, including animals and insects. 

FAQ

What is the meaning of nutrient dense?

"Nutrient dense" refers to foods that are high in nutrients but relatively low in calories. These foods contain vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats. Essentially, nutrient-dense foods provide a significant amount of nutrients for the calories they contain. This concept is often used in discussions about healthy eating and balanced diets, emphasising the importance of choosing foods that offer the most nutritional benefits without excessive calorie intake. Examples of nutrient-dense foods include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and nuts and seeds. Eating nutrient-dense foods is beneficial for maintaining overall health, supporting body functions, and reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

What would you say is in the top 11 nutrient dense foods list?

Liver: High in Vitamin B12, Copper, Vitamin A, and other nutrients. Eggs: Rich in Choline, Selenium, Riboflavin, Vitamin B12, and more. Wild Sockeye Salmon: Contains Omega-3, Vitamin D, B12, Selenium, and other vitamins and minerals. Oysters: High in Zinc, Copper, Vitamin B12, Selenium, and Iron. Red Meat (Beef/Lamb): Good source of Zinc, Vitamin B12, Selenium, Niacin, and more. Seaweed (Dried): Rich in Iodine, Vitamin B2, Manganese, Vitamin A, Iron, and other nutrients. Algae: Chlorella and Spirulina are rich in chlorophyll, protein, iron, copper, magnesium, potassium, and manganese vitamins B12, B1, B2, B3, and C. Sardines: High in Vitamin B12, Selenium, Phosphorus, Vitamin D, Calcium, and more. Shiitake Mushrooms (Dried): Rich in Copper, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin, Niacin, Selenium, and other nutrients. Almonds: Good source of Vitamin E, Manganese, Magnesium, Riboflavin, Copper, and other vitamins and minerals.

What are low nutrient dense foods?

Generally, foods considered low in nutrient density are those that provide a high number of calories with little nutritional value. Such foods typically include: Sugary Drinks: High in sugar, providing empty calories with no essential nutrients. Candy Bars: High in sugar, fats, and calories, but low in vitamins and minerals. Processed Meats: Often high in saturated fats and calories, with lower nutritional value. White Bread: Made from refined flour and lacks essential nutrients found in whole grains. Fast Food Items: Generally high in calories, fats, and sodium but low in beneficial nutrients. Deep Fried Foods: High in calories and trans fats, offering little nutritional value. Ice Cream: High in sugar and fat, offering minimal essential nutrients. Pastries and Cakes: Typically high in sugar and unhealthy fats, and low in nutrients. Potato Chips: High in fats and calories, with minimal essential nutrients. High-Sugar Breakfast Cereals: Often high in added sugars and low in fiber and protein. Alcohol: Provides empty calories and can reduce the absorption of nutrients. These foods are typically high in added sugars, unhealthy fats, and calories, but lack essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. It's important to consume them in moderation, focusing instead on a diet rich in nutrient-dense foods for overall health and well-being.

What are signs of nutrient deficiency?

Poor Night Vision or White Growths on the Eyes: May indicate a deficiency in Vitamin A. Bleeding Gums or Slow Wound Healing: Can be signs of Vitamin C deficiency. Brittle Hair and Nails: Often associated with a lack of Biotin or Vitamin B7. Scaly Patches and Dandruff: Suggests a potential deficiency in Zinc, Niacin (Vitamin B3), and Vitamin B6. Restless Leg Syndrome: Might be linked to an Iron deficiency. Muscle Cramps or Severe Menstrual Pain: Can be caused by a lack of Magnesium. Tingling or Numbness in Hands and Feet: Often a sign of B-Vitamins, particularly B12 and Folate, deficiency. Extreme Fatigue or Weakness: Could be due to insufficient Iron or Vitamin D. Frequent Bone Fractures: Might indicate a deficiency in Calcium and Vitamin D. Depression or Anxiety: Can be linked to a lack of Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

What are the most nutrient dense fruits?

The top 10 most nutrient-dense fruits, based on their vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant content, typically include: Blueberries: High in antioxidants and vitamins C and K. Guava: Rich in vitamin C, fiber, and smaller amounts of numerous vitamins. Raspberries: High in fiber, vitamins C and K, and manganese. Strawberries: Rich in vitamin C, manganese, and various antioxidants. Blackberries: High in vitamin C, K, and fiber. Pomegranates: Packed with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins C and K. Oranges: High in vitamin C, potassium, and several B vitamins. Kiwifruit: Excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, fiber, and potassium. Cherries: Rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Papaya: Good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and folate. These fruits are not only delicious but also offer a variety of health benefits due to their high nutrient content.

Does cooking vegetables reduce nutrients?

Cooking vegetables can affect their nutrient content, but the impact varies depending on the nutrient and cooking method. Here's a general overview: Water-Soluble Vitamins:

Vitamins like vitamin C and B vitamins are water-soluble. These are more likely to be lost during cooking, especially in methods that involve water, like boiling or blanching. For instance, boiling broccoli, spinach, and green beans can lead to a reduction in vitamin C. Fat-Soluble Vitamins:

Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble and are less affected by cooking. Some cooking methods, like roasting and stir-frying, might even help in releasing these nutrients from the vegetables, making them more available for your body to absorb. Minerals:

Minerals such as iron, calcium, and zinc are not destroyed by heat. However, they can leach into cooking water, leading to a decrease in their content in the vegetables. Steaming is a better option to retain minerals compared to boiling. Antioxidants:

Some antioxidants may decrease with cooking, while others might increase. For instance, cooking tomatoes can increase the availability of lycopene, a beneficial antioxidant, but it might reduce other compounds like vitamin C. Fiber:

Cooking doesn't significantly affect the fiber content of vegetables, but it can change the fiber's composition, potentially making it softer and easier to digest. Cooking Methods:

Steaming, and stir-frying are generally considered the best methods for retaining nutrients in vegetables. Boiling tends to cause the greatest nutrient loss, particularly of water-soluble vitamins. Cooking Time, Temperature, and Water Use:

Shorter cooking times, and using less water can help preserve nutrients in vegetables. Overcooking can lead to significant nutrient loss.

Image of Pard Bharaj - The Author

Author: Pard Bharaj

I am a dedicated researcher with nearly a decade of experience in investigating health best practices. My journey in the health and wellness field has been driven by a passion for understanding and sharing the most effective ways to maintain and improve health. Over the years, I have delved into a wide range of topics, constantly seeking out the latest research and insights. My commitment is to provide well-researched, accurate, and trustworthy information to help readers make informed decisions about their health.

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