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Spirulina has been used as a food source for centuries, and is still commonly consumed in Chad and surrounding countries in Africa; in fact, spirulina has served as the sole source of nutrition in some African communities in times of famine, during which entire native populations have existed eating only spirulina for over a month at a time.
It is understood that spirulina was used; cultivated, sold and eaten by Aztecs in the 16th century in the old Aztec capital city of Tenochtitlan, which is the site of modern day Mexico City. It was commonly used as a superfood for increased energy and performance. The people of Chad that live near to Lake Chad – where spirulina grows naturally – continue to eat spirulina. They too, regard it as a nutritious wholefood.
More recently, the United Nations (U.N.) in 1974 named spirulina ‘one of the best foods for the future’1. The U.N. continues to consider spirulina to be an important food source and in 2008 the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization report on spirulina, insisted that both national governments and inter-governmental organizations should consider spirulina.
Spirulina is considered so highly, scientists from the US Space Program at NASA have studied spirulina as a potential food source for space travel and settlement of space stations due to its remarkable nutritional profile2 of natural vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and proteins. And the European Space Agency (ESA) has been exploring different methods of feeding spirulina to their astronauts3, including spirulina pasta.
1 United Nations World Food Conference (1974). As reported on the Intergovernmental Institution for the use of Microalgae Spirulina Against Malnutrition (Permament Observer to the United Nations Economic and Social Council). www.iimsam.org
2 Henrikson R (1989) Earth Food Spirulina Ronore Enterprises, Inc ISBN #0-9637511 -0-3