General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 20 Apr 2021/4 Wind
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Spirulina (high protein source for Aztecs)

The World’s Healthiest Superfood

The Aztecs had access to the ‘world’s healthiest superfood’, Spirulina. (Written/compiled by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore)

Gathering the algae ‘tecuitlatl’ (Spirulina) from the surface of Lake Texcoco in the 16th. century (Florentine Codex, Book 11)
Gathering the algae ‘tecuitlatl’ (Spirulina) from the surface of Lake Texcoco in the 16th. century (Florentine Codex, Book 11) (Click on image to enlarge)

A tiny aquatic plant (each strand is less than half a millimetre long!) offering the most powerful combination of nutrients (protein, vitamins, anti-oxidants, etc.) ever known in any grain, herb or food. This edible blue-green algae (found in Lake Texcoco) produces 15 times more protein per acre than soybeans, 35 times more than corn and 70 times more than wheat! And because it grows in salty lakes, it doesn’t compete with other possible food sources.

Tiny Spirulina strands
Tiny Spirulina strands

Tecuitlatl (its Náhuatl name, meaning ‘stone dung’) was sold in Tlatelolco market and eaten with maize or a sauce made of chili peppers and tomatoes. It was briefly described by Díaz de Castillo, one of the first Spaniards to enter Tenochtitlan: ‘then there were fishmongers and others who sold little loaves which they made out of a sort of slime which they gather from the great lake, which they thicken and they make loaves of it which taste like cheese’. The Florentine Codex has a tiny reference to a ‘tecuitlatl gatherer’.

‘Spirulina geitlerii’
‘Spirulina geitlerii’

(Info from ‘Aztec Medicine, Health and Nutrition’ by Bernard R. Ortiz de Montellano, 1990, pp. 102-106)

World superfoods checklist - many are from Mexico!
‘How Mexico is reclaiming spirulina’ - BBC feature
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