If you’re a lover of sushi, then the word ‘seaweed’ must remind you of those delicious rolls.
Seaweed is a staple in Asian cuisines and in some Latin American countries, but for some reason, this nutritious powerhouse tends to be very much overlooked in most parts of the world.
However, a recently published study in the journal Marine Drugs discusses how multifaceted seaweed is and recommends that it should be consumed more often.
They vouch for its use as both a part of a healthy diet and as a functional ingredient in the production of food products.
Let’s see what else they had to say.
There are countless species of seaweed, but they’re classified into three large groups: red algae, brown algae, and green algae, and all of them have different nutritional profiles.
- This may come as a surprise, but seaweed is a source of macronutrients like proteins and lipids (omega-3 and omega-6), especially green and red algae.
- It’s also a rich source of soluble dietary fiber, especially polysaccharides.
- Seaweed contains an abundance of essential minerals: sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, chloride, sulfate, and phosphorus.
- It’s loaded with trace minerals, like iron, zinc, copper, selenium, manganese, boron, nickel, etc, and they’re rich in iodine, so much, in fact, that they‘re able to provide the full recommended daily intake.
- On top of all this, seaweed is a source of B-group vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, and B12), as well as vitamins A, C, D, and E.
- And lastly, being a good source of vitamin B12, seaweed is a great option for vegans, since not many fruits and vegetables synthesize this vitamin.
Seaweed contains many bioactive chemicals, such as polyphenols and carotenoids, which give it an incredible antioxidant capacity.
Because of this, it exhibits many antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and neuroprotective properties.
There is even enough evidence that some species can even inhibit the growth of bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
The biological effects of seaweed could also have beneficial effects on blood pressure and diabetes.
In addition, some species of red and brown algae have shown some promising results against neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Being so rich in so many essential nutrients makes seaweed worthy of more attention. Sushi is one fun way to incorporate more algae into your diet, but it’s not the only way, of course. You can get as creative as you want.
Resource: Peñalver, R.; Lorenzo, J.M.; Ros, G.; Amarowicz, R.; Pateiro, M.; Nieto, G. Seaweeds as a Functional Ingredient for a Healthy Diet. Mar. Drugs 2020, 18, 301. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/md18060301