Rich in vitamins and minerals, with a high content of polyunsaturated fats and a high concentration of proteins and fibers, the seaweed they are an essential food in Japan, where 300 tons are consumed per year.
In fact, their use continues to grow around the world. They are in fact considered one of the foods of the future, because they are nutritious and sustainable: cultivating them is cheap, requires little energy and does not consume agricultural land.
Indeed, it allows you to make the most of part of that 70% of the earth's surface that is covered with water. The algae are therefore proposed as a valid one alternative to classic proteins of animal origin (meat, cheeses), whose production has a strong impact on the planet.
Novel food not only for the line
Together with microorganisms and insects, they are part of the "new foods"That have obtained the green light from the European Union to be sold throughout the old continent (find the complete list of novel foods by typing ec.europa.eu/food/safety/novel_food/catalogue_en.).
The universe of algae is waiting to be discovered (there are about 25.000 species). Those used for food are best known for theirs effect on the thyroid: stimulate the metabolism to burn more calories and thus help maintain a healthy weight.
Never benefits of algae do not stop at their slimming effect. There are many, and different varieties for variety.
Dr. , a nutrition biologist expert in vegetarian nutrition, gives us a hand to discover them. “To begin with, they are highly regarded for theirs richness of B12, the "vitamin of energy", essential for forming new ones Red blood cells, to renew the cells of the nervous system and to synthesize DNA ”, explains our expert.
Detox and antioxidant action
"The algae, especially the red ones, are rich in alginic acid, which is precious for limiting the absorption of fats and above all for promote elimination from the body of heavy metals, such as lead, which can cause poisoning dangerous for our health ”, adds our consultant.
Spirulina, on the other hand, is indicated above all as a supplement. It is, for example, one very digestible source of iron and highly assimilable. It boasts a biocompatible calcium content, easy to assimilate and readily available for bones and teeth.
It provides very high percentages of protein, which makes it irreplaceable for vegetarians and vegans and very useful for those who play sports and need to naturally “rebuild” their muscles. Finally, it contains a mix of antioxidants essential to protect cells from the pro-aging action of free radicals.
Proven health benefits
A study by the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston found that regular consumption of seaweed reduces the risk of developing a breast cancer. But that is not all.
"Recent research, published by the US National Institute of Health, the leading US health organization, has shown that brown algae they are rich in fucoidans, excellent blood thinners: they hinder the formation of clots and they lower the chances of having a stroke», Dr. Anselmi comments.
Skin and eye protection
A Japanese scientific investigation has revealed how some algae typical of the Far East, rich in fucoxatina, a natural pigment present mainly in brown varieties, protect against photoaging, limiting the formation of hyperpigmentation spots and helping the skin to maintain good hydration.
"The protective effect of fucoxatin also affects the eyes: slows down the opacification of the lens and prevents complications after cataract surgery ”, explains the expert in vegetarian nutrition.
Another study from the Land of the Rising Sun, dedicated exclusively to saltwater algae, found that the richness of vitamins, amino acids, mineral salts and antioxidants slows down skin aging, making it more resilient and stronger.
«The effect then reverberates on hair, which strengthened by the roots are healthier and shinier », explains Dr. .
All the algae proposed in this service are of course rich in fatty acids, with a valuable anti-inflammatory and antioxidant function, capable of improve the immune system.
«They also contain a lot of fibers, so they have a high satiating power and a slight laxative effect, useful for those suffering from a lazy bowel », says our expert. In short, the future of algae is on the table.
1. Alga Nori (Porphyra Umbilicalis)
It is found mainly in the Atlantic Ocean. It has a very high content of zinc, copper, manganese and selenium, which optimize the metabolism. It has a mild flavor.
After scalding in boiling water, it can be paired with fish and cheese or combined with soups.
2. Alga Dulse (Palmaria Palmata)
It is an alga with a very intense red color, typical of the North Atlantic. Contains 112 between trace elements and minerals, especially potassium. It aids in the absorption of iron and optimizes the formation of bone tissue.
Ha a slightly spicy flavor and it is excellent in soups or, after a short soak, in salads.
3. Sea spaghetti (Himathalia Elongata)
It is an oceanic brown alga, with fleshy leaves, similar to green beans. It is an excellent source of vitamins C and E, but also potassium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and iodine.
It regulates the functioning of the thyroid gland and helps the body adapt to changes in temperature. Try it fried in batter.
4. Alga Kombu (Laminaria Digitata)
Widespread mainly in the North Atlantic, it is a brown alga rcca of iodine, iron, magnesium and potassium.
It has a detoxifying and laxative effect, strengthens the immune system and stimulates the metabolism. AND perfect for boiling legumes (makes them digestible and reduces the swelling effect).
5. Sea lettuce (Ulva Lactuca)
Verdissima, similar to salad leaves, is one of the most widespread algae in the Mediterranean. Source of calcium, iron and chlorophylla, is indicated as a supplement for those who follow a vegan diet.
It can be eaten raw (if you pick it up fresh on our beaches) or scalded and addition to fish sauces.
6. Alga Arame (Eisenia Bicyclis)
It is a brown seaweed from the Pacific, collected mainly in Peru and Japan.
It is a reserve of beta-carotene (antioxidant) and iodine, copper, iron, potassium and zinc (which help cell renewal). It must first be rehydrated and then cooked with mixed vegetables, tofu, tempeh.
7. Alga Hijki (Sargassum Fusiforme)
It comes from Japan and is a brown alga that has dark, cylindrical leaves. It contains a large amount of trace elements and minerals, especially football.
Soaked in cold water it becomes an excellent ingredient to be sautéed in a pan with a mix of vegetables. It can also add to soups.
8. Alga Wakame (Undaria Pinnatifida)
It lives in the colder waters of the Pacific Ocean. Its lance-shaped leaves contain all the essential amino acids, mineral salts, trace elements, folic acid.
It is perfect for nourishing skin, hair and nails, stimulates the metabolism, rebalances the body's acid-base ratio. It is ok for salads (must first be scalded), soups and creams.
9. Spirulina (Artrhospira Platensis)
It lives in the salty waters of the lakes of Mexico and Chad. It is very rich in vitamins PP and C., which boost the immune system, make you feel less tired and help recovery after intense effort.
It is also a source of potassium, which regulates blood pressure It is used in powder, instead of salt.
10. Carragheen (Chondrus Crispus)
It is a bush-shaped seaweed, which comes mainly from Carragheen, the Irish town from which it takes its name.
Rich in mucilage, minerals and vitamins C and group B relieves cough and moisturizes the skin. In the kitchen it is used as a thickener.