Widely used in oriental cuisine, algae they are also experiencing a spread on our tables.
Let's find out properties and benefits of the dietary use of algae.
Food use of algae: properties and benefits
Le seaweed they are mono and multicellular organisms that live in aquatic environments and in highly humid areas and which represent interesting properties for health.
In fact, they have ahigh percentage of protein and provide essential amino acids important for the protein synthesis of our body.
The supply of proteins makes algae an important food especially for people who have chosen to follow avegetarian or vegan food and which may have deficiencies of essential amino acids and in particular of sulfur amino acids.
Algae are also one good source of minerals, B vitamins, polyunsaturated fatty acids and antioxidant and immunostimulating substances. Contrary to what many claim, algae, however, cannot provide Vitamin B12 as they contain a form of the vitamin that is not assimilated by our body.
This does not mean that algae, if introduced in the diet or in the form of supplements, can be of great help for our well-being: in fact, in addition to providing the important substances we have mentioned, they seem to be useful for lower blood cholesterol level, have anti-inflammatory action and favor the well-being of the gastrointestinal system.
Furthermore, algae add flavor and taste to even the simplest recipes: let's see then what are the algae that we can introduce in our diet.
Algae, a valuable aid for weight loss
Use of seaweed in the kitchen
Algae are represented by numerous species which are classified into theophytes (brown algae), odofite (red algae), chlorophyte (green algae) and also include i cyanobacteria (cyanophytes or blue algae).
- Le brown algae they are particularly rich in iodine and potassium, Vitamines of group B and antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiviral substances. These algae are widely used for the extraction of alginates and fucans, polysaccharides that are used in the formulation of products for the treatment of gastric reflux symptoms. Brown algae have a strong and decisive flavor; Wakame, Hijiki, Arame and Kombu algae are widely used in the kitchen. L'Alga Wakame it is consumed in salads, soups and on its own as a side dish; l'alga Kombu it is used to prepare broths, and is used to flavor the broth in which seitan is cooked; the alghe Hijiki e Arame instead they are used to flavor sauces and sautéed vegetables.
- Le red algae they have a high content of proteins, vitamins, antioxidant pigments, minerals and essential fatty acids. They are mainly used in the cosmetic, food and pharmaceutical industries because agar agar and carrageenan are extracted from these algae, ficocolloids with gelling, emulsifying and thickening properties. L'agar it is used for example to prepare puddings to replace isinglass, an ingredient of animal origin excluded from vegetarian and vegan diets. Among the red algae to bring to the table we find thealga Dulse which is eaten in salads andalga Nori, now famous because it is used in the preparation of sushi.
- Le green algae e those blue on the other hand, they are not exploited in our diet and are mainly used as supplements, to supply the body with vitamins, minerals, proteins and for their stimulating action on the immune system.
Where to find algae for food use
Algae intended for food you can buy them in health food stores; they are generally sold dried and they must be rehydrated before using them in recipes: if used to flavor dishes, they can be sprinkled even dried, after having been chopped.