Arrived directly from Japan, at least in its culinary form, this is the country with the highest consumption of algae per inhabitant, a fact that possibly all those algae that we usually eat in our country maintain, therefore, their original Japanese name.
If we ask you about a well-known Japanese dish or recipe that stands out precisely because it’s one of the most popular in this country (at least in the West), sushi may be one of the first that comes to mind. Among them is the variety known as maki, which is the popular rolled rice with nori seaweed.
What is algae?
Algae, as you know, are both freshwater and saltwater plants, which have the same cycles as terrestrial plants. However, they have a particular difference in that they grow, reproduce, and die without the intervention of any sowing or watering process in these processors.
They consist of aquatic organisms ranging from microscopic single-celled to multicellular organisms, which tend to form large colonies (in addition to being extremely showy).
Did you know that seaweed is fundamental to life? They make one of the largest contributions of oxygen to the planet, participating in an estimated 50% of global photosynthesis.
And did you know that today, there are an estimated 27,000 species in the world? Of these, only a few are destined for human consumption, among them popular options such as the aforementioned nori, wakame, kombu, and agar-agar.
Nutritional values of algae
As we indicated at the beginning of this note, algae provide our diet with vitamins, minerals, proteins, and carbohydrates of great quality.
Among them, for example, we highlight the most important in the following summary list:
- Vitamins: The vast majority of algae provide a lot of vitamin E, making them clear anti-aging agents. In addition, they also possess provitamin A (a precursor of vitamin A itself), as well as beta-carotene, which is an outstanding protector of sight and skeletal development.
- They also provide vitamin C and group B.
- Minerals: Among the minerals that algae provide, the most important are calcium, magnesium, potassium, iodine, zinc, selenium, cobalt, and copper.
- Proteins: The most outstanding feature of the proteins found in algae is that as these plants are easily absorbed, they assimilate the absorption of the same.
- They are less toxic than animal proteins and provide essential amino acids.
- Carbohydrates: Thanks to mannitol, algae are very satiating, helping to stimulate liver function, not increasing blood glucose.
- We also find mucilages, which tend to attenuate irritations, and alginic acid, which is capable of satiating and upholstering the gastric mucosa.
Most important benefits of algae
After knowing what the nutritional value is at a certain general level of the algae, we are going to know below one of the most interesting questions of the algae.
And that it would not be other than the benefits and properties that these offer to our health.
Algae contain fucoidan, a principle that has been shown to slow down the carcinogenic action, helping to reduce some tumors, especially breast and colon.
According to several studies, they help improve the joint, since they are believed to have an anticoagulant active ingredient that cleanses the blood.
They also have a great antibiotic effect, so they fight infections and also act selectively on the intestinal flora.
They stimulate the pancreas and the spleen, purifying the lymphatic system and eliminating toxins and waste products, purifying our body.
Properties of the most consumed algae
- Kombú: Kombu seaweed has a great number of minerals, among which iodine stands out, being the richest seaweed in this type of mineral and proteins. It helps in the elimination of toxins, activating the circulation, and controlling hypertension (high blood pressure).
- Nori: Contains vitamins B12 and A, proteins, as well as protein and potassium, iron, and calcium. It can prevent both vision and skin problems, facilitates digestion, and also eliminate fat deposits. It is one of the most used in Japanese cuisine.
- Wakame: It also has a large number of minerals (especially calcium), proteins, and vitamins of the B and C groups. It promotes the growth of both hair and nails and is good against anxiety, stress, fatigue, and depression.
- Spirulina: Contains amino acids, essential fatty acids, proteins, and vitamins E, A, and B12. It can control appetite and is positive in mental and physical activity.
- Agar-agar: Has minerals such as calcium or selenium, and also carbohydrates. It regulates intestinal transit, prevents constipation, and protects the gastric mucosa.
This article is published for information purposes only. It cannot and should not substitute for consultation with a Nutritionist. We advise you to consult your trusted Nutritionist.