Algae has aroused more and more curiosity on the part of the food industry and its consumption and demand has increased significantly. But are they nutritionally interesting to include in the diet?
Algae are marine vegetables and are a source of natural compounds, very rich in certain minerals, especially calcium, containing a higher content of this nutrient than cow’s milk.

 

We can also find in these marine vegetables, omega 3 fatty acids, iron, potassium, iodine and sodium, vitamins A, B1, B2, C and E, carotenes and fiber, namely soluble fiber. They have proteins and low fat content in their composition.

 

As they are rich in iodine (essential for the production of thyroid hormones), careful attention is recommended in people who have some imbalance in thyroid function (hyperthyroidism), since excessive consumption can be harmful.

 

Due to their nutritional wealth, they are associated with benefits such as improved digestive and dental health, improved blood circulation, cardiovascular protection, liver detoxification, anticoagulant and anti-inflammatory properties, among others.

 

Many people would like to use them more regularly, however they have no idea where to buy, which to choose and how to use / cook them.

 

Purchase

– Make sure of its origin. Available in Portugal, the most suitable are the Japanese or those on the coast of Brittany, since they are cultivated in low-polluted seas (less heavy metal content).

 

Most used for consumption
Agar-agar

Agar | Seaweed | Food | Nutrition | Holmes Place

 

– It can be found in flakes or bars and is great for making gelatin or for thickening sauces, since it has natural thickening and gelling properties.

 

Wire

Aramé | Seaweed | Food | Nutrition | Holmes Place

 

– Can be cooked together with vegetables;

– It should be soaked for about 15 minutes and the cooking time is approximately 30 minutes.

 

Dulce

Dulce | Seaweed | Food | Nutrition | Holmes Place

 

– Can be eaten raw. It is also used in soups, broths, fish dishes and as a condiment.

 

Hiziki

Hiziki | Seaweed | Food | Nutrition | Holmes Place

 

– Very well known due to its high calcium content.

 

Kombu

Kombu | Seaweed | Food | Nutrition | Holmes Place

 

– Widely used in the soaking of legumes, making them more digestible;

– Used for the extraction of alginate, mannitol and iodine;

– It must also be soaked and takes about 45 minutes to cook.

 

Nori

Nori | Seaweed | Food | Nutrition | Holmes Place

 

– The best known, since it is the seaweed used to make the famous sushi;

– Fish flavor.

 

Wakame

Wakame | Seaweed | Food | Nutrition | Holmes Place

 

– In soups or vegetable sautéing;

– Sweet taste;

– You should soak it for about 20 minutes and it takes about 20 minutes to cook.

 

Increasingly, the food industry has been developing options to include algae in the daily diet of the population, which can be found in food products such as: bread, crackers, toast, pasta, olive oil, salt.

 

In short, seaweed is a great food to include in your daily diet, due to its high nutritional content (minerals, vitamins and fibers) and its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

They represent a natural food with a low caloric value and offer a multitude of flavors, aromas and textures, they become an excellent food combined with varied, tasty and healthy diets.

However, more research is still needed to understand and evaluate the potential adverse effects of human consumption of algae, and informed consumption is essential.

 

Adriana Ferreira

Holmes Place Parque das Nações

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