Published: 09/01/2005 - Updated: 08/13/2019
Author: Dra. Loredana Lunadei
Marine plants, like the land plants, need light, they have chlorophyll, roots, stems… although its structure is different. In food, Nori, Arame, Kombu, wakame, Hijiki, Dulse, Agar Agar, Spirulina and Cochayuyo highlight. In macrobiotic, they are part of the menu.
Algae: the vegetables from the sea
Use of marine plants in the Mediterranean Basin, is documented from the year 600 AD Although evidence has been found for their inclusion in food dating back to 10,000 years ago, in the East, especially in Japan where the algae can reach up to 25% of the diet. The use of seaweed in food is widespread in the Pacific area.
In most European countries, algae have earned a place in the local cuisine, such as Austria and Germany where algae is used to produce a very popular type of bread, the Algenbrot, a pan of grain to which is added a 2-3 percent seaweed stuffed into flour.
Under the influence of the macrobiotic diets, the consumption of algae in the West has been enhanced greatly. Spain has been no stranger to this movement for some years and is being carried out pioneering experiments and crafts in Redondela (Pontevedra), where besides the well-known Japanese seaweed use, there are others; the tasty spaghetti sea, the Irish moss and fucus.
The algae continue cycles without sowing, transplants, fertilizers, irrigation, pesticides or treatments. Today more than 24,000 species of algae are known, of which only a small number are used for food or for medicinal purposes.
Algae have the green pigment called chlorophyll and are able to produce their own food through photosynthesis, need sunlight to grow.
These important features allow to classify the different kinds of algae under color, which depends on the depth of the sea in the living light and radiation under which it receives its full metabolism is established.
These healthy vegetables of sweet or salty water have various colored substances that have the task of capturing light energy and use it through photochemical reactions.
Dietary Properties of algae
Algae are the vegetables with high content of mineral salts and trace elements. Are rich in iodine, iron (100 grams of algae give us twice as much iron than one hundred grams of lentils), cobalt, Magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. For example, 100 grams of algae Hizikia provide 1400 mg of calcium to 100 mg given in milk, and 1 gram daily of Kombu seaweed is enough to get input iodine to ensure the balance of the endocrine glands. Trace elements as the saragossa are necessary for proper absorption and secretion of insulin, the iron and cobalt responsible for preventing anemia, or silicon and the calcium, which are essential to strengthen bones, nails, skin and hair are found in algae.
A big spoonful daily supplies the body all the essential minerals and trace elements essential for proper cellular metabolism.
In wealth in chlorophyll of algae, spirulina is the richest and Klamath blue algae then. Chlorophyll active enzymes in the body involved in the assimilation of nutrients to transform them into energy, helps purify the blood and increase the formation of hemoglobin preventing the contraction of blood vessels and increasing the muscular and nervous performance.
Algae increase in size when in contact with water, its natural environment, producing an satiating effect and on the other hand, due to its large contribution of iodine (seaweed are five times more food rich in iodine that the sea water) governs the functioning of the thyroid gland responsible for the burning of carbohydrates you eat. The properties of slimming seaweed is also due to mucilage (especially the Irish moss and agar-agar) a type of fiber that encourages the proper functioning of the intestine allowing a good bulk of the daily waste disposal is required to eliminate excess weight.
Using algae to help us lose weight
A food mainly based on salads, fruits and whole grains and practicing regular physical exercise are the real basis for the reduction weight and body fat.
Algae are good thanks to the interveners in fenilananine, an amino acid that suppresses appetite nerve stimulation in the brain with iodine nutrition, minerals and enzymes help us accelerate the metabolic process of reduction of weight and toxins. Kelp seaweed and the fucus may be consumed in capsules or tablets 30 to 60 minutes before meals with a glass or two of water to act against obesity.
It contains B12l, of the family of vitamin B group that is not present in the plant world. Nori seaweed and Spirulina are the wealthiest in the essential water soluble vitamin so essential in the synthesis of DNA, the formation of red blood cells and cells of the stomach wall. This is especially important for vegetarians.
They are a source of vegetable protein providing all the essential amino acids in an appropriate and with a coefficient of digestibility to 95% (next to the meat of 20% or soybeans by 35%). Furthermore contain no cholesterol, saturated fat, antibiotic residues, pesticides or synthetic hormones such as meat proteins.
They have higher percentage of vitamin E that wheat germ and are also one of the foods rich in provitamin A. This special synergy of vitamins from seaweed acts like anti-aging, protects the skin and mucous membranes from free radicals, without any risk of hypervitaminosis as the precursor of beta-carotene or vitamin A is completely non-toxic.
Algenic acid, an essential component of the peculiar and algae, contributes to the elimination of heavy metals as arsenic, lead, mercury and even radioactive elements (strontium, cobalt). So we remove all the contaminants that have been ingested with food or that have been absorbed from the atmosphere as well as purines from animal products.
Due to the high composition of iodine in seaweed, we need to prevent their use in people suffering from hyperthyroidism, that have been removed or the thyroid gland are very thin. Some algae contain a high percentage of sodium so people prone to hypertension should not abuse it. In all these cases are the most desirable freshwater algae as the Klamath, the Spirulina or Chlorella.
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