Give Your Nutritional Wellness a Seaweed Supercharge!

Seaweed may seem like a hassle at the beach, but it may be able to play an important role in your wellbeing. This is according to a study due to be published in the journal Biomedicine & Preventative Nutrition, which found that red and brown seaweed are rich in minerals and carry great potential for use in nutritional supplements.

According to Syad et al, the research team who assessed the nutritional profile of two marine algae; (Gelidiella acerosa, or red seaweed, and Sargassum wightii, or brown seaweed), ‘The results suggest that both seaweeds have greater nutritional value and could be used as excellent nutritional supplements.’ The team of researchers added that the marine algae could also be used as a highly-nutritious dietary source or cooking ingredient.

So what is so nutritional about red and brown seaweed? The study, “Seaweeds as nutritional supplements: Analysis of nutritional profile, physiochemical properties and proximate compostion of G. acerosa and S. wightii,” found that the high fibre content of the seaweeds (13.45mg per gram of dry weight) and high vitamin C content (roughly 5mg per gram of dry weight) were the prime reason why the plants are beneficial to wellness – but the nutrition perks didn’t stop there.

The researchers also said that the plants were rich in carbohydrates, protein, lipids, praline and chlorophyll. Red seaweed in particular was found to have high potassium levels, while brown seaweed was discovered to have high levels of sodium. In addition, both seaweeds – as you might expect – were rich sources of major fatty acids, such as linolenic acid, and essential amino acids, such as valine, methionine, lysine and phenyl alanine.

That’s why they’re beneficial, but how on earth do you begin to include seaweed in your diet? In Japan, brown seaweed is commonly used in soups, where it is also fermented with other ingredients in soy source. The food industry also uses brown seaweed as a gelling agent, as it is a source of alginic acid. Likewise, red seaweed used as a gelling agent, as it is a major source of agar. This is a hydrophilic colloid used in sugar confectionary, icings, canned meat and fish.

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