The properties of algae turn out to be essential for the body, since they are capable of providing numerous benefits. They have long been part of the daily diet of people who lived by the sea, using them in the same way as fruits and vegetables.
There are many ancient documents that mention the use of seaweed in the cuisine of China and Japan, considered by these populations as an important source of well-being.
Properties of algae
Algae have been on our planet for millions of years and have changed very little over time. Among the properties of algae we can highlight that they contain chlorophyll, which they synthesize depending on the sunlight that reaches them. Green algae are those that grow at shallower depths. The brown ones, at medium depth, and the red ones, at greater depth. The seaweed that we can find in stores today comes mainly from Japan or Britain, where there is great consumption.
The properties of seaweed and its nutritional value
Seaweed (of any type) is a very relevant source of iodine, useful for preventing thyroid disorders and stimulating natural metabolism. Seaweed is also an excellent source of minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, copper, sodium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. They contain much more protein than terrestrial vegetables, little fat and several vitamins.
In some types of algae, such as Nori algae and spirulina (which is, however, a lake algae), there also seems to be a good dose of vitamin B12, which, however, does not seem to be in its most bioavailable form. In addition, there are studies that demonstrate the ability of some algae to neutralize heavy metals and toxic elements that we can ingest with food. Finally, the presence of mucilaginous substances makes them a valuable aid in regulating intestinal functions.
What types of seaweed are most commonly used in cooking?
Let’s see below which are the most common algae and how we can use them in the kitchen:
Kombu seaweed is a brown seaweed with leaves 1 to 3 meters long. When dried in the sun, it comes in long, thick, black strips. Among the properties of kombu algae, they are an excellent intestinal cleanser and are rich in glutamic acid. This is a substance that is then reproduced industrially as sodium glutamate (a flavor enhancer). When cooked, kombu has the property of softening the other ingredients. It is an exceptional base for broths and soups.
It is a brown algae native to Japan. It has cylindrical leaves that resemble tree branches. Among the properties of hijiki seaweed we find a high calcium content, making it a traditional remedy in Japan to strengthen nails and hair. When soaked, this seaweed greatly increases its volume. Therefore, it is better to start by preparing a small portion. They are used in combination with vegetables, tofu or cereals.
It is a red algae that grows wild in many seas around the world. It is used rolled together with vegetables or fish and is the basic ingredient in some Japanese dishes. Rich in vitamin A, it also goes well with fatty foods, as it facilitates digestion.
This red algae is native to the Atlantic and among its properties, it stands out that it is richer in iron than the others. Its consumption dates back to ancient times, when it was a common ingredient in the cuisine of the people of northern Europe and Canada. If soaked for a long time, it can also be eaten raw. It goes well with vegetables and cereals.
This element is sold in the form of bars or flakes and is used to thicken sweet or savory dishes. It comes from a red algae and is rich in gelatinous substances and minerals. It has no calories and can also be a mild laxative. The amount to use varies depending on the final consistency of the prepared dish.
They can be found on the fish counters of many supermarkets. They are especially tasty sea beans that can be prepared by sautéing them for a few minutes in a frying pan with garlic and oil or they can be used as a dressing for pasta or salads.
Wakame seaweed is a brown seaweed native to Japan that resembles a dark, serrated leaf. In the center of the seaweed there is a thick mucilaginous vein, characteristic of wakame. Its properties are similar to those of Kombu seaweed and its flavor is very mild. That is why wakame seaweed combines well with rice, pasta, vegetables, tofu and fish. Like kombu, wakame also has the property of softening the foods with which it is cooked.If, in addition to integrating seaweed into your daily diet, you want to practice sports in a healthy and relaxed environment, be sure to visit our gyms.