By the name of algae the various classes of organisms, unicellular and multicellular, are known that grow in water, both sweet and salty. Algae are not classified within the plant kingdom, they are not plants , despite having the same cycles as terrestrial plants: they grow, reproduce and die, without the need for human intervention to do so.
Only a small group of algae are edible and we refer to them as sea vegetables.
Where buy seaweed?
They are generally for sale dehydrated so, before use, they must be soaked, increasing their volume. Their flavor and texture make them ideal to incorporate them, cut or chopped, in traditional dishes such as salads, purees, broths, stews, legumes …
Among the properties of these “ Sea vegetables ”highlight the presence of large amounts of vegetable proteins and we can consider them as the“ vegetables ”with the highest content of chlorophyll, minerals and trace elements. In addition, they provide vitamins and pro-vitamins .
What do they contain?
Algae are considered an important source of vegetable proteins , unmatched for providing all the essential amino acids for man in an adequate proportion, which give it a very good digestibility and absorption
They do not contain saturated fats but they do include essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 such as linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids.
We can consider algae as the “ vegetables ”with higher chlorophyll content. The specific amount of this pigment varies between different species of algae.
Chlorophyll is the “green hemoglobin”, standing out for its properties as anti-oxidant substance , for its anti-cancer potential and for its oxygenating capacity cellular , tonic and regenerating.
It has an outstanding action on the cardio-circulatory, digestive systems and supports the liver and kidney detoxification function.
Algae are rich in minerals and trace elements such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iodine, cobalt, silicon, zinc. They are remineralizing foods, counteracting the acidity of other foods (protein and fatty) and the acidity derived from the body’s metabolism.
The mineral richness of algae is significantly higher than the best vegetables (such as the spinach). The silicon they contain works together with calcium to fortify bones, nails, skin and hair. Zinc is important for a correct secretion and assimilation of insulin, as well as for the regulation of sex hormones.
We will especially highlight its richness in iodine . This makes it very useful to stimulate the general metabolism, acting on the thyroid gland, regulating and activating situations of subclinical hypothyroidism. People with hyperthyroidism should moderate their consumption.
Benefits of algae
In this context, they are useful for losing weight and treating obesity, reduce fluid retention (especially in the lower extremities) acting as diuretics and decongestants, help better thermoregulation in people with habitual sensations of cold and moderate appetite.
The satiating effect of algae benefits from the presence of the amino acid phenylalanine (an aid in suppressing the nervous stimulus of appetite) and the content of mucilage, a type of viscous fibers that favor the elimination of waste and the treatment of constipation .
Vitamins that contain algae
There are several vitamins and pro-vitamins that contain Algae.
They have vitamin C, vitamin E and pro-vitamin A, all of them with important anti-oxidant functions, protecting from free radicals, acting against aging and protecting the skin and mucous membranes.
Other vitamins that we highlight are pro-vitamin K (anti-hemorrhagic), B vitamins such as cyanocobalamin or B12 (important at the neurological level and for the manufacture of red blood cells).
A final and peculiar component of algae is alginic acid , which It helps to absorb heavy metals and waste products from the body (as well as certain fats and toxins), forming insoluble salts that are eliminated.