What are Seaweeds?

Seaweeds, also called sea vegetables, are greatly appreciated in a healthy diet for their contributions in minerals, vitamins and trace elements. Certain species of seaweeds in lakes and rivers are also consumed, especially for its cleansing properties. 

The consumption of seaweed in the Pacific Islands, in China, in Japan and in other coastal areas and lakes and rivers dates from very old. In the Western diet, it is in recent decades when the seaweeds have been incorporated to diet of many people. First, were those who followed a vegetarian diet and after, through spreading that has been making its many beneficial properties, vegetarian and not vegetarian have currently included in their soups, cereals, vegetables, salads, desserts ...

Algas Marinas fotografía de Ed Bierman

Sea vegetables photo by de Ed Bierman - Creative Commons

Every time we find more recipes in which the seaweed is present providing an intense sea flavor, giving color to a boring salad and we can easily find specialized books on algae, their characteristics, the benefits to our health and the different forms of cook them.

Algae can be red, green or brown, depending on the depth at which they are. Green are in shallower areas, brown in intermediate zones and red are in deeper areas.

The can be purchased at health food stores and natural food stores, mostly of them are sold dried and they kept in perfect condition for a long time. As discussed in paragraph How to cook seaweed for consumption, rehydrate is usual so it is a product that goes a long way and is not as expensive as it seems. Certain algae like Kelp, the Fucus, or Spirulina are marketed in tablets or pills for use as a dietary supplement.



Let's look at the properties that make it so interesting seaweeds for consumption and some of its most prominent components: 

  • Iodine, this mineral is an important regulator of metabolic function, and therefore part of the algae that makes it particularly suitable for people with hypothyroidism. Also acts beneficially on the sex glands, which dysfunction in many cases generates produce blood pressure problems. 

  • Other minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, besides being essential for metabolic function have an alkalizing effect on the blood. 

  • Vitamins of the groups A, B, C, E and K (varying levels depending on every alga). 

  • They are also rich in amino acids

  • Trace elements as zinc, silicon and chromium.

Algas Marinas secándose al sol fotografía de Emilio Sáez

Seaweeds drying in the sun Photo by Emilio Sáez - Creative Commons

Moreover, taking into account the presence of iodine as sodium alginate, is considered algae like chelating substances that they are combined in our body with heavy metals, radioactive and toxic metals helping your disposal, so they are especially suitable for smoking, people undergoing in a radiation treatment, etc.. 

To make matters worse, not only are diuretic and are low in fat but help dissolve and remove fatty deposits from the body. 

According to the parameters of Traditional Chinese Medicine, algae have a cool thermal nature, unclog stagnant liver, activate chi of the liver, as well as ancient Chinese texts it is said that "there is no swelling that is not relieved by seaweed".

Article written by Shauri.