Nutrition

The 3 best seaweeds for your health and how to prepare them

Seaweed is truly the prototype of the ideal food for health. In the sea, they absorb nutrients through all their anatomical structures (much like a sponge).

For this reason, almost all the essential minerals are found there: iodine, potassium, iron and calcium (some algae contain up to ten times more calcium than cow’s milk and 5 times more iron than spinach !). They also contain a large amount of protein and all the essential amino acids, vitamins and a high fiber content, which can reach nearly 50% of their dry weight. They also contain little fat and these are largely omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, present in an ideal ratio of 1:1. Some red algae even have the characteristic of containing long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, fats with extremely beneficial effects in countering the development of several diseases and which are normally found only in certain fatty fish.

The amazing anti-cancer properties of seaweed

Not only do they taste good, but they are also good for your health. Certain studies indicate that the addition of seaweed extracts to the diet of laboratory animals significantly reduces the development of several cancers caused by carcinogenic substances, such as those of the breast, colon and skin. These anticancer properties are largely related to the high content of fucoxanthin and fucoidane in seaweed, two compounds that interfere with several processes essential to the growth of cancer cells.

Fucoidane is a complex polymer of sugar found in very large quantities in certain seaweeds, in particular kombu and wakame. This molecule prevents the growth of a wide variety of cancer cells cultured in the laboratory and even causes the death of these cells through the process of apoptosis. In addition to this cytotoxic activity, it appears that fucoidane may also positively impact immune function by reducing inflammation while increasing the activity of the “good” immune system, thus creating a more hostile environment for cancer cells, which restricts their growth.

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Fucoxanthin is a yellow pigment from the carotenoid family (carotene, lycopene, etc.). Of all the dietary carotenoids tested so far, fucoxanthin is the one that demonstrates the strongest anticancer activity, both in laboratory animals and in cells isolated from human tumors, and which appears to be particularly active against cancer cells. of the prostate. This inhibitory effect is even much greater than that of lycopene, a carotenoid found mainly in tomatoes and which has long been proposed to play a preventive role in the development of prostate cancer. Since seaweed is the only dietary source of fucoxanthin, there is no doubt that these plants should be part of any dietary cancer prevention strategy.

In summary, seaweed should not be considered as simple culinary curiosities, but rather as true preventive foods against cancer capable of counteracting the progression of latent microtumors, both by acting directly on their growth and by reducing inflammation. , and can thus make the conditions less conducive to the development of these microtumors into cancer.

Which seaweed to choose and how to prepare them?

To reap the benefits of seaweed, use dried seaweed that you can rehydrate and add to your soups or meals. The three most common algae are:

– paddle

– wakame, delicious in soups and salads, especially with a vinaigrette made from rice vinegar and sesame oil

– nori, the seaweed used to make sushi.

There are now already made preparations of seaweed salad in organic shops, and these products are a simple way to learn about the unique taste of these foods. Moreover, the taste of seaweed marries admirably well with that of fish, why not put a touch of exoticism on your plate and make it a regular side dish?

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