Article by Janet Wang for South China Morning Post
Many people have difficulty distinguishing between healthy and unhealthy food, but researchers say by adding seaweed to processed foods we can make food healthier and tastier, and also reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
It can be as simple as substituting dried and granulated seaweed for some of the flour when producing food such as dry pasta, bread, pizza and snack bars – with as little as a 5 % replacement needed. Seaweed is highly concentrated in all nutrients needed to be healthy: beneficial proteins, antioxidants, minerals, trace elements, dietary fibre and polyunsaturated fatty acids. As much as the nutrients themselves, it is the balance of them, as well as unique compounds in seaweed, that make a difference.
Salt replacement – Danish researchers say that seaweed salt is much healthier salt because the potassium content does not lead to high blood pressure – unlike usual sodium salts. On the culinary side, seaweed has umami – ‘the fifth taste’, which furthers and balance flavours, reducing the need for salt, sugar and fat in meals.
Fibre – Previous research has shown that dietary fibre from brown algae boosts the sensation of satiety, thereby making people eat less and lose more weight, and that fucoxanthin in brown seaweed appears to promote weight loss by reducing the accumulation of fat.
“It is difficult to determine how much seaweed a person should consume to benefit from its good qualities. a few grams a day is my estimate,” says Mouritsen, who has authored several books on seaweed as food.
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