Algae – Their Nutritional Values ​​and Ways Of Eating

Given its high vitamin and mineral content, algae consumption can be very beneficial in treating anemia and other nutrient deficiencies.

Surely you have already read a recipe in which one of the ingredients was  algae. Have you asked yourself how are they consumed? Where can you buy them? Do you have to cook them? In this article, we are going to talk about how to consume algae. We will also learn about the nutrients of this product, which is more and more often present in popular cuisine.

Different types of algae

Algae appear more and more frequently in gastronomic offer all over the world. The first thing we should know before consuming algae is that they can be divided into three large groups: brown, red, and blue.

Brown algae

  • Nori: laver, sloke, ova marina and slake. They are rich in protein and vitamin A. They can be combined with fried foods.
  • Nishime Kombu: carweed, tangle and wrack. They contain potassium and iodine, thanks to which they give the dishes a sweetish taste.
  • Ito Wakame: Combine well with cooked vegetables and provide calcium, vitamins B and C, and potassium.
  • Hijiki: They are very good as an addition to root vegetables such as carrots or beets. They have large amounts of potassium, calcium and iron.
  • Arame: It has a soft texture and delicate flavor, and is also rich in iodine and calcium.
  • Alaria: dabberlock, murlins and wing keep. They are rich in minerals and vitamins. They are used in the preparation of soups.

Red algae

  • Dulse: They combine perfectly with cooked cereals and provide iron, phosphorus and potassium.
  • Agar-agar: shiro kanten. It is a kind of soft and very nutritious gelatin with a lot of fiber.
  • Carragaheen: moss from Ireland. It has high amounts of complex carbohydrates as well as calcium and potassium.

Blue algae

  • Spirulina: Rich in amino acids and proteins. It is often sold in the form of tablets or a powder that can be added to cereals, yoghurt, juice or milk.

Tips for preparing seaweed

Before consuming the algae, it is recommended to soak them first.

  • If the algae have too much salt or sand, wash them with plenty of cold water.
  • All algae, no matter what group they belong to, must be soaked for at least 20 minutes for their size and volume to increase up to 7 times their original size.
  • Green algae after soaking can be cut into strips in the same direction as they grow. The red ones can be chopped, boiled whole, or dry crushed, and the agar-agar allows you to “freely” cut before or after soaking.

Culinary tips

  • Wakame, nori, chlorella, kelp, spirulina and dulse algae can be eaten without cooking.
  • Kombu algae require at least 45 minutes to soak, followed by half an hour of cooking. The resulting bouillon can be used in soups and sauces or for cooking vegetables for a different flavor.
  • Hijiki algae are better eaten in the winter months. Since they have a very strong flavor, they are used in small amounts. They can be used as an addition to soups, stews or puddings. They should be soaked for 30 minutes and boiled for the same amount. It is not recommended to reheat them.
  • Wakame seaweed, on the other hand, can be used in dozens of dishes, it is the essence of miso soup ingredients. They need about 15 minutes to rehydrate and 10 minutes to cook. They can also be eaten raw in salads.
  • For nori algae, they don’t need to be soaked and can be eaten roasted using a pan directly over the fire until you get a golden-green shade of the algae. Then, cut them into pieces with scissors and crush them with your hand (when they have cooled slightly). They are served as sprinkles for soups or added to cereals.
  • Kanten algae are mainly used in cold sauces, creams, puddings, salads. They can also be used as a base for fruit jellies or to thicken soups and stews.

Why it is good to eat algae

They have high nutritional values

  • They are good for diabetics. They taste sweet, but contain complex sugars, so they do not raise blood glucose levels.
  • They are excellent food for vegetarians. Since they offer large amounts of protein, they are a very interesting dietary option for vegans and vegetarians. Spirulina also offers more of these nutrients than eggs, fish and meat.
  • They are effective against hypertension: they regulate the cardiovascular system and help fight high blood pressure.

They keep our body healthy

  • They improve eyesight: due to the high content of vitamin A. Nori type algae and spirulina are recommended.
  • They soothe coughs: they are also very good at treating colds and flu. In traditional medicine, they are used in the form of a tonic for the respiratory system, to which honey and lemon juice are added.
  • Keeps skin and hair healthy: thanks to the high content of vitamin A (more than in wheat germ), known as the beauty and longevity vitamin. Some algae also contain zinc, which is effective in treating acne. Still others add shine to your hair.
  • They are good for bones and teeth: dry hijiki algae have 15 times more calcium than milk. Like spirulina and wakame, they are recommended for the prevention of osteoporosis or as an adjunct to repairing a broken bone.

They support the work of the digestive system

  • They help digestion and intestinal peristalsis: if eaten together with vegetables, because of their fiber content. The same thing happens if we eat them in fried foods as the algae allow for better digestion.
  • They cleanse the intestines: they have unique cleansing properties for this organ due to their alginic acid content. It eliminates toxins that build up in the walls of the colon. Algae are used as a natural remedy for colitis.
  • They lower cholesterol: because they contain 5% unsaturated fat, which helps lower the level of “bad” cholesterol, and they do not contain saturated fat. The fiber content also helps to reduce fiber.

After knowing all the benefits that algae can bring to our health, we encourage you to eat algae more often. You can include them in traditional dishes or create unique dishes based on these sea vegetables. Try them in your kitchen!

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