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TODAY, IT IS PROVEN THAT THERE IS A CORRELATION BETWEEN FOOD AND HEALTH AND THAT, SIMPLE DIETARY CHANGES, CAN PREVENT MANY PATHOLOGIES
The human body is made up of about one hundred billion cells, which are continually renewed, and this number remains constant throughout much of our lives.
However, as we age, both the number of cells and their activity decrease. And what happens in our body ?:
- That proteins, carbohydrates and lipids supply the body with the calories necessary for cell reproduction
- That vitamins, minerals and trace elements (essential substances necessary for the intracellular combustion process to occur) provide the body with energy.
When you eat a diet that is denatured and devoid of vital substances, you are preventing the normal metabolism of calories, which leads to weight gain.
In contrast, a good diet, properly balanced, provides calories (energy), but also vital substances to maintain the body’s homeostasis
Claiming that a particular food cures a disease is not true and is, to say the least, risky. However, the whole diet is what determines our nutritional status, so it is this nutritional status, ultimately, which is decisive for health.
Seaweed contains all the vitamins, enzymes, minerals and trace elements that our body needs. But these sea vegetables are not only a complete food, they have also been proven to have multiple nutritional and medicinal properties.
Seaweed, along with turmeric, ginger, lemon, garlic, onion, celery, carrot and some other natural foods, constitute the elite of foods with therapeutic properties.
THERAPEUTIC PROPERTIES OF ALGAE
Algae are attributed numerous therapeutic virtues, some of them would be (Pérez, Mateos and Rupérez, 2016; Ventura, Rodrigues, Falcão and Alves, 2018):
- They constitute a good nutritional supplement
- Detoxify and remove heavy metals from the body
- They stimulate the endocrine system and rebalance the body
- They promote circulation
- They protect the mucous membranes and lubricate them
- They strengthen the immune system
- Regulate the level of blood glucose, cholesterol and uric acid
- They are antioxidants (and therefore anti-aging)
- They are laxatives and antiseptics
- They reinforce comfort and intestinal health
- They are adjuvants in weight loss diets.
ALGAE IN NUTRITION
From a nutritional point of view, algae are characterized by their low caloric content, since although they are rich in protein, they have very small amounts of fat.
Many of them contain essential amino acids similar to legumes or eggs. In addition, a large part of carbohydrates are polysaccharides that are not digestible by digestive enzymes, so they promote intestinal transit.
On the other hand, they present significant amounts of minerals, due to their ability to selectively absorb inorganic substances from the sea through their surface polysaccharides. The algae most commonly used as food (except Nori algae), present higher levels of magnesium than others of vegetable origin (such as legumes, carrots, oranges and apples) and others of animal origin (as is the case of meat, fish and dairy). As we know, magnesium (Ventura, Rodrigues, Falcão and Alves, 2018):
- It is essential for the correct assimilation of calcium and vitamin C
- Balances the central nervous system, as it helps in the transmission of nerve impulses, and
- Increases bile secretion.
The calcium and phosphorus contents are higher than in some fruits (such as apple or orange), and the calcium / phosphorus ratio is high, so calcium absorption is not limited by the formation of insoluble calcium phosphate salts.
Calcium is important in the formation of bones, connective tissue and muscles and is essential for good blood circulation. For its part, phosphorus is a constituent element of the structure of bones, it is part of the membranes of cells and nervous tissue.
Likewise, most algae also contain significant amounts of iodine, which is essential for thyroid function. On the other hand, the sodium content of algae is high, which should be taken into account by people who have to control the consumption of salt in the diet (Ventura, Rodrigues, Falcão & Alves, 2018).
Algae also usually stand out for their content in vitamins B1, B2, A and C and some even have B12, which is not present in terrestrial vegetables, which makes them a valuable complement to a vegetarian or vegan diet.
In the same way, it is worth noting its high fiber content, something that can determine the main nutritional effects and usefulness of these foods. For Babio, Balanza, Basulto, Bulló and Salas (2010) and Sánchez-Muñiz (2012), the most significant physical properties of dietary fiber are viscosity and the ability to retain water, fat, bile salts and mineral salts. The fiber provided by algae is extremely beneficial, insofar as (Cheong, Qiu, Du, Liu and Khan, 2018):
- Produces delayed gastric emptying,
- Contributes to the increase in fecal mass,
- Slows down digestion, and
- Decreases the absorption of some nutrients.
Among the systemic effects of fiber, it is worth highlighting the lipid-lowering role of some types of fiber and the lower postprandial insulin release. Finally, the fiber of algae also has associated bioactive compounds that have antioxidant activity and capture free radicals in the body (Sánchez-Muñiz, 2012).
In addition, algae have high doses of iron, essential to supply oxygen and energy to our body. All these benefits make them a superfood.
Babio, N., Balanza, R., Basulto, J., Bulló, M. and Salas-Salvadó, J. (2010). Dietary fiber: influence on body weight, glycemic control and plasma cholesterol profile. Nutr. Hosp., 25 (1), 327-340.
Cheong, KL., Qiu, HM., Du, H., Liu, Y. and Khan, B. (2018). Oligosaccharides Derived from Red Seaweed: Production, Properties, and Potential Health and Cosmetic Applications. Molecules, 23 (10), pii: E2451.
Huang, X. (2010). Advances in Polysaccharides Extraction from Medicinal Plants. Xiandai Huagon / Modern Chemical Industry, 12 (1), 32-36.
Jiao, G., Yu, G., Zhang, J. and Ewart, H. S. (2011). Chemical structures and bioactivities of sulfated polysaccharides from marine algae. Marine Drugs, 9 (2), 196-233.
Pérez, E., Mateos, I. and Rupérez, P. (2016). Low molecular weight carbohydrates released from Okara by enzymatic treatment under high hydrostatic pressure. Innov. Food Sci. Emerg. Technol., 38 (1), 76-82.
Pérez, E., Veses, AM., Redondo, N., Tenorio, MD., Villanueva, MJ., Redondo, A., Marcos, A., Nova, E., Mateos, I. and Rupérez, P. ( 2018). Soybean Okara modulates gut microbiota in rats fed a high-fat diet. Bioactive Carbohydrates and Dietary Fiber, 16 (1), 100-107.
Sánchez-Muñiz, F.J. (2012). Dietary fiber and cardovascular healt. Hospital Nutrition, 27 (1), 31-45.
Ventura, S., Rodrigues, M., Falcão, A., and Alves, G. (2018). Safety evidence on the adm