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4 other new varieties of algae, Kombu, Irish Moss, Nori and Wakame
We have already exposed, in the two previous posts, first the culinary and therapeutic analysis of the Agar-Agar, Arame, Cochayuyo algae, and then the Dulse, Spaghetti de Mar, Fucus and Iziki.
We will continue to expose the immense properties of the most popular algae (algae that we can easily find and add to our diet), given the enormous benefits that we can extract from them.
We hope that our contribution is useful, to all those interested in the properties and benefits of algae, the superfood that is beginning to be recognized as it should. Let’s go to it!
The variants that we will analyze are the kombu, moss from Ireland, Nori and Wakame algae
KOMBU (Laminaria ochroleuca)
It is a brown seaweed, one of the most appreciated among all algae, and in a special way in the Far East. It is very rich in magnesium, iodine, calcium, alginic acid and vitamins A, B2, C, D and E. Of fleshy consistency, they are used in the kitchen to give flavor or, simply, as another vegetable.
Its glutamic acid has the property of softening the fiber of other foods. A strip of kombu seaweed, cooked with legumes, will not only take away the hardness more quickly (thus reducing cooking time), but will also improve its flavor and increase the digestibility of the dish.
In addition, it has two simple sugars: fucose and mannitol, of great importance for diabetics, since they do not increase the level of blood sugar (Quiroz-González, León-Álvarez and Rivas-Acuña, 2018).
In the kitchen: Normally, it is eaten boiled, since it has a thin layer of white powder on its dense surface. With a damp cloth you have to remove this thin white layer, and let it soak for a few minutes. After that, it can be cooked with other vegetables, with legumes or with cereals.
In health: Helps eliminate cholesterol, promotes blood pressure control, stimulates the lymphatic system, promotes the distribution of nutrients in the body, speeds up the work of the intestines and facilitates the removal of metals, such as strontium and cadmium
IRISH MOSS (Chondrus crispus)
It is a red algae, reminiscent of a bush. It grows between 15 and 30 centimeters, forming a carpet on the rocks, below the water level. Its appearance is that of a very segmented leaf, and its name is because it began to be used in Ireland in the first third of the 19th century (Carmona and Beltrán, 2007).
In Spain it can be found on all the Atlantic coasts. It should be washed very carefully before cooking to remove any shell fragment that may be attached to it. In addition, and as Guerrero (2013) postulates, we can consider that in the Moss of Ireland the component that stands out the most is the mucilage, present in 80% of what is used as a thickener. And, since it contains a lot of soluble fiber, it is emollient and laxative.
It is also very rich in mineral salts, especially iodine, being a good source of vitamins A and C, and is able to absorb a large amount of water (MacArtain, Gill, Brooks, Campbell & Rowland, 2007).
In the kitchen: Ireland’s moss has a fairly neutral taste, which is why its priority use is basically to be a thickener and enrich soups, purees or desserts. If it is heated and allowed to cool it is gelatinized. This gelatinous property, like that of agar-agar, derives from its high content of polysaccharide starches.
In health: It is a good expectorant, effective against cough and bronchial colds. Fights chronic constipation, as well as diarrheal processes and urinary disorders. It absorbs x-rays and radioactive elements accumulated in the body, and strengthens the immune system (Knutsen, Myslabodski, Larsen & Usov, 1994).
NORI (Porphyra umbilicalis, tenera and yeyoensis)
Nori seaweed is one of the most popular algae. It is easy to prepare and has a wide variety of uses and is comparable to Sea Lettuce. In Galicia, at low tide, it can be picked dry, and in Japan it is grown and made in pressed sheets.
It has an intense but pleasant taste. To preserve its delicate flavor and prevent moisture absorption, it must always be stored in dry and tightly sealed containers.
Nori is an important source of vitamins A, B1 and C, a good contribution of proteins and minerals, in addition to providing a good dose of chlorophyll. It also contains a form of oil that prevents hardening of the arteries. And its amino acid content makes it highly recommended to lower high blood pressure.
In the kitchen: Normally, this seaweed is a bright purple-black color, and is usually used as an ornament in cereal dishes, in soups and with vegetables. In sheets it is used as normally as roll to wrap fillings (as used in the well-known sushi). In sandwiches, it is delicious, as well as in salads or combined with tofu, eggs or vegetables.
In health: Nori algae favors the dissolution and elimination of fatty deposits, prevents arteriosclerosis and helps control hypertension. Also indicated for people suffering from asthenia and highly recommended for digestive problems (Gammone and D’Orazio, 2015).
It is the second most consumed brown seaweed in the world (as the first is the Kombu), being native to Japan. It grows in the low estuaries, in areas of fast moving currents.
It has the shape of a giant oak leaf, is greenish brown, and can measure up to a meter and a half. It is rich in Omega3, vitamins, minerals and proteins.
It prevents obesity and is antidiabetic (Gammone and D’Orazio, 2015), as it decreases insulin resistance, as specified in this Italian study. It is abundant in calcium, magnesium and iron, and very rich in vitamin C and B (Lockwood, 2011).
In the kitchen: It is one of the most suitable algae to start using marine vegetables, due to its great versatility. Combine well with rice and other cereals, as a filling, also with vegetables and soups, or sauteed with onions, or simply boiled and seasoned with oil. You just have to chop it and cook it for 15 minutes. If you prefer to eat curda, as a salad, it is enough to soak it and serve it with cucumber and lemon juice, or with a vinegar dressing, providing a very refreshing taste.
In health: It is ideal for purifying and strengthening the blood and is very appropriate for postpartum recovery. It is used in diets for hypertensive patients and in the treatment of heart disease. It has detoxifying properties and reduces radioactive waste and heavy metals accumulated in the body (Guerrero, 2013).
Carmona, J. and Beltrán, Y.P. (2007). Red seaweed from inland waters in the central region of Mexico. Mexico: UNAM. ISBN 9703252257.
Gammone, M.A. and D’Orazio, N. (2015). Anti-obesity activity of the marine carotenoid fucoxanthin. Mar Drugs, 13 (4), 2196-2214. DOI: 10.3390 / md13042196.
Guerrero, R. (2013). How algae heal. Barcelona: RBA Editorial
Knutsen, S. H., Myslabodski, D. E., Larsen, B., & Usov, A. I. (1994). A modified system of nomenclature for red algal galactans. Botanica Marina, 37 (2), 163.
Lockwood, B. (2011). The quality of commercially available herbal products. J. Pharmacy and Pharmacol, 63 (1), 3-10.
MacArtain, P., Gill, C. I. R., Brooks, M., Campbell, R., & Rowland, I. R. (2007). Nutritional value of edible seaweeds. Nutrition reviews, 65 (12), 535-543.
Quiroz-González, N., León-Álvarez, D. and Rivas-Acuña, M. G. (2018). Biodiversity of red seaweed (Rhodophyta) in Tabasco, Mexico. Mexican Botanic Act 123 (1), 103-120. DOI: http: //dx.doi. org / 10.21829 / abm123.2018.1253