The Many Uses of Seaweed

Seaweed in plates with text overlay that says The Many Uses of Seaweed

The Many Uses of Seaweed

Since ancient times, seaweeds have been a source of human food, but they are important to humanity for many reasons.

In South America, Australasia, The Middle East and of course Japan, China and Korea Seaweed has long been an important source of nutrition. Presently, however, due to the unique properties of seaweeds, they are increasingly being used for a variety of advanced applications globally. 

Nutritional components of seaweeds

Seaweeds are rich sources of vitamins and minerals and  widely used as health supplements.

  • Potassium. 98% of Americans are deficient in K. 
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorous
  • Iodine plays an important role in the functioning of the thyroid and helps in the prevention of goitre.
  • Low in calories
  • High in dietary fibers that are highly beneficial for the human gut system by promoting the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria.
  • Contain several beneficial compounds such as fucoxanthin, antioxidants, and polysaccharides. These are being studied for their potential as antibiotics, anti-tumour, laxatives, anticoagulants, anti-cancerous drugs, and medication.

Potential beneficial health properties of seaweeds

Polysaccharides from seaweeds can be used to reduce or replace added fats in foods in order to manufacture foods with reduced total fat content such as low-fat versions of meat-based and vegetable-based products. Additionally, fucoxanthin found in seaweeds has been found to help in the burning of fatty tissue and thus aiding in weight management. Some biologically active compounds found in seaweeds such as carotenoids and peptides have been shown to play a significant role in preventing chronic degenerative diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis. Other seaweed extracts can be used to improve the skin moisture retention properties of cosmetic products.

Improving the quality of food products using seaweed extracts

The addition of seaweeds extracts to some food products helps in eliminating or reducing the needs of artificial chemical preservatives. The bioactive compounds found in seaweeds are often referred to as functional ingredients due to their many beneficial health properties and prospective uses from food processing to and formulation of meat products. Due to the thickening properties of some polysaccharides found in seaweeds, they are used to thicken commercial foods such as sweets, sauces, and condiments. Other seaweed polysaccharides are used in the food industry to modify the texture of foods due to their gelling properties. 

Seaweed extracts used as food additives

Seaweeds have for years been used in Asian countries as additives in salads and soups. The extracts from seaweeds have been used in Japan to prepare and preserve fish and meat. Powdered seaweed can be used to improve the human digestion of beans and as a flavour-enhancer since it is a natural source of glutamic acid. Other water-soluble polysaccharides from seaweeds have been used to stabilize some food products such as ice cream where they help the ice cream maintain a smooth texture by inhibiting the formation of large ice crystals. 

Improving the shelf-life of food products using seaweed extracts

Seaweeds contains natural antioxidants that have been found to inhibit the lipid oxidation of fatty acids, which is a major problem in quality preservation of foods and can otherwise cause unpleasant smells in food products. In conducted studies, seaweeds have been identified to improve the shelf-life of bread by two days. Seaweed extracts have replaced chemical preservatives in the preservation of tilapia fish with no change of odour or taste of the tilapia. More importantly, the fish remained preserved with the same quality standard used for the chemical preservatives.

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We make no medical claims. But we all understand seaweed is healthy. What you may not know is that peer reviewed scientific papers have shown in countless studies on humans, animals and in test tubes that seaweed is healthy. Biosea Health provides Pacific Seamoss© as a simple way to consume food. Simply good healthy food.