Undersea superfoods making waves

Undersea superfoods making waves

(Posted on 17/06/16)

Japan is home to the oldest population in the world, with the number of centenarians topping 60,000 in 2015, a record high for the 45th year straight, according to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. What’s more, the obesity rate in Japan is 3.2% - 10 times less than in the US.

One of their secrets: Sea Greens.

This badly kept secret is fast catching on in other countries around the world. The European market for sea vegetables, estimated at around €24 million in 2013, is expected to continue growing at around 7-10% per annum in coming years, according to a recent report by Organic Monitor.

Not only are sea greens attracting attention for their nutritional benefits, they hold sustainable values close to the environmentally friendly consumer’s heart.

Even celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has described seaweed as ‘dynamite’ and ‘the most nutritious vegetable in the world’. Seaweed has earned its superior superfood status from containing more vitamin C than an orange, being filled with calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, omegas and iodine and boasting anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

What’s more, it’s a natural hunger suppressant; the natural fibre, chlorophyll and water in the seaweed rehydrates and fills the stomach making you less likely to snack, as well as aiding the body to burn off fat quicker – a win win!

There are many varieties of seaweed including kelp, nori, hijki, kombu, wakame and arame to name a few. The majority of which contain similar health benefits.

Kelp, a popular 2016 superfood is said to be ‘the new kale’. Still a staple food in Asian cuisine, kelp is a natural source of essential minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. It is brown in colour, found in shallow seawaters around the world and can be eaten raw, cooked, powdered and in supplements. Seaweeds such as Kelp are one the best sources of iodine, an essential component to thyroid hormone production, needed for energy levels and brain function.

For sushi fans out there, ever wondered what qualities the dried edible seaweed sheets enveloping sushi rolls has? One sheet of nori contains as much fiber as a cup of spinach and more omega fatty acids than a cup of avocado, despite containing less than 10 calories per sheet compared to an avocado’s 368 calories. One of the main benefits of nori is the high level of protein it contains, which makes up 50% of its dried weight, the equivalent to meat or eggs.

Dulse is said to contain eight times the amount of iron as beef, which makes it the food with the richest source of iron according to alternatively healthy.

Arame, a woman’s best friend, is a mild and sweet seaweed variation and has been said to regulate hormones, increase libido, assist female fertility and ease PMS symptoms.

Cornelius distributes Carrageenan from CEAMSA (Compañía Española de Algas Marinas S.A.). Carrageenan is a natural hydrocolloid with unique functionalities and extracted from selected species of red seaweed. The unique Carrageenan product range has specific functionalities for an array of applications from meat and confectionery to pharmaceuticals.

CEAMSA also manufactures Alginate, a natural hydrocolloid extract from cold water brown seaweed. Alginate acts as thickening, stabilizing and gelling agent.  The CEAMSA alginate product range includes Rapid, Medium Rapid and Slow Setting alginate types that can be used in various applications, including meat and non-meat foods.

Sea greens are increasingly being adopted in food supplements thanks to their superfood status. For example, organic superfood nutritional supplement, Troo-Nourish Supers Powder, contains Wheatgrass, Pre-Sprouted Barley, Spirulina Barley Grass, Acai Berry and Organic kelp.

Brands are beginning to realise the power of the sea greens and adopt them into their products ranges. Nakedjuice currently have a ‘Green machine’ smoothy that contains spirulina, chlorella and algae, amongst other ingredients.

It isn’t too late to ride the wave of these deep-sea treasures and begin implementing them into your daily diet. Including sea vegetables in the daily diet, just as you would broccoli or spinach, can be of great benefit to your health whilst allowing you keep a clear conscience about their source.

To help you take the first steps, take a look at some cooking advice and creative recipe ideas from Vegetarian Times and Veg Kitchen.

For more information on CEAMSA and Carrageenan, please contact Sophie Malyon on +44 (0) 1279 714 300 or sophie.malyon@cornelius.co.uk.