Seavegetables for Food and Nutrition

Content by Great SeaVegetables (©2001) c/o david@surialink.com

 Sea vegetables are used as vegetables or spices due to their color, texture, aroma, mouth-feel and taste.

Sea vegetables are very versatile cooking ingredients. They can be used as cold entrees [taboule, salads, cocktails], hot entrees [soup stock, stews, chowders, quiches, omelets, etc.], fish and seafood, meats, sauces, sandwiches, desserts, drinks, etc.

 Sea vegetables are used for their nutrients:

>> Minerals:  Ca, P, Mg, Fe, Na, K, & Cl
>> Oligo-elements:  Zn, Cu, Mn, I, Se, Mo, Cr
>> Vitamins:  A, B complex (B1, B2, B5, B6, B12, Niacin & Folic Acid), C & E
>> Amino Acids, Anti-Radical Groups, Aromatic compounds, etc.

 Sea vegetables uses range from sea-spice to sea-salad.  They are also used for their texturizing properties (e.g. gelling, viscosifying, suspending and hydrating actions).

Seavegetable genera used in food and nutrition

GREEN RED BROWN
Caulerpa Chondrus Alaria
Codium Eucheuma Ascophyllum
Enteromorpha Gigartina Durvillaea
Monostroma Gracilaria Eisenia
 Ulva Hypnea Fucus
  Lithothamnion Himanthalia
  Meristotheca Hizikia
  Palmaria Laminaria
  Porphyra Macrocystis
    Sargassum
    Undaria

SEAVEGETABLES' NUTRITIONAL IMPORTANCE

MINERALS

Calcium [Ca].  Bones and teeth structure. Muscle contractions. Cofactor for extracellular enzyme and proteins.

Phosphorous [P].  Critical component in every body cell. Bone and membrane component. Essential energy carrier [ATP].

Magnesium [Mg].  Involved in more than 300 metabolic reactions [enzymatic regulation of lipid , carbohydrate and protein metabolism]. Important in cardiovascular function.

Iron [Fe].  It is the key element in all living organisms. Regulates lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. Critical in oxygen transport in the blood.

Sodium [Na].  Electrolyte balance.

Potassium [K]. Electrolyte balance.

Chlorine [Cl]. Electrolyte balance.

OLIGO-ELEMENTS

Zinc [Zn].  Involved in catalytic, structural and regulatory functions. Stabilizes membranes, hormones and nucleic acids.

Copper [Cu].  Cofactor in multiple enzymes. Connective tissue formation. Blood clothing. Energy conversion. Pigmentation of hair, skin and eyes.

Iodine [I].  Essential in thyroid’s hormone function. Critical in the brain development in fetus and infants.

Selenium [ Se].  Present in Selenoproteins. Protects against oxidative injuries.

Chromium [Cr].  Regulates the function of insulin. Affects lipid metabolism.

VITAMINS

Retinol [A].  Required for healthy eye function. Necessary for fetal development. Strengthens the immune system.

Thiamin [B1].  Necessary in nerve transmission. Its deficiency affects the cardiovascular, muscular, nervous and gastrointestinal systems.

Riboflavin [B2]. As a coenzyme it participates in the redox reactions in the production of energy via the respiratory pathway.

Niacin [B3].  Function as nucleotide precursors which are key components in redox reactions.

Pyridoxine [B6].  It has numerous complex functions: Sugar and fat metabolism, synthesis of neurotransmitters, hormone regulator, etc.

Cobalamin [B12].  Functions as a coenzyme. Its deficiency causes anemia and neuropathy.

Pteroylglutamic acid [Folic Acid].  Required for DNA synthesis. Involved in protein and fat synthesis. Its deficiency causes neural damage.

Ascorbic Acid [C].  It functions as a protective antioxidant, necessary for the synthesis of connective tissue, important in neurotransmitter synthesis, involved in the regulation of iron metabolism, etc. There are indications that it strengthens the immune system, lower the risk of cancer and heart diseases.

Tocopherol [E].  Functions as an anti-oxidant and prevents damage to membranes. protects PUFA.

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