How Seaweed Could Protect Your Heart

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It’s one of those health secrets for only those in the know. And those people have for the most part come from Asia. A new study has shone some more light on what is indeed a “superfood.” It is seaweed, and other macroalgae, and as a group they are the focus of new health breakthroughs. They have just been found to be an extreme source of heart-healthy ingredients.

This news may be especially appealing to vegetarians and vegans. Scientists have identified seaweed as a rich, new potential source of heart-healthy food ingredients. Seaweed and other macroalgae could rival milk products as sources of these “bioactive peptides,” the researchers conclude in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.”

Researchers found that bioactive peptides, now obtained mainly from milk products, are increasingly being used in what marketers call “functional foods.” Those foods not only provide nutrition, but also have a medicine-like effect in treating or preventing certain diseases.

Seaweeds are a rich but neglected alternative source of a bounty of amazing nutrients. Others who live oceans away have eaten seaweed for centuries; “nori” in Japan, “dulse” in coastal Europe, and even “limu palahalaha” in native Hawaiian cuisine are just three examples.

One of the reasons that seaweed is so colossally nutritious is where it lives. It sits in water, soaking up the mineral content of that body of water. When you consume the food, you consume all the incredible nutrients that naturally occur in the world’s waters.

The study was a review of about 100 trials, which is the type of study that can arrive at a thorough conclusion. It concluded that some seaweed proteins work just like the bioactive peptides in milk products to reduce blood pressure, almost like commonly prescribed ACE inhibitor drugs.

The variety of macroalga species, where they are found, and the ease of cultivation make seaweed a new and potentially important source of bioactive compounds. Find seaweed in various forms in most grocery stores and, to the greatest extent, in Asian-themed shops.