Algae As Functional Food The Preventing Disease Potential

Experts around the world have joined efforts to provide tools for international organisms as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization to make recommendations regarding the prevention of chronic diseases and the reduction of their impact. Information has been gathered, reviewed, and systematized in order to have an overview of the so-called noncommunicable diseases (NCD) (WHO, 2003). According to their report, changes in dietary and lifestyle patterns, chronic NCDs—including obesity, diabetes mellitus, CVD, hypertension and stroke, and some types of cancer—are becoming increasingly significant causes of disability and premature death. According to WHO statistics, in 2008, NCDs caused an estimated 36 million deaths worldwide, up from 35 million in 2004 (WHO, 2011). Among the causes of main chronic disease epidemics, unhealthy diet, excessive energy intake, over weight, and obesity are widely documented as major modifiable factors. As the global burden of chronic diseases have steadily increasing, there is growing interest on prevention to keep the world far from the leading global risks for mortality in the world: high blood pressure (BP), tobacco use, high blood glucose, physical inactivity,

TABLE 3.1 Nutrition facts about edible seaweeds


Nutritional facts


Fiber Fiber in Ulva lactuca (5.3 g) is as high as one of papaya (5.2 g) and in

Ulva rigida (4 g) is similar to bananas (3.9 g). Laminaria digitata and Enteromorpha sp. contain (3.6 g) slightly more fiber than a portion of rice brown (3.5 g), blueberries (3.5 g), or cooked mushrooms (3.4 g). Fiber in a portion of Porphyra umbilicalis, Porphyra tenera, Palmaria palmata, Ascophyllum nodosum, or Undaria pinnatifida is almost the same (3.3 g) as a portion of raw carrots (3.1 g), raw mangos (3.3 g), oranges (3.1 g), strawberries (3.3 g), or dates (3.3 g). In these algae, fiber content is higher than in a portion of nuts (2.8 g), wheat bran muffin (2.8 g), or a slice of both wheat and rye bread (2.8 g) or multigrain bread (1.9 g).

Calcium A portion of Caulerpa veravelensis provides 395 mg of calcium, an amount similar to the amount provided by a portion of a milk shake with thick chocolate (396 mg) or one portion of low fat milk (305 mg). Sargassum polycystum contains (360 mg) more calcium than a portion of low fat yogurt with fruit (345 mg), one of low fat milk enriched with A and D vitamins (305 mg) or one of plain yogurt made of whole milk (275 mg). Ulva lactuca, in one portion, has more calcium (257 mg) than a portion of cheese: swiss (224 mg), provolone (214 mg), (207 mg) or cheddar (204 mg).

Vitamin C Gelidiella aerosa has a vitamin C content (311 mg) higher than a glass of concentrated, undiluted, orange juice, which is the highest reported content of vitamin C (293.7 mg). Padina pavonica and Ulva reticulata have 242.25 and 232 mg respectively, higher than other raw juices: papaya (185 mg), orange(124 mg), grapefruit (94 mg), or a portion of strawberries (97.6 mg).

Wong and Cheung (2000), Taboada (2002)

Mac Artain et al. (2007), Matanjun et al. (2009), Kumar et al. (2011)

Chang et al., 1997, Matanjun et al. (2009), Mac Artain (2007), Anantharaman et al. (2011)

o-3 PUFA Seaweeds have small levels of lipids (1-5%), but they have high contents of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids; also have an n-6:n-3 ratio around 1. Sargassum polycystum provides 77.5 mg of o-3 and 75.6 of o-6; in a portion of Eucheuma cottoni, 256 and 26 mg of n-3 and n-6 respectively. Ulva lobata has 95 mg of n-3, 4 mg of n-6, and a 0.04 ratio. Palmaria palmate provides 85.5 mg of n-3 and 1.2 mg of n-6.

Potassium/ Seaweeds with a ratio (K/Na) equal to or higher than 2.0 and high Sodium potassium content (K): Laminaria digitata (3.2; K, 1159 mg),

Ratio Himanthalia elongata (2.25; K, 360 mg), Porphyra umbilicalis (2.5; K,

252 mg), Palmaria palmata (4.6; K, 694 mg), Enteromorpha sp. (6.8; K, 257 mg), Gracilaria corticata (3.3; K, 1334 mg), G. pudumadensis (1.9; K, 1087 mg), Sargassum myriocystum (2.2; K, 1153 mg) and S. polycystum (6.1; K, 8371 mg).

Matanjun et al. ( 2009), Nelson et al. (2002), van Ginneken et al., 2011

Sivakumar and Arunkumar (2009), Matanjun et al. (2009)

a A Portion 9.5 g/d (dry matter) for seaweed.

b For terrestrial foods, each portion is equivalent to standard food portions. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service 2010. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page. Available at: http:/

and overweight and obesity since they are considered to be responsible for raising the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancers.

Blood Pressure Health

Blood Pressure Health

Your heart pumps blood throughout your body using a network of tubing called arteries and capillaries which return the blood back to your heart via your veins. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart beats.Learn more...

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