Niranjan Rajapakse1 and SeKwon Kimt

Contents I. Seaweed as a Food 18

II. Intervention of Seaweed to Enhance

Human Nutrition 18

A. Carbohydrates 19

B. Proteins 19

C. Lipids 20

D. Vitamins 20

E. Minerals 21

III. Dietary Fiber in Seaweed Helps to

Ameliorate Digestive Health 21

A. Reduces the risk of colorectal cancer 23

B. Suppresses gastrointestinal inflammation 23

C. Encourages the action of probiotics 24

IV. Nutrition-Related other Health Benefits of Seaweed 25

A. Reduction of obesity by bringing down the caloric value of the diet 25

B. Reduction of lipid absorption and cardiovascular diseases 26

C. Influence on glycemic control 26 References 27

Abstract Seaweed is a famous delicacy in some parts of the Asia and also a well-known source of important food hydrocolloids, such as agar, alginates, and carrageenan. In addition to the food value of seaweed,

* Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

{ Marine Bioprocess Research Center, Pukyong National University, Busan, Republic of Korea { Department of Chemistry, Pukyong National University, Busan, Republic of Korea 1 Corresponding author: Niranjan Rajapakse, E-mail address: [email protected]

Advances in Food and Nutrition Research, Volume 64 © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

ISSN 1043-4526, DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-387669-0.00002-8 Ail rights reserved.

several health benefits have also been reported to be present in this valuable food source. It is presumed that the unique features of the marine environment, where the seaweeds are grown, are mainly responsible for most of its properties. Among the functional effects of the seaweed, nutritional and health-related benefits have been widely studied. Compared to the terrestrial plants and animal-based foods, seaweed is rich in some health-promoting molecules and materials such as, dietary fiber, o-3 fatty acids, essential amino acids, and vitamins A, B, C, and E. In this chapter, the nutritive value of seaweed and the functional effects of its soluble fiber are discussed with a special reference to the digestive health promotion of human.

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