Seaweed, the next Superfood?

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 25th July 2011

Seaweed has tremendous potential as a source for new functional foods, according to new research published in the current issue of the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.

Scientists have found that seaweed and other ‘microalgae’ could rival milk products as sources of ‘bioactive peptides’, proteins which reduce blood pressure almost like popular ACE inhibitor drugs.

“The variety of macroalgae species and the environments in which they are found and their ease of cultivation make macroalgae a relatively untapped source of new bioactive compounds,” said Maria Hayes, one of the authors of the research.

“More efforts are needed to fully exploit their potential for use and delivery to consumers in food products.”

Seaweed has been eaten by people in East Asia and other cultures for centuries. This research reveals its potential as a functional food, especially for vegetarians who might not consume dairy products.

Australia has barely skimmed the surface of its seaweed food resources around its coast, or the potential of its algae ponds in the hot Australian inland.