Traditionally present in Japanese cuisine, now they are used more and more by us too and are promoted by an initiative of the European Commission
Even the European Community is taking an interest in it. The algae, have become a priority and it is important to promote their production and consumption. Indeed, in February the European Commission launched “EU4Algae”, a platform to accelerate the development of a European algae industry.
How would they serve
Despite the numerous advantages – such as thehigh nutritional value and sustainability – the consumption of algae, and not only for food use, notes the Commission, in European countries, is very low. Productionthe Commission always notes, in addition to guaranteeing an alternative source of food, it would help to improve the ocean healthreducing carbon dioxide, phosphorus and nitrogen and would promote the biodiversity because algae provide shelter for many marine animals. Without forgetting that they represent a raw material for sustainable industrial applications, such as biodegradable plastic.
Observes Marina Carcea, technologist executive of the CREA Alimenti e Nutritazione Research Center.
«In Italy there is no traditional use of algae in the diet, but we began to get to know them thanks to Japanese restaurants. And they are successful in the menus of vegetarians and vegans ».
What are the best known algae among us?
“Mainly theNori seaweed used for making spaghetti and noodles or for Uramaki rolls, and theSpirulina algae, which, being unicellular, lends itself to being pulverized and therefore also proposed as a supplement. It is considered a super food because it is particularly rich in proteins, essential amino acids and lipids with mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids (considered capable of improving cholesterol and triglyceride levels, contributing to the formation of myelin sheaths). It also abounds in vitamins, mineral elements and substances with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help the immune system. However, it is not miraculous or slimming and it does not cure diseases. Excessive consumption, as for any other food, could also harm health or have unwanted effects ».
Are they special features or are they also common to other algae?
«In all algae we have a strong presence of proteins, minerals, vitamins, fiber and good fats such as omega 6 and 3. Spirulina, however, contains these components in actually significant quantities “.
Are there other algae, in addition to the aforementioned, also commonly used in Italy?
“Typical of the Japanese tradition, but also used in Italy, are theKombu seaweed (useful for making food softer and more digestible, which is mainly used for cooking legumes, but which is also used to add salt and flavor to broths and soups by reducing the use of salt) andWakame seaweedan ingredient in soups and salads or in combination and which, like Kombu, can also be added to legumes during cooking, in order to make them more tender ».
Why are algae defined as eco-sustainable?
«Because they reproduce on their own, and are therefore” cheap “, they do not take away space for other cultures since they are on the seabed and transplanting activities, to make them spread, do not require fertilizers. Moreover, as already mentioned, they contribute to keeping the sea clean ».
Is Posidonia, which hinders bathing, also edible?
“Traditionally it has been used as fertilizer or for packaging of fragile materials, but never for food use. However, it must be said that according to the WWF it is a sign of a healthy sea rather than a blue flag and should be kept where it is to protect the coasts from erosion. Where it disturbs bathing it should be moved to the edge of the beaches, near dunes, where over time it will be covered by sand and vegetation, giving life to a new protective cord ».
May 21, 2022 (change May 21, 2022 | 13:18)
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