Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Seaweed: An Alternative Protein Source

Dulse, edible algae

Dulse, edible algae (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

From the 12 October 2012 article at Science News Daily

 

Teagasc researchers are looking to seaweed for proteins with health benefits for use as functional foods. Historically, edible seaweeds were consumed by coastal communities across the world and today seaweed is a habitual diet in many countries, particularly in Asia. Indeed, whole seaweeds have been successfully added to foods in recent times, ranging from sausages and cheese to pizza bases and frozen-meat products.

Source of protein

Researchers have previously shown that protein-rich red seaweeds such as Palmaria palmata (common name Dulse) and Porphyra (common name Sleabhac or Laver) species may potentially be used in the development of low-cost, highly nutritive diets that may compete with current protein crop sources such as soya bean. For example, the protein content of Dulse varies from between 9-25% depending on the season of collection and harvesting. The highest percentage protein per gram of dried whole seaweed is normally found in P. palmatacollected during the winter season (October — January). Valuable amino acids such as leucine, valine and methionine are well represented in Dulse. In Porphyra species, the amino acid profile is similar to those reported for leguminous plants such as peas or beans.

Health benefits of seaweed..

In addition to its use as a protein source, the researchers have found that some of these seaweed proteins may have health benefits beyond those of basic human nutrition — for use in functional foods.

Bioactive peptides are food-derived peptides that exert a physiological, ‘hormone-like’, beneficial health effect. Proteins and peptides from food sources such as dairy, eggs, meat and fish are well documented as agents capable of reducing high blood pressure and are thought to be able to prevent CVD…

 

 

 

 

October 15, 2012 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Experts Challenge Super Food Claims: Healthy-Giving Properties of Broccoli, Blueberries, May Not Make It Past the Gut

 

broccoli

broccoli (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

This reminds me of a conversation I had with a pharmacology lab technician about 30 years ago.
He was discouraged that drug research did not include studies on how drugs were broken down by digestion, the resultant by-products, and how the by-products worked to “cure” diseases or ameliorate conditions.  I suspect little has changed since then in drug research.

 

 

 

From the 5 October 2012 article at Science Daily

 

They have been the mainstay of the health industry for the best part of a decade, but now researchers at London’s Kingston University are using an approach that allows them to delve deeper into the effectiveness of health-promoting ‘super foods’ and their elixir-giving ilk. While there’s no doubt foods such as broccoli, blueberries and whole grains contain polyphenols – compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties – the academic experts contend that little of these health-giving properties actually make it past the gut.

“Polyphenols may well work when cells are exposed to them directly, such as under laboratory conditions, but what needs to be established is how effective they are when consumed as part of a food. If they don’t actually get through the gut membrane and into the rest of the body, then they’re not a super food,” Dr Lucy Jones, Deputy Dean of the University’s Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing, said.

Dr Jones and her colleague Dr Elizabeth Opara have taken a model developed in the early 1980s by US cancer research institute Sloane Kettering and adapted it to see if and how medicinal Chinese herbs, known to limit the growth of cancer cells, are absorbed in the body. Known as the Caco-2, the model mimics the action of the small intestine, the principal place where nutrients are taken up. The Kingston researchers have used it to assess what does and doesn’t make it through the gut…

 

 

October 10, 2012 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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