Is Kelp the New Kale? Seaweed Harvesting Growing Across U.S.

Nisean Lorde wrote . . . . .

Care for a seaweed snack? Seaweed harvesting is growing across the country.

Kale is already well-known as a nutritional superfood, but it may start getting wholesome competition from seaweed. Although wild seaweed has been rummaged off the Atlantic Coast for hundreds of years, and seaweed-based food is already famous in many parts of Asia, there is currently a more active effort to grow seaweed in the U.S.

A growing wave of entrepreneurs across the country are harvesting fresh and frozen edible seaweed—everything from dulse, to kelp and alaria.

Seaweed can sell for up to $15 a pound at stores and truckloads of seaweed are currently being sold to hospitals and schools across the country.

Seaweed Benefits

So is kelp the new kale? According to Barton Seaver, director of the Healthy and Sustainable Food Program at Harvard, it is. Seaver, who logically has a seaweed cookbook out, suggests that the algae will be seen everywhere over the next 10 years. The reasons being—seaweed is naturally delicious and has several benefits:

  • Seaweed is a good source of carrageenan, agar, alginates (which are used as gelling and thickener agents).
  • Seaweed is rich in iodine, calcium, potassium, fiber, omega 3-fatty acids, protein, vitamins A, B, C, and E and essential amino acids.
  • According to a study headed by researchers at Newcastle University, alginate (the fiber found in kelp) might help improve digestion and reduce fat absorption. The study found that eating seaweed reduced fat digestion by approximately 75 percent.
  • No pesticides or fertilizer is needed to harvest seaweed.
  • Seaweed can filter surplus nitrogen and phosphorous from the water.

A study published in Nutrition Reviews pertaining to seaweed and human health suggests that seaweed has anticancer, antiviral, and anticoagulant properties. The review also mentions how seaweed has the ability to modulate gut health as well as risk factors for diabetes and obesity. Due to the nutritional properties of seaweed, researchers concluded that more functional food products can be developed utilizing the algae.

Source: Food for Better Health


Read more:

Seaweed On Your Dinner Plate: The Next Kale Could Be Kelp . . . . .

In Pictures: Hybrid Sweets – Cheese Cake Cookies

Insufficient Sleep Cycle – Especially for Shift Workers – May Increase Heart Disease Risk

The body’s involuntary processes may malfunction in shift workers and other chronically sleep-deprived people, and may lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension.

Insufficient sleep and circadian rhythm (approximately 24-hour) disturbances both have been associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes but the cause is unclear. To determine the impact of circadian rhythm disturbances on cardiovascular function in sleep-deprived people, researchers studied 26 healthy people, age 20-39. The study participants were restricted to five hours of sleep for eight days (sleep restriction) with either fixed bedtimes (circadian alignment) or bedtimes delayed by 8.5 hours on four of the eight days (circadian misalignment).

Researchers found sleep restriction combined with delayed bedtimes when compared to sleep restriction without delayed bedtimes was associated with:

  • an increased heart rate during the day for both fixed bedtimes and delayed bedtimes groups and even more so at night when sleep resctriction was combined with delayed bedtimes;
  • reduced heart rate variability at night;
  • an increase in 24-hour urinary norepinephrine excretion in the sleep resticted and delayed bedtimes group; and
  • reduced vagal activity related to heart rate variability during deeper sleep phases (NREM); these deeper sleep phases have a restorative effect on cardiovascular function in normal individuals.

Norepinephrine is a stress hormone that can constrict blood vessels, raise blood pressure and expand the windpipe. The vagal nerve’s main effect on the heart is the lowering of heart rate.

“In humans, as in all mammals, almost all physiological and behavioral processes, in particular the sleep-wake cycle, follow a circadian rhythm that is regulated by an internal clock located in the brain,” said Daniela Grimaldi, M.D., Ph.D., lead author and a research assistant professor at Northwestern University in Chicago. “When our sleep-wake and feeding cycles are not in tune with the rhythms dictated by our internal clock, circadian misalignment occurs.”

Researchers said insufficient sleep is particularly common in shift workers, who represent 15 percent to 30 percent of the working population in industrialized countries.

“Our results suggest shift workers, who are chronically exposed to circadian misalignment, might not fully benefit from the restorative cardiovascular effects of nighttime sleep following a shift-work rotation,” said Grimaldi who also collaborates with the Sleep Metabolism and Health Center of the University of Chicago, where the study was conducted.

“In modern society, social opportunity and work demand have caused people to become more active during late evening hours leading to a shift from the predominantly daytime lifestyle to a more nocturnal one. Exposure to consecutive days of sleep loss can impair cardiovascular function and these negative effects might be enhanced when changes in feeding and/or sleep-wake habits lead to a circadian disruption.”

Since shift work often can’t be avoided, researchers suggest counteracting measures such as a healthy diet, regular exercise and more sleep be encouraged among shift-workers.

Next, researchers want to see whether people exposed to sleep loss with or without circadian misalignment are able to recover once they get consecutive days of sleep extension.

It’s also unclear whether the results from lab studies done on shift workers would translate into real-life conditions.

Source: American Heart Association

Beet Cake

Ingredients

1-1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2-1/2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
2 cups grated fresh beet
icing (confectioner’s) sugar for dusting

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F).
  2. Put the sugar, salt and ginger in a bowl, sift over the flour and baking powder, and combine.
  3. Whisk together the eggs, oil and sour cream. Add to the flour mixture with the beet and mix until just combined.
  4. Spoon the mixture into a greased and base lined 9-inch round cake tin. Bake for 1 hour or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
  5. Cool for 5 minutes then turn onto a wire rack. Once cool, dust generously with icing sugar.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Donna Hay


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