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From seawater to your Tupperware, these vegetables have a lot to offer your gastronomy: flavours, textures and nutrients. Algae are in.

Spain is a leading force in the use of fresh algae which is used more and more in haute cuisine. More than 600 species are cultivated just in the Galician coast! Infinite flavours, textures and nutrients which can be easily incorporated into salads and sides in a wide variety of dishes.

Algae are widely used in Chinese medicine, but their therapeutic uses have been practically unexplored in the west. Preliminary studies suggest that certain polysaccharides called fucoidans and which are generally found in brown algae such as kombu and wakame, could have anti-carcinogenic properties. However, these possible health benefits have yet to be proven in humans. The fibre in algae is beneficial for the digestive system and the metabolism of lipids. It seems they also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, although this aspect has also not yet been proven in people. Algae are an excellent source of fibre, minerals and phytonutrients. The can be consumed safely, although you should be careful with some varieties which have elevated levels of salt, iodine or heavy metals that could be harmful. Generally speaking, marine algae are a useful complement for achieving a varied diet. Try them crumbled over rice, baked potatoes and salads, or add them to soups, broths, casseroles or stews.

Aside from being exquisite to the palate, they are an invaluable source of health (they have more calcium than dairy products and more iron than lentils). Although the use of marine vegetables is not new in the kitchen, their use in new recipes increases every day, from north to south. When will you include them in your diet?

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