Analysing the benefits of seaweed for SMEs

Analysing the benefits of seaweed for SMEs
Credit: Shutterstock

The health benefits of sea vegetables such as seaweed have been well documented by nutrition experts. Traditionally, those eating seaweed-based diets have shown fewer instances of obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and other nervous disorders.

While Asian cultures have included in their diet for centuries, Western societies have been slower to appreciate the benefits. The SWAFAX ('Seaweed derived anti- and antioxidants') project aims to change this.

The main focus of the EUR 1 million EU-funded project has been to study seaweed sources, which have been little studied or exploited for their health benefits. Scientists are particularly interested in a group of chemicals present in seaweed, called polyphenols. These consist of more than 4,000 so-called phenolic compounds typically found in vegetables and fruit. Polyphenols are high in antioxidants, which have a number of known health benefits.

Led by Professor Ian Rowland from the Department of Food and at the University of Reading (UK), SWAFAX is keen to study novel bioactive compounds from seaweeds which provide an opportunity for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop and market commercial applications in food, health and wellness products.

A number of technological and scientific problems have already been solved,
such as evaluating the of the seaweed polyphenol extract and forming a greater understanding of the of its components.

The project has also characterised seaweed extracts in terms of their polyphenol profiles, and prepared a food grade polyphenol extract and other extracts of different seaweed varieties. However, the final results from several clinical trials will not be available until later in the year.

More information: SWAFAX
www.seaweedforhealth.org/swafax/

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Edible seaweed provides an alternative protein source

Oct 15, 2012

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 ...

Functional foods from the sea

Apr 04, 2013

Seaweeds are not only tasty, but they are a source of nutrients that could be beneficial for health and wellbeing. And like terrestrial plants, seaweeds also contain significant portions of fibre that reach ...

Recommended for you

Gov't website for doc payments not up to snuff

3 hours ago

The government's new "Open Payments" website is intended to let you find out whether your doctor is getting freebies, travel or other financial benefits from drug companies and medical device manufacturers. But it doesn't ...

How to protect health workers in conflicts and crisis

11 hours ago

Recruiting health workers with high levels of internal motivation is critical for work in difficult conditions, where their personal security and health might be compromised, according to new research published today in Health Po ...

User comments