Meat is a great source of protein, but for those who want to skip on the cholesterol or who want to go vegan, seaweed is a good alternative.

ScienceDaily.com
reports that researchers from Teagasc (the Agriculture and Food Development Authority of Ireland) discovered that seaweed, aside from being used for the development of low-cost but highly nutritive diets, can also be used in "functional foods."

Functional foods are touted as such because additional ingredients have been added to them to create a new product with a new function; they usually come with tags such as "fortified with" and "vitamin-enriched."

Seaweed, especially of the Palmaria palmata variety, contains renin inhibitor peptides, which promote the reduction of blood pressure. Scientists are looking to add these to common bread products. Teagasc’s Dr. Maria Hayes says that the ongoing assessment has been promising. "It is also possible that protein isolated from P. palmata as part of this study could be used for technical purposes in food manufacture, for example in the manufacture of reduced fat products," she said.

Other than protein, seaweed is also a good source of iodine. And since it contains only 20 calories per serving, so you don’t need to worry about ruining your diet. Admittedly, fresh seaweed is sometimes hard to come by in the metro, but if you look hard enough, you’ll manage to find some that you can dunk in vinegar and munch on. Or better yet, why not just head out to the beach for some local lato? It’s best to experience this delicacy near the place where it came from.

(Photo by whologwhy via Flickr Creative Commons)

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