A role for dietary macroalgae in the amelioration of certain risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease

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Many of the pathologies leading to premature death from cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in humans are influenced by an individual's nutritional habitus. Diet-related risk factors for these pervasive, noncommunicable diseases include obesity, hypertension, endothelial dysfunction, diabetes, and disproportionate cellular free-radical production. CVDs are the number one cause of premature death globally, and effective methods for ameliorating CVD risk factors associated with diet should be a primary target. Although various intervention strategies are being developed and implemented, such as healthy lunch programs, improved menus in school cafeterias, and government mandates for food manufacturers regarding the reduction of salt and trans fats in processed products, a broader, more universal approach is in order. The proliferation and ready availability of high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods and the powerful marketing tools used by multinational food companies seriously compromise the health and wellness potential of a significant proportion of the global population. In this review, some of the underlying mechanisms contributing to cardiovascular health are discussed in terms of human nutritional status. Unhealthy plasma cholesterol levels, obesity, nutritional energy imbalances, and inflammatory responses are identified as some of the likely precursors in the manifestation of cardiovascular issues. The favourable therapeutic impact dietary macroalgae could have by the provision of robust antioxidant suites, macro- and micronutritional elements, fibre content, and fatty acid profiles makes seaweeds viable and important contenders for involuntary intervention strategies related to food manufacturing. These components are discussed in relation to their functionality with respect to human health, and numerous edible macroalgae, such as Hypnea charoides, Mastocarpus stellatus, Palmaria palmata, Laminaria japonica, and Ulva pertusa are mentioned in light of their amelioration value. Opportunities for the practical utilization of marine macroalgae into ordinary foodstuffs are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)649-666
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Antioxidants, Cardiovascular disease, Dietary fibre, Dietary seaweed, Macroalgae, Obesity, Seaweed consumption

ID: 230974261