Seaweed granules can be an alternative to salt

Last Updated: Jul 11, 2011, 16:14 PM IST

London: Want to cut back on salt? Try seaweed granules in your recipes instead, scientists say.

Researchers at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK found that the granules deliver a strong flavour but are low in salt, which is blamed for thousands of early deaths every
year.

By replacing salt with it in bread and processed foods may help prevent high blood pressure, strokes and deaths, they claimed.

The benefit of seaweed as a salt substitute is just one aspect of its potential, said the researchers.

It contains a vast array of vital micronutrients that make a person feel full, meaning it can be useful in reducing obesity levels, the Daily Mail reported.

The researchers, who carried out the study under the UK Food Innovation Project, found the sodium level in granules is just 3.5 per cent compared with the 40 per cent in salt used by the food industry.

And consumers find it almost impossible to tell when seaweed granules replaced salt in baked goods, they found.

The scientists also found the granules can destroy or inhibit the growth of food poisoning bugs in meat products.

Seaweed, which has long featured in the diets of families in China and Japan, could theoretically provide a valuable new food source for a world struggling to feed rising
populations, the researchers said.

Dr Craig Rose, of the Seaweed Health Foundation, said: "It has a very good and defined taste, which can be a great benefit for various foods."

The scientists are said to be working with commercial suppliers to produce granules from Arctic wrack seaweed found off the coast of the UK and Norway.

Two of the five major supermarkets in Britain are now considering using it in breads following tests on safety and taste. The idea is that these could be used to replace salt in
supermarket ready meals, sausages and even cheese.

The maximum daily salt consumption recommended for those 11 years old and over is six grams a day. Experts claim that if a country like the UK cut to this level it would
prevent high blood pressure and 70,000 heart attacks and strokes each year.

However, a British study published recently challenged this view.

The Cochrane Review, which analysed data from seven studies on nearly 6,500 people, found there was "no clear benefit" or switching to a reduced salt diet.

PTI