Red seaweeds have been prevalent in the diets of Asian communities for thousands of years. In a new study, published in Marine Drugs, researchers have shown how these algae confer health benefits.
“In the past, people have wondered why the number of colon cancer patients in Japan is the lowest in the world,” said Yong-Su Jin (CABBI/BSD/MME), a professor of food microbiology. “Many assumed that it was due to some aspect of the Japanese diet or lifestyle. We wanted to ask whether their seaweed diet was connected to the lower frequency of colon cancer.”
Although several studies have shown that Asians who eat seaweed regularly have lower risk of colon, colorectal, and breast cancer, it was unclear which component was responsible for the anti-cancer effects.