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Seaweeds

Seaweeds, the Richness from Water

There are great possibilities when it comes to preparing and eating seaweeds. they are a good way of getting the daily intake of several nutrients.

The consumption of seaweeds has been traditionally associated to the East, only and exclusively. Nothing could be further from the truth. The ancient Romans and Greeks, American Natives, the inhabitants of the British Isles and South Africa, as well as those of China and Hawaii highly prized kelps. The reason was that the most remote traditions gave the sea the role of the Mother of all Life, and therefore everything coming from it was much appreciated.

From an evolutionary perspective, algae are the most ancient plants. They are like the ones growing on-shore, with the same life cycle. Their color depends on the depth of the sea where they live and the light radiation they receive. They’re almost as diverse as land plants and the ones visible are just a small fraction of the infinite array that exists. However, not all seaweeds can be used in cuisine.

Delicious and nutritious
Seaweeds are highly nutritious foods, noted for their high content of minerals and vitamins. They are counted among nature’s richest products in calcium, phosphorus and iron. Iodine stimulates the thyroid and helps lose weight. They also have important quantities of enzymes, magnesium, sulfur, chlorine, manganese and silicon, as well as trace elements (iron, copper, zinc, nickel, molybdenum, silver, chrome, etc.) Moreover, most seaweeds (especially wakame and kombu) contain a high percentage of all types of Vitamin B, with positive effects on the nervous system and good for mainly vegetarian diets.  

Several trace elements are present on seaweeds. Among them we can stress the importance of zinc, necessary for a correct secretion and assimilation of insulin; iron and cobalt, responsible for avoiding anemia; or silicon and calcium that strengthen bones, nails, skin and hair.

A complement for a healthy diet
Seaweeds are also an ideal complement for slimming diets. Since their volume increases as they come into contact with water, they have a filling effect that helps satisfy hunger. Also, their high iodine content helps regulate the functioning of the thyroid gland, responsible for burning carbohydrates. Lastly, seaweeds contain mucilage, a type of fiber that stimulates the functions of the large intestine and enables daily bowel movements.

In short, seaweeds have three common specific properties:

1. Eliminate purines from animal products thanks to alginic acid, an essential component of seaweeds

2. Strengthen the skeleton.

3. Blood circulation regulation action.

Cereals

Cereals, the Basis of Eating 

Mimasa’s product range offers diverse and healthy alterantives to the use of common cereals in our diet.

Cereals are basic for a balanced diet. Rice is the main cereal in our cuisine, but we should not forget the rest and alternate varieties or mix different ones.

Eastern traditional medicine links every cereal to an organ of the body. The theory of energy that is transformed successively and permanently in nature’s five basic elements –wood, fire, earth, metal and water- that is the basis of Eastern medicine, links these elements to the five main organs of the human body: liver, heart, stomach-pancreas, lungs and kidneys. Energy gives life to these organs and each of them is the mother of the next one, in the order mentioned and following an immutable, constant cycle.

A cereal corresponds to each of these organs as primary source of life. Respectively: wheat, corn, millet, rice or oats and adzuki beans or pulses in general (because in the East pulses were considered a variety of cereal). Therefore, eating cereals guarantees a smooth and agile functioning of the organs.

Nutritional value
MIMASA’s whole grains ensure the following nutrients:

Carbohydrates (60% to 75%.) Starch turns into glucose, which is absorbed slowly by the intestine allowing the body to obtain energy for long hours without feeling faint. Also, carbohydrates from whole grains are more easily absorbed thanks to the vitamin B they contain. This is why they are not fattening, because they are almost totally burnt.  

Proteins (7% to 12%.) Proteins contribute to the making of the tissues, as long as there are essential amino acids. It is precisely cereals that contain the ideal amount for the human body.

Fat content (2% to 7%.) Whole grains –not refined- contain a good percentage of very well-balanced fats. Especially germs, which have an oil rich in vitamin E and natural phosphates.

Mineral salts and trance elements (1% to 4%.) The nutritional importance of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, silicon, manganese, iron, copper, fluorine, etc, is being increasingly valued. Whole grains provide them to us in amounts that are proportionate to the human body.  

Vitamins. Wheat germ provides provitmin A, all the different vitamins of the B group and vitamins C, D, E, K and PP. The important thing is to obtain them through foods like cereals, since they don’t imply the risk of hypervitaminosis, as synthetic vitamins do.  

Enzymes (or diastases). They are soluble ferments that make it possible to modify certain bodies to transform them into easier-to-absorb substances. They act as catalysts and ensure the life of the cells of the body’s tissues.

Mimasa’s products
Mimasa’s line of cereals includes the following products:

• Millet. Thanks to its high level of silicic acid it helps preserve the skin, nails and hair. Due to its high content of magnesium and lethicin it also nourishes the brain.

• Buckwheat. It is noted for its capacity to revitalize the human organism.

• Oat flakes. Pre steamed and laminated grains.

• Whole grain pastas. A broad selection, made with organic whole wheat semolina, and organic spinach and carrots in some varieties.

• Couscous. The typical semolina of Arab countries, easy to prepare and very nice with boiled vegetables or lamb.

• Polenta. Corn semolina, very refreshing for the body and of exquisite flavor.

• Bulgur. Parboiled and broken wheat, very tasty and nutritious.

Umeboshi

Umeboshi, the Perfect Digestion 

Ume fruit-based foods stand out for their citric acid content and improve bowel transit.

Umeboshi is obtained from a fruit called ume, which is actually a variety of apricot, although is commonly considered as a plum. Ume fruits are picked, washed, salted, pickled and dyed with shiso leaves in a fermentation process that lasts for several months. During this time the levels of citric acid, one of the main elements that contains that is beneficial for health, are increased.


Also, apart from its citric acid contents, ume is also rich in vitamins and minerals, specially calcium, iron and phosphorus. Due to the abundance of these minerals, ume beats many other fruits.

History
Ume fruit has been part of the Japanese culture for centuries. Umeboshi were taken to Japan for the first time about 1,500 years ago, as a medicine made with ume fruit. There are records on the efficiency of umeboshi in Chinese medicine books that date back from 3,000 years ago. Its use became popular among priests and samurai warriors starting in the 12th century.

In the wars during the 15th and 16th centuries samurai warriors really appreciated umeboshi, and always carried it around to help them “revive”, even when they were on the verge of death. During this time umeboshi were still considered just as medicine. It was not until the 17th century that every family started producing their own umeboshi at home.

Umeboshi finally started to be eaten normally by families in the 19th century. During that time it was the custom to pour green tea over umeboshi and some kombu seaweed to drink it as a revitalizing tonic. Nowadays, umeboshi are considered as a traditional Japanese pickled food and are eaten as is or with rice.

Source of citric acid
The citric acid cycle is basic in our body to overcome fatigue. During the assimilation of nutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, fats and vitamins) the so-called fatigue physiological substances are produced (lactic acid, pyrodextrose or glucose.) If the body is not functioning correctly such substances are not fully eliminated and acidify blood, thus producing fatigue. Citric acid turns lactic acid into carbonic acid and water, which are easily eliminated. This is why eating one, citric acid-packed umeboshi a day helps overcome fatigue and slows down ageing. Citric acid is more abundant and easier to assimilate in ume fruit than in lemons.

Citric acid also helps to fix and absorb calcium. Pregnant women often crave something sour early in pregnancy because of an instinctive need for citric acid, which boosts the rate of calcium absorption and helps form the skeletal structure of the embryo.

Citric acid not only controls the secretion of gastric juice, but also helps prevent stomach ulcers and stimulate the appetite of weak or elderly people.

Digestive properties
Ume fruit-based foods contribute to the proper functioning of the digestive and hepatic system and avoid undesired proliferation of bacteria. Normally, the bacteria in the mouth are killed by the hydrochloric acid in the stomach. A healthy person’s stomach is always acidic; therefore, the bacteria that cause food poisoning and other troubles are killed in the stomach. However, when the stomach is in a weak state or the secretion of gastric juice is not working well, the bacteria go through the stomach and reach the intestines alive.

The organic acids in Umeboshi make the intestines temporarily acidic, to prevent the live bacteria from increasing in number. After being absorbed through the intestinal wall the acids become alkalized and enter the bloodstream to maintain alkalized

Organic acids contained by ume fruit are effective in treating constipation and diarrhea because they normalize the function of the intestines by sterilizing only low-density lipoprotein, leaving high-density lipoprotein in place.

Mimasa’s umeboshi-based products have been prepared following Japanese traditional systems, so they are fully guaranteed. They come in three ways:   

           • Natural umeboshi. Whole units of prunes fermented with salt.

           • Umeboshi with shiso. Prunes come with shiso leaves.

           • Umeboshi paste. Made with ume fruit.