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Agar Agar

Agar Agar - valuable vitamins to strengthen the immune system

Known and loved in Asia for centuries, agar agar is also increasingly conquering European markets. The substance has actually been known for a long time in biological research, among other things, but the term doesn't mean anything to most average people. However, more and more foods and cosmetics contain agar agar and even advertise the plant-based gelling agent, which is becoming increasingly popular, especially in the vegetarian and vegan scene. Many important nutrients make agar a valuable ingredient in food, but excessive consumption can also pose health risks. This article will look at the different uses of agar agar and its health benefits and disadvantages.

THAT DOES AGAR AGAR

  1. Agar agar is more than just a vegan gelatin.
  2. It contains many important nutrients and is used to make cosmetics.
  3. Agar Agar is used in medicines and research.

Overview:

What is agar agar
What is agar used for?
What is the difference between agar agar and gelatin?
Is agar agar healthy or harmful?
Agar agar is suitable for the preparation of which foods?
Conclusion

What is agar agar

With agar agar, sometimes onlyAgar Chemically speaking, it is a galactose polymer, i.e. a polysaccharide, which consists of different carbohydrates. It is odorless and tasteless, indigestible and can form jelly. Agar Agar is obtained mainly in Asia from the cell walls of various algae and is used to a large extent in the food and pharmaceutical industries, as well as in life science laboratories. It is also known in the European Union asE406 approved as a food additive.

The nameAgar comes from Indonesian and has long been an integral part of Southeast Asian cuisine. However, algae powder of this type has also been known for a long time in other Asian regions. In Japan, for example, various dishes have been prepared with it since the 17th century, albeit under the nameedge. Agar agar is also used in large quantities by the traditionally vegetarian population of India for the production of vegetable gelatine. Since the 19th century, agar agar has also been used in various ways in Europe.

What is agar used for?

Agar agar, which originated in Asia, is now traded worldwide and used for various purposes. Due to its ability to bind liquids, among other things, the algae powder is mostly used in the following areas:

did you know already? Agar Agar is also in ourGentle Facial Cleanser facial cleanser. It cleanses the face intensively with kaolin mud and activated charcoal and that without drying out the skin.

  • The preparation of various foods such as soups and desserts with the help of agar agar as a vegan substitute for gelatine has a long tradition in Asia and has become very popular in Europe, especially in recent years.
  • For the outer shell of capsules, which in the past was mainly made of gelatine, the pharmaceutical industry is increasingly using agar agar, as it is also transparent and tasteless, but due to its vegetable origin it is also used by special target groups, such as Appeals to vegans.
  • Some lozenges also contain agar because of its binding properties.
  • Since agar agar is indigestible in itself, it is often used as a natural laxative in some, mainly Southeast Asian countries, to reduce weight. To do this, however, it must be consumed in significantly higher quantities than is found in the form of agartine, for example in a conventional piece of cake. The consumption of food containing agartine is therefore not a substitute for the intake of such agents and is by no means recommended for the purpose of weight loss.
  • Sometimes because of its digestive effect, some drugs that are used against diabetes mellitus in the Indonesian region also contain a high proportion of agar agar.
  • Some cosmetic products, such as shampoos, face masks and creams, which used to contain gelatine, are now vegan variants with agartine, which ensure a creamy shape.
  • In microbiology, agar agar has been used for several decades to solidify culture media for microorganisms. Compared to other gels that have been used for such purposes in the past, the agar gel has the advantage that it reacts comparatively stable to temperature changes and only becomes liquid at over 90c..
  • In molecular biology, agar agar or agarose is used to separate nucleic acids with the help of gel electrophoresis.
  • Gel based on agar agar is now often used as a substrate for growing plants in the laboratory.

What is the difference between agar agar and gelatin?

Conventional gelatine consists essentially of collagen and is obtained from various animal sources, most of which come from unused remains from meat production. The starting material most frequently used in the production of gelatine includes bones, tendons, cartilage, hooves, skin, scales and sometimes muscles from different animals. These animal remains are boiled in water to create a colorless and odorless gel. Due to its binding effect and its largely neutral taste, gelatine is often used in the preparation of Food as well as for the manufacture of capsules and other medicines. Gelatin can be bought as a powder or in the form of leaves. Vegans, vegetarians and people who avoid certain animal products for religious or health reasons generally reject the consumption of foods and pharmaceuticals that contain animal gelatin.

A purely vegetable alternative to gelatine is agar agar, which is mainly, but not exclusively, produced in Asia. In contrast to traditional European gelatine, agar agar is made from various algae, mostly red algae, and is therefore completely vegan. It is essentially algae powder, which contains various carbohydrates. If you boil it for a few minutes in hot water or another liquid and then let it cool down, the gelatinous agartine is created, which can be used in a similar way to animal gelatine. With 1 teaspoon agar agar you can make about 10g agartine.

Is agar agar healthy or harmful?

Agar Agar is of natural plant origin and is not normally harmful to the human body when consumed occasionally. In high concentrations, however, it can have a laxative effect and lead to undesirable reactions in the body, for example in the form of diarrhea. A meal would have to contain at least 4g agar agar, which is usually not the case. However, agar agar has the following important nutrients, which are usually beneficial for health:

  • Agar agar contains a lot of vitamin C, which among other things can help strengthen the immune system as well as burn fat and detoxify.
  • Folic acid and various B vitamins are also available.
  • The fiber it contains can stimulate the intestinal flora and thus promote healthy digestion.
  • Trace elements such as iron and zinc, which are important for the nervous system as well as healthy skin and beautiful hair, are also found in agar agar.
  • Since agar agar is made from algae, it is naturally a great source of protein.

Agar agar is suitable for the preparation of which foods?

Food is one of the areas where agar agar is most commonly used. It is obtained from various algae and is considered, among other things, as a vegan gelatine substitute. The so-calledAgartine is therefore mainly used in Europe for the preparation of vegan cakes and tarts or their toppings. In a similar way, agar agar also binds fruits and liquids in jams, jams and fruit gels of all kinds. Agar agar is also often used as a stabilizer in jellied fruit or vegetables as well as various cream products and ice creams. The algae powder is also used in the production of candies, lollipops and other sweets. In Asia it is also common to thicken soups and sauces with agar agar. Many supermarkets in Germany and Europe have now added agar powder or vegan gelatine based on agar agar to their range, so that virtually everyone has the opportunity to try out one or the other recipe for themselves.

Conclusion

On the whole, agar agar is a very useful substance, which is particularly impressive because of its ability to bind liquids. Agar agar is used in a variety of ways in scientific research as well as in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. As a food or additive, it is also convincing due to its high nutritional content and the purely vegetable origin from various algae, which makes it a vegan and generally healthier alternative to conventional gelatine. However, one should not overdo it with the consumption of agar agar or agartine, as this can lead to digestive problems.

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