Seaweeds contain a number of phytochemicals that may play an important role in protecting from cardiovascular disease. Some of these phytochemicals are peptides that may interfere with the development of cardiovascular disease through reductions in blood pressure. Seaweeds are also rich in antioxidants such as carotenoids and these may also have cardioprotective effects through anti-inflammatory mechanisms. The fibre in seaweeds, such as pectin and guar gum, are thought to possess cholesterol lowering properties, which may reflect their anti-obesity and cardioprotective mechanisms. β-sitosterol and fucosterol in seaweed may also have cholesterol lowering properties. Brown seaweeds contain the carotenoid fucoxanthin and polyphenolic compound phloroglucinol which are thought to possess anti-cancer effects. However, much of the work on the effects of these compounds has been done in cell culture and so the real world effects of the compounds are not so clear.
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