Facing food security issues on land, more researchers are turning to the untapped potential of the sea to meet the nutritional needs of the future. One new diet, called ocean flexitarianism, emphasizes eating food from low on the ocean food chain such as algae and seaweed.
Advocated for by Professor Patricia Harvey from the University of Greenwich, ocean flexitarianism sees microalgae as the food of the future. These photosynthetic plants thrive in fresh and saltwater and are packed with vitamins. One tablespoon of spirulina, for example, contains four grams of protein as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. These tiny plants are also the original source of healthy fats, like Omega-3, which eventually end up in fish as they consume these plants.
There is a lot of emphasis on fish as a sustainable protein source, but algae tend to get neglected. Currently, 98 percent of algae consumption takes place in China, but Harvey wants to see Western countries get on board as well. In addition to health benefits, algae also take no water, fertilizer, or farmland to grow, making it very sustainable.
To learn more about the growing microalgae movement, check out these articles about marine grains and seaweed-supplemented cow feed.