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Cochayuyo; properties and benefits of this seaweed

by Georgia Ede
Published: Last Updated on

Cochayuyo what is it?

Maybe the first time you hear this name you say what, what is that? Perhaps you do not know it, perhaps the name itself is not very appealing but the truth is that when you try it and observe the amount of properties and benefits that this algae has for our body, you will say that you want to try it now, and you will not forget its Name

The cochayuyo , also known as cachiyuyo, cochaguasca, cochahuasca, or coyofe is a large brown alga that grows in the subantarctic seas, Chile, New Zealand and in the South Atlantic, whose scientific name is Durvillaea antarctica , it is also edible , high in iodine and very healthy .

To what does the Cochayuyo get its name?

On the one hand, this alga has two names of Quechua origin: on the one hand the most common known as cochayuyo or qucha yuyu, which means sea ​​plant and on the other hand, cochaguasca or cochahuasca, qucha waska, which means sea rope or rope of drink . This name was attributed to it due to its great resemblance to the ropes or ropes used by sailors.

On the other hand, it also receives other names of Mapuche origin: On the one hand, Coyofe, which is the original adaptation of coyoff with which they designate the phyllodes.

On the other hand, in central and southern Chile the cauloids are called ulte or huilte, in the surroundings of Valdivia they are called lunfo and in Chiloé they call the structure lembo or raguay along with the basal disk. So it has a multitude of names to refer to basically the same thing, the cochayuyo and its different parts.

What is El Cochayuyo like?

It is, as we said a brown alga of large size that can reach 15 meters in length. Its phylloids, (leaves, to understand us better) also called cochayuyo, like the rest of the plant, are greenish-brown when in the sea and reddish-brown after drying.

This algae has a thick, fleshy texture with a honeycomb-like internal structure that gives it enough strength to withstand the waves.

The stem, known as cauloid, is circular and does not have air-filled spaces, is light green in color and measures about a meter in length from the birth to the first phylloid. This part is what they use when drying it to tie it and thus create collected batches. The texture is similar although it is not the same because it does not have that honeycomb structure.

The basal or rhizoid disk is a structure with great force that adheres to the rocks in the area of ​​the break to be able to resist the continuous impact of the waves without detaching from the seabed, from which it receives the substrate.

What is cochayuyo used for?

This seaweed has been one of the nutritional resources of indigenous American communities for centuries and today it is part of Chilean gastronomy, forming part of the dishes of Chilean culture since there are many dishes that use this product.

It is also used in a multitude of stews, salads, soups and even in cakes. There is also the cochayuyo jam accompanied with fruits. In the past it was also used as a dye for clothes since it has a dark brown dye.

This product is very common to offer to teething babies to bite down as it does not break into small pieces that could be swallowed, and even more so when it has not been soaked.

As a curiosity, it should be noted that there is currently a cochayuyo gel that is in the experimental phase to be used as a nutritive substrate to ensure that seeds can develop in poor soils, as we have said it is in the experimental phase and we hope that it will give good results in this regard.

What are the benefits of Cochayuyo?

The main properties are related to digestion , they are tonic and it is also antibacterial .

It is a source of essential nutrients for our body such as: vitamins , folic acid, iodine, calcium, etc.

It has properties to reduce cholesterol in case of a large amount of glucose in the blood and also reduces blood glucose levels, making it a rich food for diabetics .

It is highly recommended in people who suffer from goiter or hypothyroidism since it prevents this type of disease and its symptoms due to its high content of marine iodine.

It also controls hypertension helping to reduce its symptoms, if this is your case we leave you here the diet for hypertension and the low sodium diet . It thus prevents diseases of cardiovascular origin and not only because of that, but also because of its content in fatty acids and omega 3 .

It helps control weight and even helps you lose weight. It hardly contributes fat or calories. It is also detoxifying , due to its alginic acid content it has a purifying effect and helps us eliminate toxins naturally.

Its high amount of dietary fiber helps us with intestinal transit so we will not accumulate toxins due to constipation . It also has a high satiating power , which helps us control our appetite.

It is a product with a high protein content , since it provides us with 12 grams of protein for every 100 grams of product, and it also provides us with minerals that help us to remineralize our body, thus giving us energy.

How can you take Cochayuyo?

You can have it cooked in stews accompanied by rice and vegetables, or pasta, etc. To do this, you will have to soak it overnight and cook it for about 20 minutes or so.

If you want to take it raw in a salad, you should soak it in water and vinegar overnight and you will get a great salad texture.

It can also be consumed as an infusion but that we have to say, that in this case not all the properties are obtained in their entirety, since for example the fiber is not ingested.

To make the infusion, just cut the pieces of cochayuyo and put them in a cup of boiling water overnight. In the morning you should drink the water by adding a splash of lemon. To take advantage of the nutrients, you can take the pieces to snack; dressing them a little. It is always better to take it on an empty stomach for best results.

To take it cooked we must clean it and wash it to remove the excess of dry salt that we can find as well as any impurities that it may have. We will cook it for 20 minutes and add it, sautéing it, or in soups, etc.

It has a texture similar to mushrooms or champignons, but it has nothing to do with flavor, it has a remarkable but fine sea flavor.

There are those who make it in jam, add it to fish ceviche, they also make croquettes or even purees, it is a very versatile food , you can also make vinegar or pickled preserves or add it to risottos or rice sautéed with vegetables.

Now that you know it, you just have to try it, and you will ask yourself, where can I get this precious seaweed? Coming up next, we tell you.

Where to buy Cochayuyo?

This product is generally produced in Chile and is dehydrated for consumption, so we can find it in this way, either already chopped or in packages tied with the same seaweed.

We can find it in specialized gourmet stores, herbalists or in stores with South American import products .

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