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Author Topic: Mysterious Black Health food: Squid ink  (Read 8783 times)

Offline blujay

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Mysterious Black Health food: Squid ink
« on: July 09, 2009, 01:50:16 AM »
Such an obscure food ingredient, squid ink...perfect for my nutritional and culinary meanderings...

From the research that I found there is alot to be left to be learned about what exactly is this black substance and its potential uses, but what I could find lead me to believe it has some potentially amazing health properties.

 It is used in traditional food preparations from around the Mediterranean, from black sauces, black pastas, to black risotto.

The main identified substance in squid ink is Melanin, yup the same stuff that colors your skin, hair and eyes. Its an end product of the non-essential amino Acid Tyrosine. Melanin has some extremely unique properties.

-It is a "Photoprotectant", it absorbs harmful DNA and oxidant producting UV radiation and reduces it into harmless heat! (which is why people with darker skin, don't burn easily and have better skin into their old age, but they also have a hard time getting enough vitamin-D) 
-Melanin is an electronically-active conductive polymer (conducts electricity very well).
-Melanin is the best sound-absorbing material known due to strong electron-phonon coupling.
-In other life forms (bacteria, fungus and some invertebrates) it is used as a main part of their immune systems in protecting them from chemical (heavy metals, oxidising agents) and biochemical stresses (host defense against infectious agents).
-Along with Melanin the other useful identified compound in this substance is called Tyrosinase an enzyme with some promising anti-tumor and immunomodulatory activity. http://www.springerlink.com/content/w83202540q711240/

All of these things likely contribute to the Cephelopods smoke and mirrors magic trick to avoid being eaten. (they are some pretty amazing creatures)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVvn8dpSAt0

From a culinary perspective, it has high amounts of Glutamic acid (think MSG, flavor enhancers) which gives it that unique and prized Umami flavor (found in cheese, soy sauce, and other cultured foods).

Wiki entry for Squid ink
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cephalopod_ink#Use_by_humans

Wiki entry for Melanin
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melanin

Anti-tumor properties:
http://yakushi.pharm.or.jp/abst_2000/No11/no11.html 
http://www.springerlink.com/content/w83202540q711240/

So check it out and try some when you find it in your specialty stores...

Whats your favorite black food?

Tell me what you eat, and I'll tell you what you will become!