Seaweed (also known as sea vegetables) has earned its reputation as a superfood. Seaweed contains a wealth of health-promoting nutrients as well as natural compounds that help the body detoxify.
Many people do not think of seaweed as a common staple in the standard American diet, but it is; most of us just don’t realize it. Specific seaweed derivatives — agar, carrageenan and others — are commonly used as thickening or texturizing agents in jams, ice cream, baked goods and numerous other processed foods. Seaweed and its extracts are also found in body-care products to promote healthier skin, hair, nails, teeth and gums.
This amazing group of ocean plants includes about 10,000 diverse species from around the globe. Many species of seaweed provide an extremely rich source of nutrients for optimal health, both internally and externally. They are chock full of vitamins such as A, C, E and the B complex, including B12. They convey crucial minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, iodine and trace minerals as well as other powerful health-promoting nutrients, enzymes and compounds.
Seaweed has been emphasized for thousands of years in Asian diets and consumed in other traditional diets around the world. In recent decades, numerous seaweed species have received praise by medical researchers due to the discovery of their high fucoidan content, along with other remarkable health-promoting compounds and properties. Fucoidans are unique, starch-like (polysaccharide) molecules that promote cellular, immune and cardiovascular health, among other benefits.
The Truth About Sodium And Iodine Issues
It’s true: Seaweed is high in natural sodium. But when balanced with potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and the other trace minerals present in this powerful food, seaweed provides an excellent mineral profile for promoting vibrant health. Many species of seaweed are also naturally high in iodine; but, similar to their sodium profiles, the iodine is accompanied by other trace minerals and co-factors, providing a balanced and beneficial source of this nutrient. However, for people with an overactive thyroid or thyroid diseases such as Hashimoto’s, even natural sources of iodine can pose problems at high levels. For this reason, these people should limit or avoid consumption of seaweed.
Improved Iron Absorption
Many sea vegetables contain both iron and vitamin C, which is an important combination that allows for optimal absorption of iron in the body; vitamin C improves the bioavailability of iron from plants. (In fact, Mediterranean cultures have a healthy habit of using freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil over dark-green leafy vegetables, which enhances flavor as well as iron absorption.)
Common Types Of Beneficial Seaweed
Some of the most widely available and beneficial sea vegetables include nori, kombu, wakame and arame. Here’s a closer look at the nutrients some of these varieties provide:
- Nori: You’ve probably eaten nori before; it is most commonly used to make sushi rolls. Nori contains iodine, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin K, vitamin A and vitamin C. It also contains protein, fiber and B vitamins including B12, a much-needed vitamin for those who have issues with nutrient absorption or who consume little or no animal products.
- Kombu: Kombu is a type of kelp rich in fucoidan, which promotes cellular and immune health, helps to reduce inflammation, promotes healthy blood flow and offers cardiovascular and other benefits. Kombu is rich in minerals, particularly calcium and iron, and is a good source of fiber.
- Wakame: Often used in Japanese miso soup, wakame is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, and is high in calcium, iodine, thiamine and niacin as well as fucoidan.
- Arame: Sweeter and milder in taste than many others, this seaweed is a good source of calcium, iron, vitamin A, magnesium, iodine and other nutrients.
Certain sea vegetables also contain unique and powerful health-promoting compounds called alginates. Found in brown seaweeds mainly of the Laminaria kelp species, alginates have the ability to bind to toxins, heavy metals and dangerous radioactive particles in the digestive tract, preventing these pollutants from being reabsorbed into the body. When alginates are combined in a formula with modified citrus pectin, another powerful natural detoxifier, the two work together to provide natural detoxification that is both gentle and highly effective.
Alginates and modified citrus pectin have been proven in clinical studies to safely remove harmful heavy metals, environmental toxins and radioactive particles from the body, without affecting the body’s essential mineral levels. The combination of alginates and modified citrus pectin is an optimal strategy for natural detoxification. These two ingredients function together to bind with toxins in your digestive tract and circulation, respectively, allowing your body to safely excrete them. Both alginates and pectin were first used in the Chernobyl disaster to help victims detoxify their bodies of radioactive isotopes. For more information about safe and natural detoxification methods, download a wellness guide by visiting www.safedetox.org.
Seaweed has a rich history as a traditional source of nutrition and healing, while modern scientific advancements continue to discover new ways to use this powerful group of plants in numerous diverse applications. From alternative energy to vital health and beyond, seaweed holds important keys to a brighter future and optimal longevity, naturally. For more practical health and wellness information, visit www.dreliaz.org.