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Originally published November 10 2008

Seaweed: Age-Old New Food and Fuel of the Future

by Katherine East

(NaturalNews) Seaweed has played a large part in the staple diet of many Eastern countries for centuries. In the West we have only just begun to wake up to the wonderful nutritional value of seaweeds as well as their variety, flavour and health-giving benefits. You are properly familiar with seaweed in the form of sushi but that really is just the beginning of what this super food has to offer. Sea Veggies as they are also known, are packed with minerals and trace minerals. The sea contains all 92 minerals for nutrition and seaweed growing in the sea would obviously have access to all these minerals.

Have you ever wondered why people on a Western diet are always hungry, overeat and suffer from food cravings? It's no secret that most commercially grown foods are a very poor source of nutrition. The hybridizing alone makes foods genetically weak and demineralised, never mind that the soil they are grown in is over-farmed and depleted. Hunger is often a signal that the body is searching for more trace minerals. As health conscious consumers, we need to educate ourselves on the best sources of nutrient rich, non-toxic food with which we can nourish our bodies - foods that haven't been tampered with or altered with genetic modification. Sea Vegetables are fast becoming known as one of the most nutritionally packed foods. Let's look at what they have to offer:

The Benefits of Eating Seaweed

Common Types of Seaweed Available

Wakame - long hard strips that can be softened with water.
Dulse - a soft chewy, dried whole leaf of a reddish colour or flakes for seasoning.
Nori - this seaweed is well-known in sushi and is dark purple or green coloured sheets.
Kelp - popular as a health supplement. Kelp is light brown in colour and usually available as flakes or in powder form.
Arame - comes in a lacy, wiry form and is sweet and mild in taste.

Health Benefits Of Seaweed

Protection against cancer. - sea vegetables contain large amounts of lignans which are plant compounds that protect against cancers of all kind.
Support healthy thyroid function - low thyroid function is often related to the lack of iodine. Kelp is the richest source of iodine which is the component of the thyroid hormones thyroxine and triidithyronine. Kelp can help to regulate proper thyroid function.
Source of calcium - 1 teaspoon of kelp mixed in a glass of water contains 1000 times more calcium than a glass of milk.
Protects against birth defects and cardiovascular disease - Ocean vegetables contain folic acid which is important for the prevention of birth defects and spina bifida. Folic acid is also known to break down homocysteine which helps to reduce high blood pressure and protect against heart disease.
Anti-inflammatory - high magnesium levels present in seaweed act as a natural relaxant and anti-inflammatory.
Relief of menopause symptoms - Lignans are found in seaweed and act as a weak oestrogen and along with magnesium may help to restore normal sleep patterns and reduce hot flushes.

Biofuel for Our Future

It seems that seaweed isn't just good for our bodies. Brown seaweed, commonly known as kelp recently made the news when it was reported that it could be farmed and used to produce biofuel. The main advantage to using seaweed is that it doesn't require arable land or water resources for farming it.

Seaweed is increasing in popularity and most health shops now stock many different seaweed varieties. As with all foods, the utmost importance is making sure that the quality is of a high standard. Many of our seas are polluted and the sea vegetables will soak up those toxins and contaminants. Be sure to source high-quality and organic products for the best health benefits.


About the author

Katherine Oosthuis is completing a Diploma in Nutritional Therapy. She researches and writes for a health and nutrition website Detox For Life . Her passion is to make research available to those who are looking to improve their well-being and revolutionise their health through better nutrition and alternative medicines.

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