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Are Sea Vegetables Good For You?

Sea vegetables are one of the oldest living species on Earth. Biologists believe that green marine algae are the ancestors of literally every land vegetable we know today! The first ever recorded use of Sea Vegetables as a food source goes all the way back to 300 B.C. in China.

Sea vegetables have superior nutritional content. They transmit the energies of the sea to your body as a rich source of nutrients. Ounce for ounce, along with herbs, they are higher in vitamins and minerals than any other food. They have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antimicrobial, antifungal, and anticancer activity.

Modern science validates many of the traditional benefits of sea plants, especially their algin, the element thought to be responsible for sea plant's success in treating obesity, asthma and atherosclerosis. Algin absorbs toxins from our digestive tracts in much the same way that a water softener removes the hardness from tap water. Less toxins enter our bloodstream because of algin's activity.

Sea vegetables are the most nutritionally dense plants on the planet. They have access to all the nutrients in the ocean, acquiring nourishment across its entire surface through wave action and underwater currents. Sea vegetables are rich in fiber and packed with vitamins, with measureable amounts of vitamins K, A, D, B, E and C, and a broad range of carotenes. Sea vegetables are almost the only non-animal source of vitamin B-12 for our cell development and nerve function. They are full of amino acids, up to 20% protein, active enzymes and essential fatty acids to rejuvenate us.

Sea vegetables help re-mineralize us. They convert inorganic ocean minerals into organic mineral salts that combine with amino acids. Our bodies use this combination as an ideal way to get usable nutrients for structural building blocks. In fact, Sea Vegetables contain all the necessary trace elements for life, many of which are depleted in the Earth's soil.

Our body fluids have the same chemical composition as sea water. The same 56 elements that circulate in the ocean course through our veins. The greatest benefit from Sea Vegetables is to promote our internal rebalance. They act as the ocean's purifiers, and perform many of the same functions for our bodies. Their rich antioxidant qualities are effective toxin scavengers for detoxification. Sea vegetables help alkalize and normalize our bodies from the over-acid effects of a modern diet. They strengthen us against disease, and reduce excess stores of fluid and fat.

Sea vegetables come in green, brown, red and blue-green algae. The most common are:

  • Kelp (laminaria) contains vitamins A, B, E, D and K, is a main source of vitamin C, and rich in minerals. Kelp proteins are comparable in quality to animal proteins. A brown marine plant, kelp contains sodium alginate (algin), an element that helps remove radioactive particles and heavy metals from the body. Algin, carrageenan and ager are kelp gels that rejuvenate gastrointestinal health and aid digestion. Kelp works as a blood purifier, relieves arthritis stiffness, and promotes adrenal, pituitary and thyroid health. Kelp's natural iodine can normalize thyroid-related disorders like overweight and lymph system congestion. It is a demulcent that helps eliminate herpes outbreaks. Kelp is rich - a little goes a long way.
  • Kombu (laminaria digitata, setchelli, horsetail kelp), has a long tradition as a Japanese delicacy with great nutritional healing value. It is a decongestant for excess mucous, and helps lower blood pressure. Kombu has abundant iodine, carotenes, B, C, D and E vitamins, minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, silica, iron and zinc, and the powerful skin healing nutrient germanium. Kombu is a meaty, high-protein seaweed. It is higher in natural mineral salts than most other seaweeds. Add a strip of kombu to your bean pot to reduce gas.
  • Hijiki is a mineral-rich, high-fiber seaweed, with 20% protein, vitamin A, carotenes and calcium. Hijiki has the most calcium of any sea green, 1400mg per 100gr. of dry weight.
  • Nori (porphyra, laver) is a red sea plant with a sweet, meaty taste when dried. It contains nearly 50% balanced, assimilable protein, higher than any other sea plant. Nori's fiber makes it a perfect sushi wrapper. Nori is rich in all the carotenes, calcium, iodine, iron, and phosphorus.
  • Arame (Eisenia bycyclis), is one of the ocean's richest sources of iodine. Herbalists use arame to help reduce breast and uterine fibroids, and through its fat soluble vitamins and phytohormones, to normalize menopausal symptoms. Arame promotes soft, wrinkle-free skin, enhances glossy hair and prevents its loss.
  • Sea Palm (Postelsia Palmaeformis), American arame, grows only on the Pacific Coast of North America. One of my favorites, it has a sweet, salty taste that goes especially well as a vegetable, rice or salad topping.
  • Bladderwrack is packed with vitamin K - an excellent adrenal stimulant. It is still used today by native Americans in steam baths for arthritis, gout and illness recovery.
  • Wakame (alaria, undaria) is a high-protein, high calcium seaweed, with carotenes, iron and vitamin C. Widely used in the Orient for hair growth and luster, and for skin tone.
  • Dulse (palmaria palmata), a red sea plant, is rich in iron, protein, and vitamin A. It is a supremely balanced nutrient, with 300 times more iodine and 50 times more iron than wheat. Tests on dulse show activity against the herpes virus. It has purifying and tonic effects on the body, yet its natural, balanced salts nourish as a mineral, without inducing thirst.
  • Irish moss (chondrus crispus, carrageen) is full of electrolyte minerals - calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium. Its mucilaginous compounds help you detoxify, boost metabolism and strengthen hair, skin and nails. Traditionally used for a low sex drive.

A Few Quick Serving Ideas

Make homemade vegetable sushi rolls by wrapping rice and your favorite vegetables in sheets of nori.

Slice nori into small strips and sprinkle on top of salads.

Keep a container of kelp flakes on the dinner table and use instead of table salt for seasoning foods.

Combine soaked hijiki with shredded carrots and ginger. Mix with a little olive oil and tamari.

When cooking beans, put kombu in the cooking water. It will not only expedite the cooking process, but will improve beans' digestibility by reducing the chemicals that can cause flatulence.

Add sea vegetables to your next bowl of miso soup.

Sources: Are you Balanced Web Site and The World's Healthiest Foods Web Site.

Adapted by Editorial Department, May 2007
Last update, August 2008


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