Have you ever given any thought to seaweed?
For the majority of people seaweed conjures up an image of a smelly, green or brown, unpalatable tough weed washed up on a shoreline somewhere. Alternatively, it could be that dried stuff you get in sushi bars or Japanese and Chinese restaurants. Very few people realise the health benefits of seaweed and just how versatile it really is.
Described as "perfectly balanced natural food" certain seaweeds, like certain land plants have been used for centuries by different cultures for medicinal and nutritional purposes, fertilisers and even to awaken sexual desire.
Seaweed has been confirmed as one of Nature's "all- round pharmaceutical miracles" with claims that it can accomplish everything from warding off and treating
several types of cancer, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, thin the blood, prevent ulcers, kill bacteria and even cure constipation.
It's not just the Japanese who have appreciated the health benefits from daily consumption of seaweed either as there are reports of people living high in the Andes consuming it on a regular basis. Both cultures are renowned for their hardiness but just why is this natural vitamin supplement so good for us? The answer is the ocean.
For millions of years minerals and nutrients have been draining from the land into the sea and it is more or less a constant chemical medium.
The ocean contains the same minerals and trace elements as human blood and these are integrated into the living tissue of seaweed. As the seaweed is organic (easily broken down) and the natural vitamins, foundation minerals and vital nutrients are in such an assimilable form, this wonderful sea vegetable is of huge nutritional benefit and really is a natural whole food vitamin supplement.
For example, it has been estimated that certain seaweeds are up to 30 times higher in minerals than land food, which is affected by depleted nutrient levels in our soils.
Many people are understandably concerned about consuming produce from the oceans these days because of media reports of pollution, but this issue is widely misunderstood. Generally the ocean is a far less polluted growing medium than land soil especially farm soil because of the widespread use of pesticides, insecticides and fertilisers as well as airborne industrial pollutants.
Some seaweeds, particularly certain varieties of wrack have been the subject of scientific study over many years in connection with specific medical conditions where they have been found not only to have therapeutic value, but are a powerful nutritional component in a wide range of treatments.
For several years seaweed has been used as part of the protocol for detoxification in mercury amalgam extraction and may prove helpful where there is evidence of mineral imbalance and thyroid disorders.
The thyroid gland directly affects metabolism and regulates many other bodily functions. It requires iodine to operate smoothly and seaweed is a rich source.
In ancient Egypt seaweed was used as a treatment for patients with breast cancer but the modern use of chemo and radiation therapy makes the health benefit of seaweed far more evident because it provides a natural detox.
Seaweed has no significant fat and contains a high level of the rare antioxidant, selenium, making it exceptional value in candida treatment.
Cholesterol, blood pressure, heart disease are all familiar medical conditions in our modern society and a link has often been made to high salt intake. Very small amounts of whole salt, ideally in the form of seaweed have been shown to be an antidote to excess sodium consumption.
Also, seaweed can prove beneficial for bronchitis and other respiratory infections as it is a natural multivitamin containing soothing, mucilaginous gels which specifically rejuvinate the lungs and gastrointestinal tract.
Another problem seaweed can assist with is helping the body to maintain the acid/alkaline balance in blood, lymph and cells. Modern diet tends to favour carbohydrates, protein and fats, which can all become surplus acid deposits if our bodies do not have the means to fully metabolise them. Often this produces food allergy and intolerances, with acid build up in the system which is a cause of heartburn, indigestion, and ulcers. Seaweed can neutralise these acids so they can be safely eliminated and help restore balance.
Seaweed has been described as "the most nutritious form of vegetation on this planet", so the next time you spot some on the sea shore remember it is far more than a smelly weed!