Why Sea Veggies?
Western cultures are only now beginning to enjoy the taste and nutritional value of sea vegetables, often referred to as seaweed, that have been a staple of the Japanese diet for centuries. Numerous varieties of sea vegetables can be found in health food and specialty stores throughout the year. Due to their rise in popularity, they are also becoming much easier to find in local supermarkets as well.
Sea vegetables can be found growing both in the marine salt waters as well as in fresh water lakes and seas. They commonly grow on coral reefs or in rocky landscapes, and can grow at great depths provided that the sunlight can penetrate through the water to where they reside since, like plants, they need light for their survival. Sea vegetables are neither plants nor animals but classified in a group known as algae.
There are thousands of types of sea vegetables that are classified into categories by color, known either as brown, red or green sea vegetables. Each is unique, having a distinct shape, taste and texture. Although not all sea vegetables that exist are presently consumed, a wide range of sea vegetables are enjoyed as foods. The following are some of the most popular types: Nori: dark purple-black color that turns phosphorescent green when toasted, famous for its role in making sushi rolls. Kelp: light brown to dark green in color, oftentimes available in flake form. Hijiki: looks like small strands of black wiry pasta, has a strong flavor. Kombu: very dark in color and generally sold in strips or sheets, oftentimes used as a flavoring for soups. Wakame: similar to kombu, most commonly used to make Japanese miso soup. Arame: this lacy, wiry sea vegetable is sweeter and milder in taste than many others Dulse: soft, chewy texture and a reddish-brown color.
What are the Health Benefits of Sea Vegetables?
Why would anyone want to eat sea vegetables or seaweed? Because sea vegetables offer the broadest range of minerals of ANY food, containing virtually all the minerals found in the ocean-the same minerals that are found in human blood. Sea weeds are an excellent source of iodine and vitamin K, a very good source of the B-vitamin folate, and magnesium, and a good source of iron and calcium, and the B-vitamins riboflavin and pantothenic acid. In addition, sea vegies contain good amounts of lignans, plant compounds with cancer-protective properties.
How can Sea Vegetables Promote Optimal Health?
Lignans, phytonutrients found in sea vegetables, have been shown to inhibit angiogenesis, or blood cell growth, the process through which fast-growing tumors not only gain extra nourishment, but send cancer cells out in the bloodstream to establish secondary tumors or metastases in other areas of the body. In addition, lignans have been credited with inhibiting estrogen synthesis in fat cells as effectively as some of the drugs used in cancer chemotherapy. In postmenopausal women, fat tissue is a primary site where estrogen is synthesized, and high levels of certain estrogen metabolites (the 4OH and 16OH metabolites) are considered a significant risk factor for breast cancer.
In addition to lignans, sea vegetables are a very good source of the B-vitamin folic acid. Studies have shown that diets high in folate-rich foods are associated with a significantly reduced risk for colon cancer.
Do Sea Vegetables Affect the Rate of Birth Defects and Cardiovascular Disease?
Not only does the magnesium help to reduce high blood pressure and has shown
to help prevent heart attacks, but the folic acid found in sea vegetables plays a number of preventative roles. Studies have showed that adequate levels of folic acid in the diet are needed to prevent certain birth defects, including spina bifida. Folic acid is also needed to break down an intermediate dangerous chemical produced during the methylation cycle called homocysteine. (Methylation is one of the most important cellular cycles through which a wide variety of important chemicals are produced.) Homocysteine can directly damage blood vessel walls, and high levels of this chemical are associated with a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease, hardening of arteries, and stroke
Do Seaweeds Have Anti-Inflammatory Properties Including Headaches?
Sea vegetables have been shown to be unique sources of fucans, which can reduce the body’s inflammation. Plus, because sea vegetables are a good source of magnesium and acts as a natural relaxant, has been shown to help prevent migraine headaches and can reduce the severity of asthma symptoms.
Are Menopausal Symptoms Affected by Sea Veggies?
Sea vegetables provide magnesium which may also help re-establish normal sleep in females who experience the symptoms of menopause. The lignans in sea vegetables can act as small version of estrogen, one of the hormones whose levels decrease during the menopausal period. For women suffering from symptoms such as hot flashes, sea vegetable’s lignans may be just strong enough to help them through this period.
Why are SeaVegies Considered Good for the Thyroid?
Sea vegetables, specifically kelp, are nature’s richest sources of iodine, which as a component of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), is essential to human life. The thyroid gland adds iodine to the amino acid tyrosine to create these hormones. Without sufficient iodine, your body cannot synthesize them. Because these thyroid hormones regulate metabolism in every cell of the body and play a role in virtually all physiological functions, an iodine deficiency can have a devastating impact on your health and well-being. A common sign of thyroid deficiency is an enlarged thyroid gland, commonly called a goiter. Goiters are estimated to affect 200 million people worldwide, and in all but 4% of these cases, the cause is iodine deficiency. This obviously indicates that an increase in one’s iodine intake could prevent you from having similar issues.
What is the History of Eating Sea Vegetables?
The consumption of sea vegetables has a long history throughout the world. Archaeological evidence suggests that Japanese cultures have been consuming sea weeds for more than 10,000 years. In ancient Chinese cultures, sea-vegetables were a noted delicacy, suitable especially for honored guests and royalty. Yet, sea vegetables were not just limited to being a featured part of Asian cuisines. In fact, most regions and countries located by waters, including Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Iceland, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and coastal South American countries have been consuming sea vegetables since ancient times.
Currently, Japan is the largest producer and exporter of sea vegetables. This may explain why many of these precious foods are often called by their Japanese names. 50% of the Japanese diet or more consists of sea vegetables and Japan enjoys one of the lowest rates of disease in the world. Is this a coincidence?
How Do I Find a Good Source of Sea Vegetables that I Can ENJOY?
One of the best Seaweed nutrition supplements on the market today is Body Balance by Life Force International. Body Balance supports each of your core body systems and is a nutrition powerhouse formulated with SeaNine™, our proprietary blend of nine nutrient-rich sea vegetables, and Aloe Vera. Why sea vegetables? The mineral riches of the earth that have been washed into the oceans have been reclaimed by sea vegetation. Our SeaNine™ blend provides a broad spectrum of trace minerals and phytonutrients that are more frequently deficient from land-based diets. These sea vegetables are sustainably harvested from pristine ocean waters around the globe.
The pairing of SeaNine™ vegetables with Aloe is dynamic. Aloe Vera alone contains over 75 nutrients and 200 active compounds, including 12 vitamins, 20 minerals, and 18 amino acids. The Aloe Vera used in Body Balance is carefully harvested under low temperatures to protect the key polysaccharides, grown and processed according to organic standards, and is inner-fillet aloe.
Health Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The statements
and products are not intended to diagnose, cure, prevent or treat any diseases.
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* Terry P, Jain M, Miller AB et al. Dietary intake of folic acid and colorectal cancer risk in a cohort of women. Int J Cancer 2002 Feb 20;97(6):864-7 2002.
* Wood, Rebecca. The Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Prentice-Hall Press; 1988 1988. PMID:15220.
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