How and where on earth can we start trying to condense the extensive and fascinating health benefits of seaweeds into just a few mouthfuls, pulling together a mountain of scientific research, medical literature, age old cultures & traditions, treatments & therapies without being too wordy?!
Seaweeds are the most powerful food that we have on this planet. Not really plants, they are algae, growing in the shallower parts of the world’s oceans. Seaweeds contain all the minerals that our body needs and have the highest number of vitamins, minerals and trace elements compared to any other food group.
Unsurprisingly, it has played a vital part in the diets of a large number of cultures, including the Inuit, Japanese, Incas and the Irish. Did you know that the Inuit get all their vitamin C from seaweeds?
Seaweeds contain unique compounds that help the body remain healthy. Plus, they taste amazing and have wonderfully unique cooking properties too!
ARE SEAWEEDS REALLY THAT SPECIAL?
Seaweeds live in a very complex environment and are exposed to extreme and rapidly changing environmental conditions, including great changes in salinity, desiccation, exposure to high UV levels, temperature and nutrients. To survive and adapt to these conditions they have developed special mechanisms that are unique or are present at much higher concentrations than in any other plant or animal1. These mechanisms include chemical components which cannot be found in other organisms and many of these prove to be very valuable for human health.
A wide range of benefits, from reducing the risk of disease to improving the state of health or well-being, have been attributed to various seaweed species. Here is a list of some of the health properties of seaweed.
- A wide range of vitamins, minerals and proteins
- Fibre (Some species as much as 30%, although the green seaweeds do not contain any)
- Low fat levels (>3%), but the fat it contains is high in unsaturated fat
- Protein (from 8 to 25%)
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