Seaweed Diet?

Seaweed is a food I have always liked but don’t have it too often. It is one of those getting together with family or friends special treats at a Japanese Restaurant occasion.

I see it at all the super markets now. Tomorrow is Saturday and I will treat myself to this high nutritious meal. I will probably saute’ a few scallops to compliment the meal. Due to my health issues I try to eat right. My respect for the earth and it’s production helps me to try anything.

I wanted to dig a little more and see how beneficial this sea vegetable is for my health.

Variety

First thing I learned was that there are several types of seaweed. Six types to be exact:

Kelp is what I think I am eating the most. Nori, Dulse, Wakame, Blue-green algae (Spirulina) and Chlorella and Kombu.

The variety of these sea weeds make for some interesting cooking.

Basically these weeds contain many healthful minerals that are easy for the body to break down. They have all been studied and it is a go. The plants can help with thyroid function, weight loss and digestive health. I am all in right now. Naturally, too much of anything is not good. The iodine properties are helpful in small amounts.

These marine macroalgae are deeply rooted in the East Asian culture and dietary habits. This scenario has been gradually changing, since seaweed consumption is becoming more common worldwide.

I love watching the Japanese channels on my television. They are a special people but even our Western Culture acknowledges that they have the world’s longest life expectancy. The sea weed diet and fish consumption has been duly noted.

My excitement level just rose 10 notches above normal. I just read another health report on marine macroalgae. This report said there are compounds in them that may reduce diabetes risk factors. Inflammation and insulin sensitivity and high fat levels. Winner, winner forget the chicken dinner!

Gut Health

I have had to learn all about probiotics/prebiotics and gut health for decades now. Certain health issues are directly related to our lovely sewerage system. Stress, a poor diet, medications, pollution, alcohol, tobacco, even a lack of sleep can effect our fragile digestive tract.

We need good bacteria in the intestines to break down food and supporting digestion for overall health.

Algae may be an ideal food for the gut. The Journal of Applied Phycology reported that algae tends to contain high amounts of fiber. This fiber can help feed the gut’s bacteria. The immune system is a large component of our digestive system.

Adding algae to the diet may be a simple way to provide the body with plenty of gut-healthy prebiotic fiber, which in turn can help with issues such as constipation or diarrhea.

When I think about fiber I automatically think weight loss.

According to the study in Marine Drugs, a high amount of dietary fiber delays stomach emptying. Nice! The stomach may not send signals of hunger to the brain for a longer time, which may help prevent overeating.

That same study regarding fiber and gut health also says algae may also reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood.

The high levels of antioxidants in seaweeds also support heart health over time. 

Concerning Weeds

It is true that most seaweed contains high levels of iodine. Simple solution is not to have too much.

Everyone is different and some can tolerate a high levels but I wouldn’t take a chance. The thyroid glands seem to be bothered by too much iodine or salt.

I know our waters are polluted and that concerns me with all life from the sea.

Seaweed absorbs minerals and nutrients from the sea. If the surrounding water contains these metals, the seaweed will absorb them as well.

A study in chemosphere found toxic metals like aluminum, cadmium and lead in edible seaweed. They also claim these levels were low.

Even if the levels are low they can build up overtime. I think it is like all the other foods we consume. They are advocating organic products. The mission shouldn’t be impossible but I have to look up organic seaweed now.

This is your life. You collect all the data and come to your own conclusion. I am still finding more benefits of eating sea weeds. I didn’t know that seaweed extracts have been used to prevent dental cavities. They prevent blood clots and can be used as an anti-coagulant. This automatically decreases the threat of stroke.

More interesting facts. The anti-viral properties have been proven to protect against influenza B virus. 

CONCLUSION

I believe the earth and everything it contains was put here for our good health. It is up to us to learn how to respect and/or at least appreciate how divine this is.

No one likes to told what to do. Eat what you want. Drink what you want. Just know there are consequences to our actions.

Food can be a cure or a poison. Today we have more options and choices but somehow we keep making the wrong ones. Moderation is the key. Discipline is what we can all develop if we focus on a positive future for ourselves and neighbors.

Yes, I haven’t had a macroalgae weed in months. I will be scanning for this special cuisine later.