Health benefits

Discover the natural health benefits of sea vegetables

Sea water and the fluids in a healthy human body contain many of the same minerals in very similar concentrations. It is not surprising that sea vegetables have been treasured throughout centuries for their ability to restore, nourish and strengthen the body.

Seaweeds are the most ancient plants on earth, and among the most nutrient-rich foods on the planet. They concentrate all the basic elements that are the building blocks of the human body and contain all five essential nutrients of a good diet – vitamins, minerals, carbohydrate, protein & fat. Sea vegetables are rich in vitamins, contain all minerals and trace elements identified as health requirements plus they have other nutrients, many of which are known to offer protection from radiation or chemical pollutants.

The amount of individual minerals & essential elements varies according to the specific seaweed, but they are naturally presented in balanced proportions for easy assimilation by the body. Compared to land vegetables, sea vegetables have 10 to 20 times more usable minerals, concentrate more calcium & iron, and possess the ideal ratio of potassium to sodium. They are the richest foods in natural organic iodine with a high bio-availability and consequently boost metabolism, regulate weight, and stimulate cellular activity which in turn burns fats and eliminates toxins. They provide an impressive vitamin cocktail which has a general tonic effect on the body and also stimulates natural defences; they are also one of the very few non-animal sources of vitamin B12.

Proteins in seaweed are found in a simple form that is easy to assimilate making it immediately available to the body. This protein is also low in calories and fat, alkaline, fully utilisable and contains no cholesterol. Seaweed carbohydrates are slow releasing sugars in the form of fibres, supplying plenty of energy with few calories. Surprisingly, seaweeds are generally low in sodium and therefore do not have an adverse effect on blood pressure. The alginates they contain actually help balance salts in the body by eliminating excess sodium & environmental toxins.

Good quality sea vegetables are dried naturally, so that they retain their natural enzymes. Seaweed also contains a wealth of special compounds and anti-oxidants. Being one of the most alkaline foods one can eat, sea vegetables support the neutralisation of acidity in the body which is a fertile ground for disease.

One does not have to eat great quantities of seaweed in order to enjoy the taste and get the health benefits. Sea vegetables are a very positive alternative to the current trend of consuming a daily handful of expensive vitamins and mineral supplements.

health benefits
health benefits
health benefits
health benefits

One does not have to eat great quantities of sea vegetables in order to enjoy the taste and health benefits. Used dried as a seasoning, many varieties of sea vegetables add a delicate hint of the sea. When used in cooking, they add a mild salty taste and a lot of texture to a dish. Roasted, they have a nutty flavour.

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Types of seaweed

brown

Brown seaweed

Brown seaweeds, known for their richness in iodine, include the largest sea plants, some of them part of large under-water forests. (There are about 160 species in New Zealand). Although grouped as ‘brown’, their colour may vary. The most popular edible brown species are: Kelp / Kombu, Wakame, Sea Spaghetti & Bladderwrack.

NUTRITIONAL PROFILE OF BROWN SEAWEEDS

In addition to their iodine content, they also contain other substances that may be critical to solving degenerative diseases, including alginates (detox radiations & heavy metals), fucoidan (cancer & infections), laminarin (cardio-vascular health) & lignans (oestrogen related illnesses). Brown seaweeds naturally contain a high concentration of minerals & trace elements, especially calcium, magnesium, potassium & zinc. They also contain Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids in a favourable ratio (1/2).

KEY HEALTH BENEFITS OF BROWN SEAWEEDS

  1. Nourish thyroid gland & brain
  2. Balance hormones
  3. Improve metabolism & facilitate weight loss
  4. Remove radioactivity, heavy metals & environmental toxins from the body
  5. Natural inhibitor for cancer cell growth
  6. Soothing to the skin and the digestive tract
  7. Key to bone & joint health

HOW TO INCLUDE BROWN SEAWEEDS INTO YOUR DIET

  • Eat miso soup with Wakame regularly. It is strengthening & nourishing
  • Use Sea Spaghetti instead of noodles in soups or as an ingredient in winter salads
  • Sprinkle Kelp instead of salt on food; it tastes salty & provides a better balance of minerals
  • Use Kombu when cooking beans & pulses; it aids digestion & reduces cooking time
  • Make seaweed stock with Kombu: it is quick, easy, healthy & delicious
  • Visit www.seaweedrecipes.co.nz for an extensive collection of recipes
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red

Red seaweed

Red seaweeds are the oldest & largest group of algae with over 6000 species worldwide (roughly 570 species of found along the NZ coast). Their distinctive colour pigments allow them to survive at great depths. They vary greatly in size, shape and ecosystem, and despite their name, their colour ranges from pink through to crimson, purple and orange. The most popular red species include Karengo (aka nori or laver), Dulse, Agar and Sea Chicory.

NUTRITIONAL PROFILE OF RED SEAWEEDS

Red seaweeds are an excellent source of minerals, carbohydrates, antioxidants, enzymes and generally very high in dietary fibre. They are also rich in agar and carrageenan and have a positive potassium/sodium balance. Red seaweeds are an excellent vegetarian source of high quality, complete protein - containing all the essential amino acids the diet requires. They are also a source of heme iron (a form of iron that can actually prevent iron-deficiency anaemia). Red seaweeds are a good source of iodine, well suited to maintaining healthy thyroid function.

KEY HEALTH BENEFITS OF RED SEAWEEDS

  1. Have a general tonic effect on the body, strengthening the immune system
  2. Promote cardiovascular health & regulate cholesterol
  3. Nourish the nervous system, improving resistance to stress
  4. Relieve congestion in colds & flu
  5. Natural anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-biotic, anti-septic and anti-fungal properties
  6. Soothing to the skin and the digestive tract

HOW TO INCLUDE RED SEAWEEDS INTO YOUR DIET

  • Eat more Sushi. Buy it for a quick lunch or have fun making it at home
  • Add Dulse to soups, pesto & savoury baking for a nutritional boost
  • Sprinkle Karengo on salads or roast it gently for a crunchy snack
  • Use Agar instead of gelatine or pectin
  • Make quick & delicious salads with Sea Chicory
  • Visit www.seaweedrecipes.co.nz for an extensive collection of recipes
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green

Green seaweed

Green seaweeds grow closest to the shore and are closely related to land plants. Often noticed because of their vibrant colours, they are fewer in number than the red or brown seaweeds (about 140 species in New Zealand). The most popular green species are Sea Lettuce and Sea Grapes.

NUTRITIONAL PROFILE OF GREEN SEAWEEDS

Green seaweeds are the emeralds of the sea and they contain a wealth of minerals & trace elements, many times greater than is found in land-grown vegetables. They offer a large amount of digestible vegetable protein (up to 70%) and are an important source of calcium, iron, enzymes and anti-oxidants. They are a top source of chlorophyll, fibre and Vitamin A, B & C.

KEY HEALTH BENEFITS OF GREEN SEAWEEDS

  1. Improve digestion and reduce sugar absorption
  2. Balance blood PH
  3. Antiviral against influenza
  4. Soothe burns, cuts & sores as a compress or poultice
  5. Toning, hydrating & nourishing for the skin
  6. Clear intestinal worms
  7. Used to treat gout

HOW TO INCLUDE GREEN SEAWEEDS INTO YOUR DIET

  • Make attractive salsas & pesto served with corn chips or as a garnish
  • Sprinkle as a condiment on grains, potatoes or seafood
  • Make flavoured butter/spread with sea lettuce, preserved lemon & chilli
  • Re-hydrate the leaves & add to salads, stir-fries or mash
  • Chop into soups, especially nice with root vegetables, squash & grain
  • Visit www.seaweedrecipes.co.nz for an extensive collection of recipes
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