The benefits of seaweed are easily taken for granted. Seaweed is more than just a nuisance at the beach; it actually has some amazing properties that benefit the human body in a variety of ways. Seaweed has the potential to detoxify the human body and rejuvenate the skin with its ability to destroy bacteria and bounty of minerals. For many years, people have tried to keep the benefits of seaweed a secret, but the word is out.
People have used seaweed, sometimes called the "vegetable of the sea", for thousands of years. It has always been closely tied to humans in various cultures because of its availability and the many similarities with the chemical makeup of our own bodies. Seaweed is easy to find, harvest and use.
Anthropologists say we all came from the sea and that some to the sea's elements are found in our own bodies. Seaweed has a mixture of vitamins, minerals and trace elements forming its composition. Human beings have the same sort of mixture internally. This similarity enables the minerals and healing elements of seaweed to be absorbed through the skin and into our blood, making the benefits of seaweed an almost perfect solution to many of our health problems.
Seaweed has been integrated into our diet and is very versatile. It is found not only in food but also in many lotions and creams or skin care, pill forms for various health benefits and in an assortment of other options f or general human consumption most people are not aware of.
SEAWEED IN FOOD
One of the easiest ways to reap the benefits of seaweed is to use it in cooking. Because it is available in such large quantities, seaweed is very affordable. There is nothing rare about seaweed, that is for sure. Sea vegetables such as seaweed and certain types of sea algae thrive without any help from humans.
In many parts of the world, seaweed was used for food long before any land-based agricultural systems were born. This made seaweed one of the first "vegetables" of any kind consumed by people and one of the basic staples for diets of early man who lived by the sea. Seaweed is one of the oldest foods on earth and one of its oldest life forms, too.
Seaweed is harvested and eaten, simple as that. There is no special process involved besides perhaps a wash. You can find a wide variety of foods all over the world eaten or cooked with seaweed. It can be eaten fresh, steamed, boiled, cooked or fried, making it an incredibly versatile addition to any dish that combines with just about any type of meal.
There are many different ways to use seaweed for human consumption. You have probably eaten or consumed seaweed in some variety without even realizing it! Stabilizers, emulsifiers and other base components extracted from some species of seaweed have been used in the production of toothpaste, gelatins, pudding and ice cream for many years.
BENEFITS OF SEAWEED
The taste alone may not make you rush out to the store to buy some seaweed for dinner tonight, but the health benefits of this sea vegetable will. Sea vegetable are virtually fat-free, low calorie and are on of the riches sources of minerals in the vegetable kingdom. Growing in a marine environment, sea vegetables naturally absorb and abundance of minerals found in the ocean.
Sea vegetables contain high amounts of calcium and phosphorous and are extremely high in magnesium, iron, iodine and sodium. Seaweed contains a wide variety of vitamin components, including vitamin A, B1, C and E. Seaweed also contains a tremendous concentration of protein and a significant amount of healthy carbohydrates. It may well be the most nutritionally-packed food on the planet.
TYPES OF SEAWEED
There are a number of different variations of seaweed. There are essentially two basic groups: brown algae and red algae. Within each group are a number of different species, often determined by their location in the world. Each type of seaweed has a different nutritional properties that are notable:
HIJIKI is a type of brown algae typically found in the Far East. This type of sea vegetable contains the most calcium of all types and can be very tough to consume in its natural state. Hijiki is traditionally harvested, dried, steamed and dried again for maximum flavor and value.
KELP is probably the most well known type of brown algae seaweed in the world. Kelp grows along the coastlines of the Pacific and the Atlantic, for the most part and is mostly dried and sold whole or in granulated forms. It is sometimes sprinkled on foods as a condiment or added whole as a part of salad or a wrap. Kelp is a common supplement for people with thyroid disorders.
KOMBU is a type of brown algae seaweed used for soup stock or added to the bottom of a pot of rice for some extra flavor. Its properties prevent foods from sticking and can also help some foods, such as beans, cook faster. Kombu is also good for reducing the gassy after effects of beans, making them easier to digest.
IRISH MOSS is a type of red algae seaweed that is popular for use in breads, relishes and other delicacies. Some people even snack on Irish moss right out of the bag.
NORI is a type of red algae that is actually cultivated instead of collected int the wild. Found in Japan, nori is used all over the world in a number of recipes. Many people in Scotland use nori in breads, for instance. Nori is typically used as a wrapping for sushi, however and it is high in vitamin A and protein.
SEAWEED AND BEAUTY
Along with putting seaweed in food, people are learning about the benefits of seaweed when it comes to beauty. There are a number of products that boast ingredients including this sea vegetable in their components, such as various facial creams and lotions. A trip to your local drug store will likely unearth a whole world of products that use seaweed in some form or another.
Many experts cite the stressful lifestyle that people live as part of the reason why people are starting to appear more broken down or unhealthy. With its natural elements, seaweed is the perfect answer to bodies drained of their nutrients due to stress or poor hygiene habits. Using natural seaweed directly on the skin is a popular beauty treatment that introduces the healing effects of the sea vegetable right to the skin.
People use seaweed in all different forms, from seaweed powders and extracts to the direct application of "raw" seaweed wraps and facials. Much is made of seaweed facials and body wraps, in which strands of seaweed are placed on the face or body. The seaweed then works to draw out any toxins or impurities. After the treatment, skin appears more youthful.
The benefits of seaweed are vast and go a long way to help keep the body healthy inside and out. Once you get past the fact that you are eating seaweed or using it on you skin, you will find this sea vegetable extremely useful and it will likely become a common item in your home.
ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN FIRST
Although it is helpful to get health information by reading and talking with friends, make sure you consult your doctor first before trying any new treatment or changing your diet. Remember that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate the strength, purity or safety of herbs and supplements. Be sure to always read product labels. If you have a medical condition or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, speak with your doctor before taking medical action or changing your health routine. This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor