20,000 Leaves Under The Sea

 

Bill  Store Co-Manager/Grocery Buyer

Bill
Store Co-Manager/Grocery Buyer

 

Sea vegetables, better known as seaweed, have long played an important role in the human diet. It has been a part of the diet of people from Asia to Polynesia to Europe. It has been a staple condiment in Japanese, Chinese and Korean cuisine but also in the cuisine of the Vikings and Celts and the ancient Greeks. Ancestral cuisine is one of the means by which healthy strategies were communicated through generations.

Cultures that did not live near the coast traded for products of the sea, often at great expense, knowing their benefits. For instance, in the 1930’s natives of the high Andes were known to consume daily a small amount of a dry sea vegetable that they carried with them. It was obtained from coastal Indians, and was considered an essential provision.

The ocean contains a near endless supply of essential minerals. These minerals are in the same ratio to one another as the mineral content of human blood. Minerals are most bioavailable when they have been processed through a biological system, a chelated and colloidal form, as they are in sea vegetables. Therefore seaweed provides a uniquely complete source of minerals. This is particularly important in an age of demineralized soil from which we cannot derive the minerals we need. Some believe that the prevalence of thyroid dysfunction which plagues modern western man is the lack of sufficient iodine in the diet. Sea vegetables are a rich source of biologically processed iodine.

In addition to their mineral content, sea vegetables contain other nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, proteins and more unique compounds like alginate and fucoxanthin. Alginate and other complex starches in sea vegetables cleanse the gut, improve digestion and absorption by their effect on intestinal mucus and their antibiotic effect on pathogenic anaerobic bacteria. Fucoxanthin has effects on body composition, resting energy expenditure, blood pressure, and serum lipid levels and liver enzyme levels of obese men and women. Fucoxanthin is being looked into for its anti-inflammatory, pain inhibition and anti-cancer effects. A study has shown that fucoxanthin has strong effects on oxidative stress, oxidative stress-related diseases, and cancer.

Sea vegetables are known to remove heavy metals and radioactive pollution from the body. This is ironic since the Fukushima disaster starting in 2011 has polluted the most abundant supply of sea vegetables and the market with highest demand, Japan. Here at Rebecca’s we have clean sources available such as Seaweed IcelandSeaweed Iceland’s seaweed grows wild and is harvested by hand from pure Icelandic waters. It is dried using renewable geothermal energy with a low carbon footprint. Another is Maine Coast Sea Vegetables. Maine Coast Sea Vegetables specializes in sustainably harvested seaweeds from the North Atlantic. Freshly harvested sea vegetables are low-temperature dried and hand packed with minimal processing at their facility in Maine.

There are many varieties of sea vegetables and all have their own way of being prepared according to traditional cuisines. They are a healthy addition to the modern diet.

 

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