At age 16 I was a volunteer at a hospital bacteriology lab. I became a chemist for U.S. government. Then I studied health & related fields.
Seaweed Health Benefits
Seaweed or sea vegetables like kelp are very nutritious. This article was written in November of 2011. Land plants need to put a lot of energy into fighting gravity. Sea plants do not need to do this since they just float in the water.
Land plants need to put roots into the earth to look for minerals in the soil. Sea plants can just float and have the minerals go to them. The land that plants are grown on do not have enough trace minerals. The sea is loaded with trace minerals.
Many medical doctors feel that Americans do not get enough iodine. One article was saying that people should eat more salt to get more iodine.
But iodine is added to salt. So this is like adding vitamin D to donuts and telling people to eat more donuts. Many MDs say that a lack of iodine in diet is causing a lot of cancer.
So seaweed is a great source of iodine and other trace minerals. People need iodine and other trace minerals. Many MDs feel that Americans have so many problems with metabolism and the thyroid gland due to a lack of iodine in diet.
For decades supplements of kelp have been sold to aid in weight loss. Seaweed nourishes the thyroid gland. Without eating seaweed, people do not get enough trace minerals in their diet.
David Brownstein M.D. said:
To the present date, we (Drs Brownstein, NG and Nusbaum) have now tested iodine levels well over 4,000 patients. Our results have been consistent; approximately 96% of patients test low for iodine.
Studies have shown that iodine deficiency can alter the structure and function of breast tissue.
There is a direct relationship between breast cancer (as well as goiter) and regions of the world where iodine deficiency is prevalent.
There are many factors that affect the Japanese that are the longest living people on the planet. But we do know that the Japanese eat a lot of seaweed which is even a part of sushi. See Why the Japanese are the Longest Living People.
Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease and other health problems like diabetes and stroke. The 5 things that contribute to this are large waistline, high triglyceride level in blood, low good cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar.
Here is a PubMed article called Can Seaweed Lower Metabolic Syndrome. PubMed is part of the U.S. Library of Medicine that is an NIH (National Institutes of Health). It says:
Incidence of the metabolic syndrome is increasing worldwide, with notable exceptions of some Asian countries where seaweeds are commonly consumed.
Consumption of 4 to 6 g/d seaweed, typical for most people in Japan, may be associated with low metabolic syndrome prevalence.
Here is a October 9, 2014 article on GreenMedInfo.com called Red Algae Extract Fights Ebola ... and HIV, SARS and HCV. It says:
Yes, humans aren't the only critters that produce mannose-binding lectins. Red algae also produce these profusely, which allow the algae to protect themselves from invasion by viruses.
In 2010 Harvard researchers tested a recombinant version of Griffithsin [a protein in a red algae] – called rhMBL – against Ebola. Once again, they found the mannose-binding lectins were able to not only breakdown the viral shells of the Ebola, but when given to mice infected with Ebola, the mice became immune to the virus.
Some health food stores sell granulated kelp. You can sprinkle it on foods as a spice. Some places sell kelp powder in bulk. Do not buy that since it is like dust and does not handle well or taste good on food. Bragg has an herbal mix of about 20 spices. They also have it with kelp as the first ingredient.
You can buy nori in sheets. The packages have a dessicant in them to keep it dry and it does not need to be refrigerated. It is used to make sushi but it is a nice snack to eat by itself. I use both of the above. I like to eat nori straight out of the packet as a snack.
More About Benefits of Seaweed like Fighting Cancer
Here was an article about how seaweed is good for heart health. It said:
Seaweeds are known to contain a number of heart-health compounds, including ACE inhibitors, antioxidants and essential fatty acids (lipids).
"Seaweeds are a known source of essential fatty acids, which are thought to reduce thrombosis and atherosclerosis -- factors important in the reduction of the risk of heart disease," explains Dr Hayes.
Brown seaweed contains sulfated polysaccharides that are also called fucoidans. These phytochemicals have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anticoagulant, antithrombotic, and antiviral properties. Antithrombotic means that it reducesthrombus formation. A thrombus is a blood clot. These sulfated polysaccharides also produce cardiovascular benefits like reducing the formation of blood clots and lowering LDL cholesterol.
There is a book called Anticancer that was written by an MD that cured his own cancer after it came back after doctors cured it. It says:
Several varieties of seaweed commonly eaten in Asia contain molecules that slow cancer growth, especially that of breast, prostate, skin, and colon cancer. Brown seaweed lengthens the menstrual cycle, thanks to an antiestrogen effect. Fucoidan [sulfated polysaccharides], found in kombu and wakame [also kelp] seaweed, helps provoke cell death by apoptosis [a natural process of self-destruction or programmed cell death] and stimulate immune cells, including NK cells [natural killer cells].
The principle edible seaweeds are nori, kombu, wakame, arame and dulse.
Nori is one of the extremely rare vegetable species that contain long-chain omega-3 fatty acids-- the most effective against inflammation and indespensible to the proper functioning of neurons [specialized cells that make up the body's nervous system].
Note that foods that are anti-inflammatory like seaweed, green tea, ginger and the spice turmeric help prevent lifestyle diseases (the ones that become more frequent as you get older) like cardiovascular disease, arthritis, cancer and type 2 diabetes. Among the anticancer foods mentioned in the book, green tea is mentioned first, turmeric that is in curry is mentioned second and ginger is mentioned third.
Nori and dulse are red sea vegetables and kelp, kombu, wakame and arame are brown sea vegetables. For more about green tea and turmeric fighting cancer see my article on here about Great Foods that Fight Cancer. It tells how curcumin is the phytochemical in turmeric that is credited with most of its benefits. It has a link to a webinar you can watch about curcumin prevents cancer by the National Cancer Institute.
Types of Seaweed
Here is more information about some of the most popular types of sea vegetables: Nori : dark purple-black color that turns phosphorescent green when toasted, famous for its role in making sushi rolls. Kelp : light brown to dark green in color, sometimes available in flake form. Dulse : soft, chewy texture and a reddish-brown color. Hijiki : looks like small strands of black wiry pasta, has a strong flavor. Kombu : very dark in color and generally sold in strips or sheets, oftentimes used as a flavoring for soups. Wakame : similar to kombu, most commonly used to make Japanese miso soup. Arame : this lacy, wiry sea vegetable is sweeter and milder in taste than many others.
New Addition: January 10, 2012. A friend said that he saw that kelp was the fastest growing plant food. I checked that online and it was first with bamboo 2nd. Kelp grows 18 inches a day and can get up to 150 feet. This means that kelp is a very sustainable food.
Improves Immune System Function
See first video below where an MD below tells about a study done that shows eating seaweed improves the immune system.
How to Boost Your Immune System with Wakame Seaweed. 4 minutes
The Health Benefits of Seaweed Medical Course From The Doctors TV show
Seaweed: Beauty Benefits Inside & Out (Talks about iodine and thyroid gland)
dianew from Spain on December 09, 2011:
Very interesting hub, thanks. I was not aware the stuff was so healthy, but I do enjoy eating it.