For most of us the word seaweed conjures up images of beaches strewn with brown weed, particularly after stormy weather, when it lays in great heaps along the high tide mark. Not so long ago the idea of eating seaweed or kelp as it is also known, would have been considered very strange to say the least.
Times change, however, and seaweed along with many other exotic and unusual foods are now considered practically mainstream for people wanting to improve their health and well-being. Of course some food sources, that we considered unusual have been known to other cultures for centuries and have long been used for health or healing purposes.
The knowledge about plants and their beneficial properties has been handed down through the generations with little or no scientific evidence to back it up. Only now can modern research techniques find out so much more about these plants and pinpoint the sources of goodness they contain.
Findings in recent years, from the research that has been done on seaweed suggest that it is very beneficial in several ways. It is well-known that seaweed contains iodine, vitamins and minerals as well as the by-products, algin and agar. Algin offers good protection against pollution carcinogens and toxins and is also used to normalize bowel functions.
What is not so well known, and is the subject of much more research, is the ingredient known as Fucoidan. One of the major health benefits of Fucoidan is the ability to interact with and modulate the immune system. Modulation in this context is a term describing the process of reducing the extremes of cellular activity. Fucoidan has also shown an ability to regenerate cells, thereby enabling tissue and organ regeneration. This is beneficial for a long and healthy life, since it helps to slow the aging process.
Fucoidan has also been shown to help maintain a healthy blood flow. Tests also suggest that it helps to slow the absorption rate of glucose or sugar into the bloodstream. A slower absorption rate can help to minimize the potential damage caused by high blood sugar levels. Due to the modulating properties of Fucoidan it has also been shown to support joint function and cartilage health.
In layman's terms these benefits are:
· Assisting the immune system and the increase of circulating white blood cells
· Enables tissue and organ regeneration thereby assisting longevity
· Supports the circulatory system allowing better blood flow and cardiac functions
· Decreases the clotting ability of blood
· Reduces high blood sugar levels
· Maintains healthy levels of cholesterol
· Supports proper joint functions and cartilage health
· Assists in the elimination of harmful cells
· Aids in maintaining proper gastrointestinal function and health
· It is a potent antioxidant
· Plays a significant roll in maintaining optimal kidney function
· It is an aid for low thyroid activity
It would appear that the brown weed washed up on the beaches is beneficial to health in more ways than we can imagine! So why aren't we eating it by the bucket full? Well some Asian countries like Japan do, and their longevity is renowned. For the western world though the taste of seaweed has stopped the use of this wonder food.
The good news now is we don't actually have to eat it. Kelp or seaweed in tablet form has been available for some time, but even so the taste is hardly palatable. However, with suspended gel technology the manufacturers are able to create a very palatable version.