Sea vegetables are wild ocean plants, or marine algae, enjoyed daily as a pantry staple and concentrated healing 'Superfood' in many coastal parts of the world. As our air and water become more acidified through pollution, minerals are leached and depleted from our land fields, and they wash down to the sea, where the wild seaweeds incorporate them. When we eat seaweeds, we take these minerals back into our bodies, and these minerals help us maintain an alkaline condition in our bloodstream, which is a healthy condition, resistant to fatigue and stress. Popular American East Coast sea vegetables include Dulse, Kelp, Alaria, Laver/Nori. (Asian varieties are Nori, Hiziki, Arame, Kombu and Wakame.) Sea vegetables contain essential nutrients, minerals and trace elements in a bio-available optimally balanced form. Small amounts of nutrient power-packed sea veggies add a rich flavor and enhance the nutritional value of every recipe.
Seaweeds have admirable qualities: they are flexible, they are tenacious, sustainable, prolific, and they are the oldest family of plants on earth. These plants link us to the primitive vitality of the sea. The earth's sea-blood within seaweed strengthens our own salinity that we carry within us. Our "inner ocean" - the saline fluids around and in our cells and organs - recreates the primal ocean environment, with a similar range and balance of minerals. Sea vegetables concentrate this mineral matrix into a power-packed 'SuperFood'. When you eat sea veggies, your cells recognize this natural, harmonious, health giving balance.
Seaweeds and Sea vegetables are rich in minerals and trace elements, including calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, iodine, manganese, chromium and more, at levels much greater than those found in land vegetables and surpassing the US RDA. Sea veggies also provide fiber, and enzymes - a veritable medicine chest of proteins, complex carbohydrates and all 54 trace minerals and elements (which act as magnets in the blood to bind other nutrients), vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B6, and vitamin B12. Sea vegetation is especially high in iron, calcium and iodine, the only vegetal source of this brain food, and several varieties are remarkably rich sources of natural fluoride.
Any research on seaweed will reveal that KELP and other sea vegetation is being studied for its positive effects on cancer prevention, cardiovascular health, degenerative disease combatant, detoxification, infection control, intestinal cleanser and healer, respiratory enhancer, sexual health and hormone support, thyroid balancer, weight-loss aid, and wound healer. Marine phytochemicals found only in sea vegetables have been shown to absorb and eliminate radioactive elements and heavy metal contaminants from our bodies. Other recent research of sea vegetables demonstrates the inhibition of tumor formation, reduction in cancerous growth and balance of cholesterol, glandular system and nervous system, as well as anti-viral properties. They have been shown to control blood clotting and have been used for other types of ailments including signs of defeating arthritis.
WHAT ABOUT IODINE AND THYROID? Dr. Ryan Drum, noted herbalist and sea vegetable gatherer, states in "Therapeutic Use of Seaweeds" (Proceedings of the 2001 Pacific Northwest Herbal Symposium) "Seaweeds, eaten regularly, are the best natural food sources of bio-molecular dietary iodine... no land plants are reliable sources of dietary iodine." For comparison, you would have to eat about 40 lb. of fresh vegetables and/or fruits to get as much iodine as you would from 1 gram of whole leaf kelp.
Iodine is the main component of the hormone produced by the thyroid gland, which regulates our metabolism - thyroid hormone accelerates cellular reactions, increases oxygen consumption and basal metabolism, and influences growth and development, energy metabolism, differentiation and protein synthesis.