Seaweeds are super-foods which need more attention for the miraculous health benefits they provide.
Right from the ancient time's seaweeds have been used by the humans to treat various diseases. Their medical properties have been used from thousands of years by our ancestors. In ancient Roam, the Romans used Seaweeds to treat skin diseases, burns and wounds.
Egyptians used Seaweeds for the treatment of breast cancer and old texts suggest that their results were amazing. Seaweeds contain agents which are anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial. Ancient Chinese texts refer to seaweeds stating, "There is no swelling that is not relieved by seaweed.
What are Seaweeds?
Seaweeds are marine micro-algae. They are plant-like organisms which are multi-cellular, marine algae that inhabit the part of the sea which is close to shore.
Put in simple terms seaweed is sea vegetable. There are thousands of species of seaweeds but they are basically identified on the basis of thallus colour. The three main categories of seaweed are green, red and brown. These are Brown Algae (Phaeophyceae), Green Algae (Chlorophyta) and Red Algae (Rhodophyta)
All seaweeds are a powerhouse of minerals, trace elements, fibre and various important amino acids. They have high amounts of calcium, iodine, magnesium and iron. They also contain Chlorophyll a green pigment plants use along with light to make food. Chlorophyll is a medicine for human beings.
Of the varieties of seaweeds used in foods, there are five types of seaweeds that are most commonly eaten today:
Nori (Porphyra species): Nori is used traditionally as sushi wrap and is one of the richest source of protein. The 50 percent of Nori contains protein (100 grams contain 50 grams of protein). Nori has an amazing nutritional value. It contains omega-3 fatty acids, taurine a compound which controls cholesterol, calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin B-12, vitamin E, Vitamin K and Vitamin A, much higher than that found in carrots.
Arame (Eisenia bicyclis): Arame is basically added to soup and salads in cooking in countries like Japan, China, etc. It has anti-obesity effects and is used by athletes and players for muscle cramps. It contains a high amount of iodine. Fifty grammes of Arame contains more than 100 percent of RDA. It has ten times more calcium then milk and high amounts of Vitamin A.
(Laminaria japonica): Kombu contains a high amount of Iodine Calcium and iron are other two vital minerals present in Kombu. It is also high in a photochemical called fucoidan that works. It also acts as blood purifier and alkalizer.
Hijiki (Sargassum fusiforme): Hijiki like other seaweeds has a broad range of important vitamins and minerals for the human body including vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, magnesium, and iodine. It has the maximum calcium content of all seaweeds.
Wakame (Undaria pinnatifida): Wakame is also high in calcium but second to Hijiki. It is widely used by women for preventing osteoporosis and is called the woman's seaweed. It contains iron, protein, trace elements, vitamins A, C, E, and K. A pigment in Wakame called fucoxanthin, is scientifically known to improve insulin resistance.
Health Benefits: Seaweed is known to detox the body and is therefore used the world over for detox cleansing drinks.It helps in weight loss, cellulite reduction and overcoming dry skin.Great for digestive health: Brown seaweed contains alginate that strengthens gut mucus thereby protecting the gut wall.