Seaweed for Humans
Did you know that seaweed is a valuable source of food, containing protein, fats, carboyhydrates, vitamins and minerals. In fact it is almost a complete food, readily assimilated because its K/Na (potassium/sodium) ratio is almost the same as that of the human body.
The average composition of Ascophyllum nodosum seaweed typically contains over 60 minerals and elements, 12 vitamins, 21 amino acids, simple and complex carbohydrates plus several plant growth hormones.
With Sonia Surey-Gen is a marine biologist, her knowledge in seaweed is excellent. She writes: 'The protein found in seaweed is a complete protein, that is, it contains all the eight essential amino acids as in meat, but has virtually no calories, unlike meat. There are variations in nutrient values between the different species of seaweed, especially fibre content.'
Sonia writes: 'Everyone has heard of vitamins nowadays, and probably has some ideas about what they are and why we need them. Most people then forget about them, and go on through life confident that if they just eat, all the necessary vitamins will be taken in. Unfortunately this is not so. Even the so-called ‘balanced diet’ is short on vitamins, and minerals as well, for the two are inextricably linked. Modern agricultural methods mean most apples are low in vitamin C and any vegetable grown on a soil deficient in trace elements will itself be devoid of thos elements. Nitrate fertilizers and over-liming of heavy land help to heasten the departure of those precious elements needed in minute but vital quantities by our bodies.'
'However, help is close at hand, for seaweed catches and stores those trace elements, and produces vitamins a-plenty so that even the devoutly unadvernturous non-seaweed eater can supplement his food intake with a tablet or two, and gain all the benefits of a ‘good’ diet.'
'Vitamins do not work independently of each other or of minerals in nature. For example, vitamin C needs vitamin B and calcium to be present for the body to absorb it properly.'
Minerals – experiments were carried out by G.L. Seifert and H.C. Wood using a Macrocystis pyrifera (a brown seaweed) as the only source of trace elements in the diets of patients in a maternity unit. Patients who were anaemic, subject to colds and the euphemistically termed 45-o’clock fatigue all showed a change for the better. Even those that actually caught colds did not suffer undly from the virus. The miscarriage rate was well below that of the general population. There was a general improvement in body metabolism, no constipation problems, good digestion, etc.
How much trace elements each person needs depend entirely upon that individual, so maximum or minimum daily limits are almost meaningless. That we all need ‘some’ is certain, but absence of one or two minerals may not reveal itself in readyily indentifiable medical symptoms. As with a shortage of vitamins, the results may just be a lowering of vitality, less resistance to common infections and a reduction in the quality of life that can lead on to more specific and serious problems later in life.
So you see, eating seaweed certainly has it benefits – you should definitely try it!!
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