There has been a leap of technology involving superfoods and superfood supplements. Research has shown that plants from the sea, such as seaweeds, are amongst the most nutrition-dense and health-promoting foods people can eat.
The Cleveland Clinic refers to superfoods as "natural foods that are especially nutrient-dense while typically being low in calories.
Edible seaweed has been recognized as a superfood in Asian countries like China, Indonesia, Philippines, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, and Malaysia for centuries. The nutritional benefit of seaweed as a food and supplement is now being acknowledged by scientists in other parts of the world. For instance, the mainstream scientific publication known as frontiers in Marine Science has recognized seaweeds as foods that, "Can reduce the risk of various illnesses, as they include various bioactive compounds."
Seaweeds are chlorophyll-containing plants, also known as macroalgae, that grow in aquatic systems. The chlorophyll gives seaweeds their color, as green algae have chlorophyll a and b, and brown algae get their color from other pigments.
Most Americans will consume seaweeds in dietary supplements for the ease and lack of experience of cooking with these plants. And the use of seaweed products as foods or supplements is really environmentally friendly. They do not need freshwater or fertilizer, and they absorb carbon dioxide and reduce the carbon footprint.
Many bioactive compounds support human health from different seaweeds. Seaweed food products are densely packed with phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals, fiber, and healthy fats. As a superfood, seaweeds are relatively low in calories and simple carbohydrates, an essential need for a population where overweight and diabetes are widespread.
Examples consist of:
Superfoods are the answer for Americans and individuals all over the world struggling with disease and poor vitality. Research has shown that certain superfoods are densely packed with phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals, fiber, and healthy fats. Furthermore, superfoods are relatively low in calories and simple carbs, an essential need for a population where overweight and diabetes are commonplace.
New research has shown that superfoods operate at the deepest level by providing information to the genes which comprise human DNA. The exciting field of nutritional epigenetics has revealed that the expression of human genes can be controlled to prevent and fight disease using the information passed from superfoods. Most Americans are getting the wrong information from processed foods and toxins that pass on dysfunctional information to our genes. As a result of this faulty messaging from the wrong choice of foods, there is a breakdown in cellular and organ operation. Just like someone can improve the functioning of a computer system by enhancing the coding software, one can improve the functioning of the body with improved information from superfoods! Scientists have reported that the nutrients and phytonutrients in seaweeds "have been linked to improving human health by altering the genetic expression of cellular events.".
Seaweeds include unique polysaccharides (sugar molecules bonded together) that serve as antioxidants and support the immune system. For instance, brown seaweeds include the polysaccharide known as laminarin, which is found in brown seaweeds. Laminarin has antibacterial and antiviral activity and acts as a prebiotic (feeding your healthy gut bacteria).
The American diet does not provide sufficient minerals for proper human health. Seaweeds contain high concentrations and many minerals, including potassium, calcium iodine, magnesium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, and others. Some seaweed products are fantastic sources of iodine, which is needed to synthesize thyroid hormones in the human body. Also, seaweeds include calcium phosphate, a form of calcium much more bioavailable than the poorly absorbed calcium carbonate in cow's milk and some supplements.
Seaweeds have three special classifications of pigments that support human health in powerful ways:
Your body requires essential fatty acids for several body functions, including the make-up of your cells. Seaweed products have polyunsaturated fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6. Many of my patients need omega fatty acids supplementation, and seaweed-derived supplements are one plant way to deliver these essential nutrients.
The international journal Food Science and Human Wellness documents the known health benefits of seaweed supplements. The writers note several studies demonstrate that seaweed supplements along with a regular diet has health benefits. Some of the documentation in this journal includes:
There are several kinds of seaweed foods and extracts. It is best to use a combination of them in supplements as seaweeds contain many nutrients and phytonutrients utilized by the various systems of the body. Some of the most well researched that individuals should consider as part of their diet or supplements include:
If you would like to supply your body with natural sources of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, then edible seaweed products and supplements. While the majority of Americans will not consume edible seaweed products regularly, they will take high quality supplements. If you have a disease state, talk to a nutrition-trained physician for specific guidance on taking supplements.