Sea Vegetables - What Are They?
Sea vegetables grow in coastal sea water without roots or flowers. They have anchors called holdfasts that help them attach to rocks or other sea plants. There are about 15,000 species of seaweed around the globe. They are classified into three main groups according to colour: reds, browns and greens. Of the thousands of species of sea vegetables, only a small fraction is used for human consumption. On average, they contain 50% carbohydrate, 35% protein, many vitamins (incl. B12), fibre and a maximum of 2% fat.
Sea Vegetables - Why Eat Them?
Although many people resist trying seaweed, sea vegetable connoisseurs are often made, not born. Many of us have acquired the taste already because of the popularity of Japanese sushi. The reality is that sea vegetables can be an unsurpassed complement to most meals for both taste and nutritional value even in Western cuisine. The secret is to know what other foods complement the taste of a particular sea vegetable. Different varieties of sea vegetables, like land vegetables, have widely different tastes and characteristics.
Because they are hydroscopic, sea vegetables can be used as a nutritious and flavourful binder in fritters, pancakes, soups and gravies. Kelp also acts as a natural tenderizer and flavour enhancer for meats and in marinades.
Sea water and the fluids in a healthy human body contain many of the same minerals in very similar concentrations. As a result, sea vegetables have been treasured throughout centuries for their ability to restore, nourish and strengthen the body. One does not have to eat great quantities of sea vegetables in order to enjoy their benefits. Used dried as a seasoning, many varieties of sea vegetables add a delicate hint of the sea. When used in cooking, they add a slight salty taste and a lot of texture to the dish. Roasted, they sometimes have a delicious nutty taste.
Sea vegetables are rich in vitamins, contain all fifty-six minerals and trace elements identified as health requirements, plus they have other nutrients, many of which are known to offer protection against radiation or chemical pollutants. For that reason they are known as a great promoter of glandular health. Minerals in sea vegetables are assimilated more easily than minerals in most supplements because they are made available in an organic chelated form.
Sea vegetables contain iodine, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphates, sulphates, chlorides, bromides and other nutrients in a well balanced form. Moreover, many natural nutrients are easier to assimilate than ones that are artificially produced.
Virtually all sea vegetables contain an abundance of the trace elements, including zinc and magnesium. Sea vegetables are easily prepared and are widely available in natural foods stores. You do not have to eat great quantities of sea vegetables in order to enjoy their benefits.
Sea vegetables have an alkalising and normalising effect, making them ideal for an often over acidic Western diet. They have a diuretic action in our body which means that sea plants help release excess body fluids and dissolves fatty wastes through the skin.
Sea Vegetables in History
It seems that sea vegetables have always been used by humans, with centuries-old recipes still used today. Past use is attributed to the people of South Africa, China, Japan, Hawaii, Burma, Philippines, Chile, Peru, the North American Indians, Aztecs, Eskimos, Germans, French, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, British, Channel Islands and Maoris. Maoris used seaweed extensively in soups, steamed, roasted, raw and often mixed into a jelly with tutu juice to be eaten or used medicinally. The wide blades of Rimurapa were split to form a pouch for packing and preserving mutton birds, or to cook fish in. In China each family member was given a slice of seaweed jelly daily as a tonic, while seaweed harvesting in Jersey was time of singing, dancing, feasting and storytelling. Commercialisation started in the 1800's in Britain mainly with alginates.
Chinese physicians used sea vegetables as long ago as 3000 BC to treat human maladies. The Babylonians used extracts and whole plants for cosmetics and skin care preparations. The ancient Egyptians treated what we now call goitre with sea vegetables. East Coast American Indians dipped sea vegetables in clam juice, sun-dried them and used them effectively against influenza, a custom still followed on the coast of Maine.
There is no family of foods more protective against radiation and environmental pollutants than sea vegetables. All sea vegetables contain radio-protective properties. One of the more powerful protective elements in sea vegetables is sodium alginate. The alginic acid found in sea vegetation acts as a binding or chelating agent in the body for the radioactive strontium 90 which is now found in our vegetables, milk and meat. Not only does alginic acid flush out strontium 90 from the digestive tract, but it also extracts and chelates it from the bone marrow and bloodstream. Researchers at McGill University (Canada) are finding that this extends to all heavy metals including lead, cadmium and mercury.
Another benefit of eating sea vegetables is that they help dissolve fat and mucus deposits. The body frequently stores environmental contaminants in fat or adipose tissue because they are not essential to life. By helping to dissolve fat deposits and by pulling some contaminants out of the body, sea vegetables can help detoxify from different types of radiation and industrial pollutants.
|Karengo - Typical Analysis|
|Tin / Fluorine
||5.00 ppm /ea|
|Copper / Nickel
||2.70 ppm /ea|
|(other elements have less than lppm)|
Totally natural Karengo dried sea vegetable - free of additives.