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Properties of seaweed and how to include it in your diet
Seaweed, an ancient marine plant that our ancestors used in their diet, has reached the twenty-first century as a superfood. In recent years, all its properties have been re-proven, and its prestige has been increasing along with the scientific evidence of its multiple benefits for healthy nutrition and for maintaining optimal energy levels.
Seaweed provides essential nutrients only by adding small amounts to salads or green smoothies in our regular diet. Proportions are important in the case of algae because overdoing it can negate some of its benefits.
Spirulina is one of the most recently studied algae. It has been declared the food of the millennium by UNESCO because of its high content of biologically valuable proteins, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. It gets its name from its spiral shape. Its intense green colour indicates a high presence of chlorophyll, a pigment with great antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, and purifying properties.
Its properties include its anti-ageing power, thanks to its richness in antioxidants such as beta-carotenes, which are essential for keeping our vision in perfect condition. The other superpower of spirulina is protecting our cardiovascular system, thanks to its large amount of essential fatty acids and vitamins such as vitamin E and vitamin B6.
In general, algae are more nutrient-dense than terrestrial plants. Their content of vitamins A, C, D, E, B1, B2, phosphorus, and potassium is higher. They also contain iron, iodine, fibre, sodium, and vegetable protein. Some nutrition experts, such as Kenneth Prange, state that the chemical composition of seawater is similar to that of human blood. ‘Regular consumption of seaweed in controlled amounts can help stabilise blood sugar levels, cleanse the digestive system, purify and alkalinise the blood, cleanse the lymphatic system, and help bind and remove heavy metals from the body. The acid alginate in algae can even bind to radioactive material to help remove it from the body’, writes the expert in this article.
Algae contain ten times more calcium than milk and are easier to assimilate.
Their properties seem endless: antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory. This means that these humble marine plants strengthen our immune systems and protect us from numerous diseases.
Another of the incredible benefits of seaweed is its high iodine content, a mineral essential for the proper functioning of the thyroid, one of the glands of the endocrine system that regulates essential functions related to energy and immunity.
As if that were not enough, seaweed is not fattening, and it takes away hunger; it is very satiating. There is no better ally for a balanced and healthy weight loss diet.
In addition to spirulina, kombu, wakame, fucus, and sea spaghetti are well known and can be found in any specialised shop. There are hundreds of delicious recipes for dishes that are very nutrient-dense with an excellent taste and texture.
SHA’s concept of nutrition is based on the principle of Hippocrates: ‘Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food’. It is also based on the nutritional balance of yin and yang, applying the rules of Mediterranean and Asian nutrition. It is not surprising that the main elements of the SHA diet include algae together with cereals, legumes, vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts.