Seaweed has been gaining popularity for its nutritional benefits and recently has been recognized for its medicinal effects as well. There are nearly 75 elements found in brown seaweed including a broad spectrum of essential minerals and vitamins, antioxidants, glyconutrients, polyphenols, and essential fatty acids. The vitamins and minerals help create a homeostatic environment in the body. Similar to the effects of fish oils, the essential fatty acids in seaweed promote cellular regeneration essential for brain and nerve function. Seaweed is rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants such as riboflavin and thiamine, and high levels of trace elements like zinc that promote healing. Diabetics can especially benefit from the insulin stabilizer, chromium, found in the plant. The trace mineral, insulin, is a necessity for the normal metabolism of cells.
Brown seaweed also contains an abundance of the sulphated polysaccharide, fucoidan. This nutrient has been found to promote healing, reduce inflammation, and in recent studies, has been accredited with the ability to stop cancer cells from duplicating. Although this nutrient is not labeled as a cure for cancer, these observations have researchers optimistic about finding clinical uses for fucoidan in future cancer treatments. Another benefit of using fucoidan is that unlike traditional cancer treatments, fucoidan has no known adverse side effects.
These amazing properties are no surprise to those living in the coastal communities of Japan, China, and Korea. Seaweed has long been a staple in their diet and the people of these regions have some of the lowest rates of cancer and heart disease. The beneficial brown seaweed can be consumed in a variety of ways. Oral supplements and topical seaweed treatments can be found in many natural health stores, and the edible seaweed is available at many specialty Japanese food markets.
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