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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Therapeutic Value of Different Foods >>  Vegetables >>  Sea Vegetables

Sea Vegetables

Sea vegetables are neither plant nor animal.  These belong to the algae group, and thrive in salt or fresh water.  Sea vegetables also need sunlight to survive and grow.  Better known as seaweeds, it comes in different algae variety.  This has also been a regular staple in Japanese culture for its taste and the health benefits they give the body.  

There are endless types of sea vegetables classified according to color.  Colors range from brown, green, or red.  Each has their distinct shape, texture, and taste.  The more popular varieties are Nori, Hijiki, Kombu, wakame, arame, and dulse.  The familiar kelp is one more assortment.  In Japanese restaurants, these are served up as flavorings in soups, or sushi rolls.

The inclusion of sea vegetables in the regular diet can keep thyroid problems at bay as it is an excellent iodine source.  It is also a rich source of vitamin K which can prevent bone disease like osteoporosis.  It contains tryptophan; thus it can induce sleep, relaxes the body, prevents migraines, and provide menopausal symptoms relief.

Magnesium restores normal sleep behavior in women experiencing menopause symptoms. The lignans (anti-cancer agents) eases symptoms of hot flashes.  The phytonutrients or lignans (cancer protecting agents) in the sea vegetable inhibit the increase of cancer cells. The nutrients destabilize the growth of dangerous fat cells in the fatty tissues of the breast.  These anti-cancer agents can also help prevent colon cancer.  Aside from the big health benefits, eating sea vegetables will provide folates, iron, calcium, Vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, and riboflavin.  

Kelp is one of the more popular sea vegetables.  It is a very rich source of iodine, and is recommended to prevent thyroid diseases.  The iodine in kelp as in all sea vegetables is important to human health.  When there is iodine insufficiency, the body cannot process the hormones in the body to regulate cell metabolism.  Body deficient in iodine exhibits enlarged thyroids, or goiter.  It is reported that 4% of the 200 million people affected are caused by iodine lack.

There are also sea vegetables that contain substances similar to carbohydrates.  These are called fucans that behave like anti-inflammatory agents.    

The abundance of folic acid in sea vegetables prevents birth defects, osteoporosis, and prevents heart attacks.  The presence of magnesium, another heart helper increases the value of sea vegetables as healthy heart promoters.  Folic acid breaks down homocysteine that is the culprit behind every fatal and near fatal heart attacks or strokes, and magnesium lowers the blood pressure.  

A regular diet of sea vegetables will help those trying to cope with atherosclerosis or heart disease induced by diabetes.   It is easy to easy to make this part of every day meal.  Use it as soup flavoring, mix with stews, add as salad ingredients are just some easy and delicious ways towards good health.  

Sea vegetables are sold as flat sheets, flakes, or powder.  Choose the type that will suit your needs.  When purchasing sea vegetables, select those are tightly sealed with no excessive moisture.
Submitted on January 16, 2014