No other generation before ours has been exposed to as many man-made chemicals and toxic substances as we are today. Our air and water is more polluted, food more processed, our lifestyles sedentary, stress levels higher and our bodies lacking essential vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Our organs are constantly working to detox and excrete these pollutants and toxins from our cells – this is a natural, ongoing process of neutralizing and eliminating dietary and environmental toxins from the body. However our bodies can become overwhelmed when there is too much to process and will simply store these toxins in our tissues. When this happens, our ability to regulate and defend the body from illness is reduced.
Seaweeds are packed with nutrients that support and encourage the process of flushing toxins. Here’s how they do this:
- Seaweeds are rich in iodine and minerals which promote a healthy metabolism. This:
- stimulates the liver to drive stored toxins from the body
- promotes elimination through the intestines, kidney and skin
- improves circulation of the blood
- All seaweeds (not just the green ones) are rich in Chlorophyll, a ‘potent cleaner’ that purifies the body fluids (blood & lymphatic fluids)
- Seaweeds contain special bio-cctive compounds, unique to seaweeds (not available in land plants) which remove radioactive elements, heavy metals, free radicals and other environmental pollutants. Examples include:
- Alginates (which remove environmental toxins & radioactive particles)
- Fucoidan (which controls the growth of pathogenic bacteria, fungi & viruses, and has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells without harming normal cells and prevent tumours spreading, or metastasizing)
- Laminarin (potential modulator of intestinal metabolism) and Lignan (phytonutrients high in antioxidants that may help regulate hormone levels).
- Seaweeds have high combinations of multi-functional, soluble plant fibers. Soluble fiber has the ability to form viscous gels in the intestinal tract whereas insoluble fiber is instead characterised by its bulking capacity. Both forms of fiber can bind water or minerals, which can be used by colonic microflora as a fermentable substrate, to provide prebiotic benefits & facilitate binding, lubrication & evacuation of toxins. A study of the fecal flora of Japanese women showed that high seaweed intake increases the good bacteria in the gut.
- Seaweeds are rich in antioxidants, anti-viral, anti-parasitic & anti-fungal properties which help to eliminate free radicals. According to New York University’s Langone Medical Center, snacking on seaweed might give your liver a welcome antioxidant boost and also decrease fat deposits in the liver. A study published in the November 2012 issue of the journal ‘Food Chemistry’, found that certain seaweeds may improve liver function by decreasing cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and providing antioxidant benefits.
Detoxification is a ‘first aid to the body’ to relieve it from the burden of waste and toxic substances so that its regulatory self-healing and defense mechanisms can function again. There are many philosophies regarding ‘detox’, from total fasting to limiting food intake to a limited range of ingredients. Whilst there are good reasons to give our body the occasional rest, there is also value in a more consistent & continuous approach to detox by consuming foods daily that promote the flushing of toxins.
Seaweeds are classified in groups according to their pigmentation and each group supports different aspects of the detoxification process:
- REDS: high in prebiotic fibers and anti-viral/ fungal/ parasitic/ septic/ inflammatory properties.
- BROWNS: high in iodine (foster healthy metabolism) & unique detoxifying compounds
- GREENS: high in chlorophyll & high quality fibers
Disclaimer: This material is provided for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This information is generic and may not include the latest research. We encourage you to do your own research and discuss your findings with a qualified health practitioner who can help you validate the outcomes in the context of your specific & individual health situation.