Use seaweed for detox or gentle cleansing – just as seaweeds clean the oceans, they can have the same calming and neutralizing effect in our bodies. Read on to undertand the five different ways seaweed does this in a holistic context.
Never before in human history have we been exposed to as many harmful chemicals and toxic substances as we are in today’s world.
Our land, air and water have become more polluted than ever, our food is more processed, our lifestyles are more sedentary, our stress levels keep rocketing higher and we aren’t properly nourishing our bodies. We find ourselves lacking in essential vitamins, minerals and enzymes, while our organs are constantly working to detox and excrete pollutants and toxins from our cells.
Detoxing – out with the bad, in with the good
‘Detoxing’ has become a popular buzzword, with so many claims made about how to cleanse and detox your body. Our bodies naturally perform a continual detoxing function, neutralising and eliminating dietary and environmental toxins from the body to keep us healthy. However, our bodies can become overwhelmed when there is too much to process, which can lead to harmful substances being stored in our tissues. When this happens, our ability to regulate and defend the body from illness is reduced.
Detoxification is likened to ‘first aid for the body’ as it treats the issue of built-up waste and toxins to promote our body’s capacity for healing to defend itself against from the harmful substances or environmental factors we face every day. There are many philosophies about how best to ‘detox’, from fasting to limiting food intake to consuming specific ingredients with stated health benefits.
5 Ways Sea Vegetables Can Uniquely Help with Cleansing and Detox
An essential way to boost the health of your body is to consume foods that support its natural detoxing processes and contain many key nutrients. Seaweeds, or sea vegetables, are packed full of nutrients that promote the process of flushing out toxins through the following ways:
- Seaweeds and sea vegetables are rich in iodine and minerals which promote a healthy metabolism. These stimulate the liver, kidney, skin and intestines to drive stored toxins out of the body and improve blood circulation.
- All types and colours of seaweeds and sea vegetables are rich in chlorophyll (not just the green varieties!). Chlorophyll is a potent cleaner that purifies the bodily fluids, such as blood and lymph, that are transported throughout our body to our organs for better overall health.
- Seaweeds and sea vegetables contain unique bioactive compounds not found in land plants which help to remove radioactive elements, heavy metals, free radicals and other environmental pollutants from our bodies. Examples of the unique compounds sea vegetables contain include:
- Alginates (which remove environmental toxins and radioactive particles)
- Fucoidan (which controls the growth of pathogenic bacteria, fungi and viruses and has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells without harming our healthy cells, and it may prevent tumors spreading or metastasizing)
- Laminarin (a potential modulator of intestinal metabolism) and lignan (which contains phytonutrients that are high in antioxidants and may help to regulate hormone levels).
- Seaweeds have high combinations of beneficial soluble plant fibres. Soluble fibre forms a viscous gel in the intestinal tract whereas insoluble fibre bulks up. Both forms of fibre bind water or minerals, which can ferment in the intestine for colonic microflora to feed on. This offers health benefits such as prebiotics and facilitating the binding, lubricating and evacuating of toxins. A study of the faecal flora of Japanese women showed that high seaweed intake increased the good bacteria in the gut which led to positive effects on health. Some red seaweeds like Agar and Irish Moss also have a gentle laxative effect helping to eliminate waste from our system.
- Seaweeds are rich in antioxidants, anti-viral, anti-parasitic & anti-fungal properties which help to eliminate free radicals in the body. New York University’s Langone Medical Centre found that snacking on seaweed could give your liver an antioxidant boost as well as decrease fat deposits in the liver. A study published in the November 2012 issue of the journal Food Chemistry stated that certain seaweeds may improve liver function by decreasing cholesterol and triglyceride levels and providing antioxidant benefits.
Eat a Range of Seaweed Colours for Maximum Benefit
Seaweeds and sea vegetables come in many different colours, all of which offer detoxing benefits and support our overall health, but they are generally classified into three main colour groups:
- RED: high in prebiotic fibres and anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties.
- BROWN: high in iodine and unique detoxifying compounds
- GREEN: high in chlorophyll and high-quality fibres
Since each colour of sea vegetable offers different nutritional benefits that help with detoxing, we recommend ‘eating your colours’ by including a wide variety of sea vegetables in your diet. Consider seaweed blends like the Power of three or our Seaweed Seasoning range which are blends of all three colours and really easy to sprinkle onto what you are already eating to gently kickstart the cleansing and detox process.
Pacific Harvest offers many different varieties of sea vegetables and seaweeds which you can check out on our online store.
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.