Organic Sea Greens - Gifts of Healing From The Sea

by Linda Page, N.D., Ph.D.
Author of Healthy Healing - A Guide To Self-Healing For Everyone

I believe sea greens (otherwise known as seaweed, sea vegetables and algae) are one of God¹s greatest gifts to us. Grown by Mother Ocean, the birthplace and primary nourisher of life on Earth, sea greens offer us amazing health benefits. They are the most nutrition-dense plants on the planet. Ounce for ounce, along with herbs, they are higher in vitamins and minerals than any other food. I eat delicious organic sea greens every day.

Sea greens are one of nature's richest sources of vegetable protein; they provide full-spectrum concentrations of carotenes, chlorophyll, enzymes, amino acids and fiber. The distinctive salty taste is not just "salt," but a balanced, chelated combination of sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and trace minerals. They contain 10 to 20 times the minerals of land plants, and even beyond their mineral quantities, their mineral balance is a natural stabilizer for building sound nerve structure and good metabolism.

Sea greens are rich in fiber and packed with vitamins, with measurable amounts of vitamins K, A, D, B, E and C, and beta carotene. Sea greens are almost the only non-animal source of Vitamin B-12 necessary for cell development and nerve function. They are full of amino acids, contain up to 20% protein, and have enzymes and essential fatty acids that rejuvenate us. Sea greens nourish an underactive thyroid and normalize adrenal functions which results in an increased libido.

I¹ve been teaching about the health benefits of sea greens for years! They are an excellent weapon against heart disease, helping to dissolve fatty deposits in the cardiovascular system that lead to heart disease, and relieving tension in blood vessels caused by over-consumption of salty foods. Japanese studies from the 1960s show extracts from sea greens control high blood pressure and atherosclerosis even in animals fed a high cholesterol diet. The same studies found sea greens also lowered blood pressure in people!

Sea greens have antiviral, antimicrobial, and antifungal activity. They¹re anti-inflammatory too, offering a one-two punch against many infections. Immune-compromised diseases like chronic fatigue, HIV infection, arthritis and allergies respond to sea plant treatment. Sea greens are at their best in just this type of role--as balancers for body chemistry which is regularly imbalanced in immune-compromised disease. The chemical composition of sea greens is so close to human plasma, that perhaps the greatest benefit from sea greens is that they help normalize our bodies from the effects of a modern diet. They strengthen us against disease, and reduce excess stores of fluid and fat. Many people notice a rapid difference in their weight, and an increase in their calorie burning when they eat sea greens regularly.

Modern science is validating many of the traditional benefits of sea plants, especially their algin, the component thought to be responsible for the success of seaweeds in the treatment of obesity, asthma, atherosclerosis and blood purification. Studies done at McGill University reveal that algin binds to chemical toxins and pollutants in the intestinal tract, allowing them to be safely eliminated before they can poison the body.

Sea greens can protect us from a wide range of toxic elements in the environment, including heavy metals (most dental fillings still contain them) and radiation by-products, converting them into harmless salts that we can eliminate. The natural iodine in sea greens can reduce by almost 80% the radioactive iodine-131 absorbed by the thyroid and is a key to controlling and preventing gland disorders like breast and uterine fibroids, prostate inflammation, adrenal exhaustion, and toxic liver and kidney states. Preventive measures may be taken against iodine deficiency problems or disease risk by adding just 2 tablespoons of chopped, dried sea greens to your daily diet.

Studies from the Harvard School of Public Health show that eating kelp as about 5% of your diet inhibits cancer growth and even causes remission of active tumors. Sea greens contain powerful antioxidant and anti-cancer properties, working to stop the proliferation of cancer cells. Some experts consider them more potent than the drugs now used to treat breast and prostate cancer, especially as interceptive measures. The latest research from Japan reveals a seaweed extract from kombu, fucoidan, actually causes cancer cells to self-destruct ( a process technically referred to as cancer cell apoptosis). Stomach cancer, colon cancer and leukemia all responded positively to fucoidan treatment in animal tests and in vitro (test tube) studies.

Sea greens have high magnesium, essential for the absorption of calcium. Magnesium stimulates production of calcitonin, the hormone which increases calcium in the bones. Sea greens are a good source of natural vitamin D, too, essential for calcium absorption, bone health and muscle function.

So, what are Sea Greens?

  • Kelp (laminaria), the most prolific sea plant on America¹s shores, contains vitamins A, B, E, D and K, is a main source of vitamin C, and rich in minerals. Kelp proteins are comparable in quality to animal proteins. Kelp contains sodium alginate (algin), an element that helps remove radioactive particles and heavy metals from the body. Algin, carrageenan and agar are kelp gels that rejuvenate gastrointestinal health and aid digestion. Kelp works as a blood purifier, relieves arthritis stiffness, and promotes adrenal, pituitary and thyroid health. Its natural iodine can normalize thyroid-related disorders like overweight and lymph system congestion. It is a demulcent that helps eliminate herpes outbreaks. Kelp is rich - a little goes a long way.

  • Kombu (laminaria digitata, setchelli, horsetail kelp) is a meaty, high-protein seaweed. It is a decongestant for excess mucous, and helps lower blood pressure. Kombu contains abundant iodine, carotenes, B, C, D and E vitamins, minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, silica, iron and zinc, and the powerful skin healing nutrient germanium. It is higher in natural mineral salts than most other seaweeds.

  • Hijiki is a mineral-rich, high-fiber seaweed, with 20% protein, vitamin A, carotenes and calcium. Hijiki has the most calcium of any sea green, 1400mg per 100gr. of dry weight.

  • Nori (porphyra, laver) is a red sea plant with a sweet, meaty taste when dried. It contains nearly 50% balanced, assimilable protein, higher than any other sea plant. Nori's elastic fiber makes it a perfect sushi wrapper. Nori is rich in all the carotenes, high in calcium, iodine, iron, and phosphorus.

  • Arame (Eisenia bycyclis), is one of the ocean's richest sources of iodine. Herbalists use arame to help reduce breast and uterine fibroids, and through its fat soluble vitamins and phytohormones, to normalize menopausal symptoms. Arame promotes soft, wrinkle-free skin, enhances glossy hair and prevents hair loss.

  • Sea Palm (Postelsia Palmaeformis), American arame, grows only on the Pacific Coast of North America. It has a sweet, salty taste that goes especially well as a vegetable, rice or salad topping.

  • Bladderwrack is packed with vitamin K, an excellent adrenal stimulant. It is still used today by native Americans in steam baths for arthritis, gout and illness recovery.

  • Wakame (alaria, undaria) is a high-protein, high calcium seaweed, with carotenes, iron and vitamin C and is widely used in the Orient for hair growth and luster, and for skin tone.

  • Dulse (palmaria palmata), rich in iron, protein, and vitamin A, is delicious with walnuts, spinach and rice. It is a supremely balanced nutrient, with 300 times more iodine and 50 times more iron than wheat. Tests on dulse show activity against the herpes virus. It has purifying and tonic effects on the body, yet its natural, balanced salts nourish as a mineral, without inducing thirst.

  • Irish moss (chondrus crispus, carrageen) is full of electrolyte minerals - calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium. Its mucilaginous compounds help you detoxify, boost metabolism and strengthen hair, skin and nails. Traditionally used for a low sex drive.

    Sea greens are tasty. Crush, chop, snip or crumble any mix of dry sea veggies you like into soups and sauces, pizzas or focaccias, casseroles and salads. Roast them into anything you cook. If you add sea vegetables, no other salt is needed, an advantage for a low salt diet. Sundried, they are convenient to buy, store, and use as needed. Store them in a moisture proof container and they keep indefinitely. A wide variety of sea greens is available today.

    Here are a few of my favorite recipes.

    SEA VEGGIE CRUNCH

    This blend is a flavor enhancer, and a nutritional part of any recipe. Crumble into a bowl; then just barely blend in the blender, so that there are still sizeable chunks of the sea vegetables. They expand in any recipe with liquid, and when heated, return to the beautiful green color they had in the ocean. Use freely as a seasoning on salads, soups and rice.

    Heat in a dry pan, 3/4 cup chopped dried Dulse, 1/2 cup dried chopped Nori or Sea Palm, 1/4 cup chopped dried Wakame, 1/4 cup chopped dried Kombu, 1/4 cup chopped toasted Walnuts, and 1/2 cup toasted Sesame Seeds.

    KELP & HONEY BITS SNACK

    Soak dried kelp or kombu pieces in water until soft. Drain and snip into bite size pieces to fill 1/2 cup. Bring 1/4 cup Honey and 1/2 cup Water to a boil. Reduce heat, add sea vegetables and simmer until liquid is evaporated, about an hour. Spread 1 cup Sesame Seeds, or Ground Almonds on a baking sheet and arrange sea vegetables on top, turning with tongs to coat. Bake in a 300°F oven for 30 minutes.

    BROWN RICE, DULSE & TOFU

    The protein complementarity of brown rice, dulse and tofu is good for a healing diet.

    For 8 servings:

    Soak 8 dried Shiitake Mushrooms and a small handful Dried Dulse in Water to cover. Sliver both when soft and set aside. Reserve soaking water. -Dry roast 11/3 cups Brown Rice in a pan; then cook in 21/2 cups Water (4 cups cooked). -Sauté 2 cubed Cakes Tofu in 2 TBS. Sesame Oil in a skillet, and add to rice. -Add 1 TBS. Sesame Oil to skillet and sauté 2 minced Cloves Garlic and 1 chopped Onion until translucent. Add 1 teasp. Brewer's Yeast Flakes, 1 teasp. Cumin Powder, 1 teasp. Sesame Seeds, and 1/4 teasp. Lemon Pepper until spices are fragrant. Mix into rice. -Add and sauté until color changes 2 Carrots, 2 Stalks Celery and 2 Zucchini chopped, chopped, 1 Green Bell Pepper in matchsticks, the Mushrooms and Dulse. -Add mushroom soaking water and steam-braise for 5 minutes. Vegetables should be just tender crisp, not completely cooked. Add to rice and tofu. Season with Herb Salt.

    MARINATED SEA PALM WITH ROASTED RED PEPPERS

    A perfect topper for salads, vegetables, grains, grilled salmon and swordfish.

    Soak 1-oz. dry Sea Palm Fronds until tender. Drain. -Mix 4 TBS. Balsamic Vinegar, 2 roasted Red Bell Peppers thin-sliced (bottled okay), 2 teasp. Lemon Pepper, 4 Cloves Garlic minced, 1/2 cup Sesame Oil, 2 TBS. fresh minced Mixed Herbs (like rosemary, basil and thyme), 3 TBS. Honey, and 2 TBS. crystallized Ginger Root minced. -Pour over Sea Palm and let marinate for about 4 hours before serving.

    From Cooking For Healthy Healing - Book One - The Healing Diets, and Book Two - The Healing Recipes by Linda Page, N.D., Ph.D.

    All sea greens and recipes are available at www.healthyhealing.com

    Copyright 2002 Traditional Wisdom, Inc.

    A prolific author and educator, Dr. Page has sold over a million books. Healthy Healing - A Guide To Self-Healing For Everyone is a textbook for courses at UCLA, The Institute of Educational Therapy, and Clayton College of Natural Health. Dr. Page also founded and formulates over 250 herbal formulas for Crystal Star Herbal Nutrition. (She sold Crystal Star Herbal Nutrition in 1997.) She appears on national television, radio, and she is featured at industry and organizational events. She recently led The Healthy Healing Tour To China, and is leading Educational Tours throughout 2002. She is featured on the television program, "The World of Healthy Healing."

    Resources:

  • Lewallen, John & Eleanor. Sea Vegetable Gourmet Cookbook. Medocino Sea Vegetable Company, Mendocine, California 1996.

  • Wright, Jonathan M.D. "Iodine Relieves Fibrocystic Breast Disease," Let¹s Live, Aug. 1994.

  • "Cancer's Kryptonite: HSI Panelist Tests Breakthrough Seaweed Cancer Treatment," Health Sciences Institute Members Alert, July 2002, Vol. 7, No. 1 Japanese Journal of Experimental Medicine, 44: 543-46. Cancer Research, 44: 2758-61


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