Sea vegetables contain an amazing array of minerals, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and an incredibly large variety of trace elements, some not anywhere else. Sea vegetables may be one of the only dietary ways left to get precious trace elements such as cobalt, copper, chromium, fluorine, iodine, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and zinc back into your diet.
These foods are also a rich source of B vitamins, vitamin C and vitamin K. In addition, sea vegetables are nature’s richest source of iodine, required by your thyroid gland in particular and contain good amounts of a carbohydrate-like substance called fucans that has strong anti-inflammatory properties. Sea vegetables are particularly beneficial for those with autoimmune disease because of their immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties.
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I like all patients with adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism to included some sea vegetables into their diet, and because half the population has some degree of hypothyroidism, and three quarters have varying levels adrenal fatigue issues ranging from mild through to extreme, I guess it just about sums up everybody to some degree. Just like rice bran, oat bran, Jerusalem artichoke, and linseed/sunflower/almond mix (LSA), sea vegetables contain high quality prebiotic fibers and are perfect for those who are interested in re-populating their digestive system with beneficial bacteria, especially those with a yeast infection.
Here are but a few of the many health benefits you can derive from eating ocean vegetables:
- Improve the condition of hair, nails, bones, connective tissues, skin and teeth.
- Inhibit growth and reproduction of pathogenic bacteria, candida and viruses.
- Increase the diet’s fiber content and encourage daily eliminations.
- Facilitate healthy thyroid function, due to the iodine content.
- Assist with adrenal fatigue, stress and burnout.
- Prebiotic qualities, feeds up the good bacteria.
- Fight the growth of cancer cells.
- Blood pressure lowering action.
- Powerful antioxidant action.
- Anti-inflammatory action.
- Reduce cholesterol levels.
- Anti-inflammatory action.
- Alkalize the blood.
Ocean Vegetables in the Kitchen
So what do you do with seaweed you may be wondering? These foods are very versatile because they can combine with just about any dish you may prepare. Seaweed is alkaline and combines easily with any vegetable, protein or grain dish. You can use them in salads or with cooked dishes and the possibilities are virtually endless. I recommend that you go to your local library or bookstore and obtain a few books about macrobiotic cooking; there you will find many different recipes relating to sea vegetables. The Internet is also an excellent source of more information.
You are unlikely to buy sea vegetables from your local supermarket, apart from nori sheets perhaps. If you want to buy seaweed I recommend that you visit your local health-food store, and the bigger stores will most likely have the best varieties. Don’t forget your local Asian supermarket, they have a surprising amount of fresh, frozen and dried seaweeds on hand. Just like their land-based counterparts, the colors of sea vegetables are incredible and can range from black, green, yellow, brown and even red or purple varieties.
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Try different varieties and you will soon settle of two or three and include them regularly into your diet. Most varieties of seaweed require soaking so that they can be reconstituted before use. Generally a half an hour of soaking is all that is required, and you will find that seaweed will greatly increase in size the longer you leave it soak.
Some varieties like kombu are just flat leaf, whereas other varieties like hijki are long thin strands. Varieties like wakame have inedible stems that are discarded after the leaves have been removed. Some types of seaweed like wakame or dulse do not necessarily require soaking and can be crushed easily and sprinkled onto many foods to add a salty taste and a crispy texture.