Seaweed or sea vegetables have a long history of use in the sea based cultures of Japan and Iceland.
These people, as well as those that lived along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, were blessed by Nature.
They were given a unique group of plants that provided them with all the nourishemnet needed to survive.
They lived off the fish they caught and the universe of water-based plants called sea vegetables.
Sea Vegetables are the weeds found in the world's oceans, lakes and seas.
Green algae are seaweeds that live close to the shore.
Chorella and spirulina are two such plants.
These plants, when crushed, provide a treasure trove of phytocompounds and nutrients.
Red algae are members of Rhodophyta and are able to live in deeper waters.
Red algae are red because of the presence of phycoerythrin, a pigment that reflects red and absorbs blue light waves.
Blue waves penetrates water to a greater depth than longer wavelengths so these pigments allow red algae to photosynthesize.
This allows them to live at greater depths than green algae and produce their own unique library of compounds.
Nori is the best known red algae food.
Red Marine Algae supplements are available and used to treat a variety of ailments and conditions.
In the pharmaceutical world, the phytochemicals of sea vegetables are the latest weapons in the fight against heart disease and cancer.
The people who consume these sea vegetables on a daily basis are healthier than those who don't.
Compared to land plants, sea vegetables are twenty times higher in vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Sea vegetables as a group are also high in fiber.
Fiber helps the body remove harmful metabolites before they can damage cells.
Fiber also prevents the colon from absorbing unhealthy cholesterol.
A diet that provides these fibers is healthier than one that does not.
Sea vegetables are good sources of minerals including iodine, the mineral essential to proper thyroid function.
The thyroid gland controls carbohydrate and cholesterol metabolism and acts to prevent the buildup of arterial plaque.
Iodine deficiency and low thyroid activity are linked to breast cancer and may account for the very low rate of breast cancer in Japanese women.
Calcium is another mineral that is found in high concentration in sea vegetables.
Wakame for example has ten times the calcium of milk.
Sea vegetables are also high in magnesium, a mineral that is essential for calcium absorption and the production of calcitonin, the hormone secreted by the thyroid gland.
Calcitonin is responsible for moving calcium from the blood to the bone, thereby increasing its density and strength.
Sea vegetables are therefore beneficial to bone health.
They are high in the antioxidant mineral selenium and other antioxidants. Their roles in heart disease and cancer prevention are just now becoming recognized.
Many books include recipes. Each highlighting certain flavor and tastes. This book describes the chemical contents of these foods, not the best way to cook with.
Fruits are best eaten raw, while vegetables require cooking. Over the millennium certain combination of foods were cooked together.
These combinations remain remarkably consistent today. Baking is an all-purpose way to blend foods together and cook them.
Mediterranean cooking depends on tomatoes, garlic, onions, basil and lemon to give flavor to meat, vegetables, rice or pasta.
They also add cheese.
Collectively , they provide a spectrum of compounds not found in the spinach, cauliflower or broccoli they serve. Sauteing vegetables in virgin olive provides the safest fats to eat and sprinkling Extra-Virgin olive oil when done adds flavor and more phytonutrients.
Indian cooking relied on spices like coriander, cumin, chilli peppers and turmeric to flavor the lentils they serve with rice. Curries create exceptional opportunities to incorporate healthy foods into meals. Their kitchen is ideal for vegetarians.
While many claim ownership of them, soups are one of the great contributions to world-cuisine. The ability to mix spices, legumes, and vegetables, provides one of the healthiest meals possible.
Many Americans have discovered the wonder of raw fish. But Japanese cooking is more than that. It is a real art form.
Mushrooms and edible algae are a big part of the Japanese diet.
They add kombu (kelp), wakame (seaweed), nori and kanten to soup.
They are added along with mushrooms, sprouts and soy in all its wonderful forms (beans, tofu and nato), to create complete meals in the form of a soup.
These foods provide the right nutrients to protects the Japanese against chronic disease. It doesn’t help them however, deal with the other enemy of health, stress.