SEA VEGETABLES HEALTH BENEFITS AND MINERALS (Alaria,Dulse,Kelp, Laver,Sea Lettuce)

Posted in SEA FOOD AND SEA VEGETABLES HEALTH BENEFITS AND MINERALS

 

Health Benefits

Anti-Cancer Benefits

Not fully understood but of increasing interest to researchers are the anti-cancer benefits of sea vegetables. Research interest in this area has tended to focus on colon cancer, with a special emphasis on the loss of calcium-sensing receptors (CaSRs) in colon cancer cells, and the ability of sea vegetable extracts to alter CaSR-related events. But since chronic, unwanted inflammation and chronic oxidative stress are both risk factors for development of cancer, it would be quite natural for scientists to be interested in sea vegetables are anti-cancer foods not only in the case of colon cancer, but for other types of cancer as well. Sea vegetables are well-researched as containing a variety of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds, and this nutrient combination is likely to result in some risk-lowering benefits in the case of colon cancer and other cancer types. Although much more research is needed in this area, we expect the anti-caner benefits of sea vegetables to become more firmly established over time.

Of special note in this area of cancer and sea vegetables is the issue of estrogen-related cancers, especially breast cancer. Intake of sea vegetables appears able to modify various aspects of a woman's normal menstrual cycle in such a way that over long periods of time (tens of years) the total cumulative estrogen secretion that occurs during the follicular phase of the cycle gets reduced. Since overproduction of estrogen can play a role in the risk of breast cancer for women who are estrogen-sensitive, sea vegetables may offer unique benefits in this regard. It's also important to note that cholesterol is required as a building block for production of estrogen, and intake of sea vegetables has repeatedly been shown to lower blood levels of total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol.

Array of Minerals

Sea vegetables have been rightly singled out for their unique mineral content. You're going to find measurable amounts of calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, vanadium, and zinc in sea vegetables, and in some cases (like iodine) you can simply not find a more concentrated mineral source. Brown algae like kombu/kelp, wakame, and arame can be particularly concentrated sources of iodine, and for some health conditions - like hypothyroidism, in which the cells of the thyroid make too little thyroid hormone - increased iodine intake can provide important health benefits. The wide variety of minerals found in sea vegetables is simply not found among most other vegetable groups.

The vanadium content of sea vegetables is an area of special interest with respect to their mineral content. While research in this area remain inconclusive, sea vegetables may be able to help us increase our cells' sensitivity to insulin, help us prevent overproduction of glucose by our cells, and help us take existing blood sugars and convert them into storable starches. All of these factors would help us increase our blood sugar control, and lower our risk of type 2 diabetes.

Concentration of Iron

Sea vegetables may turn out to be a better source of bioavailable iron than previously thought. One tablespoon of dried sea vegetable is likely to contain between 1/2 milligram and 35 milligrams of iron. At the lower end of this range, the iron content of sea vegetables is not really significant. But at the higher end of this range, the amount of iron found in sea vegetables is outstanding. (As an overall iron rating in our food rating system, we describe sea vegetables as being a "good" source of iron.) The iron found in sea vegetables is also accompanied by a measurable amount vitamin C. Since vitamin C acts to increase the bioavailability of plant iron, this combination in sea vegetables may offer a special benefit.

Antioxidant Potential

The antioxidant content of sea vegetables also deserves mention with respect to its health benefits. While sea vegetables do contain measurable amounts of polyphenols like carotenoids and flavonoids, they also contain other phytonutrient antioxidants, including several types of alkaloids that have been shown to possess antioxidant properties. Coupled with measurable amounts of antioxidant vitamins (like vitamins C and E) and antioxidant minerals (like manganese and zinc), sea vegetables can be expected to help us reduce our risk of unwanted oxidative stress and many types of cardiovascular problems that are associated with poor antioxidant intake.

Digestive Health

Nutrients in sea vegetables appear to cleanse the colon and improve digestion and absorption. Scientists at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne have found that alginate, the sticky starch present in brown sea vegetables, can strengthen gut mucus, slow down digestion and make food release its energy more slowly.

In another study comparing the faecal flora resulting from the Japanese diet with the Western diet, significantly greater numbers of beneficial oxygen-loving (aerobic) organisms were found to derive from the Japanese diet (3). This is believed to be due to the antibiotic activity of sea vegetables, which destroys harmful anaerobic bacteria.

Weight Control

If you're watching your weight, sea vegetables could be a useful addition to your diet. They are high in fibre, contain next to no calories and provide a good balance of essential minerals.

Nutritional Analysis of Sea Vegetables

Nutritive Value per 7 g.

NAME OF SEA VEGETABLES

ALARIA

DULSE

KELP

LAVER

SEA LETTUCE

US RDA

Scientific Name

Alaria Esculenta

Palmaria Palmata

Saccharina Latissima

Porphyra Umbilicalis

Ulva Lactuca

 

Calories (cal)

18

18

17

22

19

2000cal

Protein (g)

1

2

1

2

1

50g

Fat (g)

0

0

0

0

0

65g

Carbohydrates(g)

3

3

3

3

3

300g

Fiber (g)

3

2

2

2

2

25g

MINERALS

Calcium (mg)

77

15

66

13

0

1000mg

Potassium (mg)

535

547

784

188

196

3500mg

Magnesium(mg)

64

19

63

26

105

400mg

Phosphorous(mg)

35

29

30

29

N/a

1000mg

Iron (mg)

1

2

3

1

1

18mg

Sodium (mg)

297

122

312

113

224

2400mg

Iodine (µg)

1162

1169

3170

98

27

150µg

Manganese(mg)

0.07

0.08

0.09

0.24

0.28

2.0mg

Copper (mg)

0.01

0.03

0.01

0.04

0.13

2.0mg

Chromium(µg)

10

10

20

10

9

120µg

Zinc (mg)

0.24

0.20

0.20

0.29

0.15

15mg

VITAMINS

Vitamin a IU

594

46

39

300

N/a

5000IU

Vitamin B1(mg)

0.04

0.01

0.04

0.04

0.01

1.5mg

Vitamin B2(mg)

0.19

0.13

0.17

0.21

0.05

1.7mg

Vitamin B3(mg)

0.74

0.13

0.25

0.41

0.19

20mg

Vitamin B6(mg)

0.44

0.63

0.60

0.78

N/a

2.0mg

Vitamin B12(mg)

0.35

0.46

0.18

1.23

N/a

6.0 µg

Vitamin c (mg)

0.41

0.44

0.29

0.84

N/a

60mg

Vitamin e IU

0.34

0.12

0.19

0.36

N/a

30IU

.