Heather Little-White, PhD, Contributor
Seaweed, also known as kelp or sea vegetable, generally found on coral reefs or the rocky areas of marine salt water, is known for its therapeutic benefits to the body.
Dating back to 8000 BC in Japan, seaweed was considered a delicacy. Today, Japan is considered the largest producer and exporter of seaweed.
Seaweed is nutritionally sound in that it is rich in calcium, iodine, folic acid, magnesium, iron and potassium. Seaweed also contains lignans with cancer-protective properties.
Studies have shown that, in China and Egypt, seaweed has a long tradition in cancer treatment. Assessing the diet of the Japanese, it was observed that Japanese women had little or no breast cancer, the rate being one-sixth of the number of those in the United States where seaweed is rarely consumed. The agent responsible for breast cancer control is fuciodan. Seaweed is known for its antibiotic property which is attributable in treating breast and colon cancers. The antibiotics can eliminate bacteria in the colon that may cause cancer of the colon.
Brown seaweeds include arame, kelp, kombu and wakame, and were found to block or reduce cancer cells more rapidly because of
Thyroid functions can be treated with the iodine from seaweeds.
A member of the brown-seaweed family, kombu is used to fight high blood pressure through the high content of folic acid and magnesium. It is recommended that, for controlling hypertension, kombu extract be steeped in hot water and drank constantly, with no side effects. Further research has shown that powdered brown seaweed may be helpful in preventing strokes.
The pantothenic acid and ribolflavin in seaweed are useful in reducing stress and anxiety.
A substance from marine algae, known as porphyra or nori to the Japanese, is useful in treating ulcers. Nori is the term for red seaweeds and also includes food products created from seaweed such as the product used in making sushi rolls. The substance also has antimicrobial properties and can fight off disease-causing bacteria including E. coli, salmonella, staphylococus and shigella.
Seaweed may be sold as sheets, flakes or powders, and should be stored in airtight containers to keep them fresh over time. Seaweed is used in several culinary preparations. In Japan, for example, seaweed is a staple food used in salads and main courses.
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1/2 package Hijuki seaweed (rinse quickly in a bowl, then soak in distilled water for 20 minutes)
2tbs hot sesame oil
1tbs miso (optional)
2tbs brown rice vinegar
1/2 cup unrefined sesame oil
2tbs arrowroot (optional)
Heat the refined sesame oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet or wok, and sauté onions until soft. Add the hot oil, then the soaked seaweed, including the liquid. Add miso and brown rice vinegar, stirring the seaweed for five minutes. Cover for seven minutes, stir for two minutes, and add the arrowroot to thicken. Serve with brown rice.