Seaweed as Food and Medicine Around the World

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Kombu is a brown seaweed variety popular in Japan and one that has been especially linked to anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory activity.

Seaweed is prized for its many health benefits. It’s used as a food source and as a tool in natural medicine throughout the world.

What is seaweed?

Seaweed isn’t actually a plant. It is a variety of Algae. Unlike plants, which have different cells for its stem and leaves, all of seaweed’s cells are pretty much identical. Despite this and other differences from plants, seaweed and plants do share one major thing in common.

The cells in seaweed perform photosynthesis – i.e., the conversion of sunlight into energy. They take the sun’s energy, which is essentially infinite, and convert it into energy we can use. That’s mainly what makes seaweed and other algae so sustainable as a resource for food, medicine, cosmetics, and even bio-fuel.

Seaweed as a food

Seaweed is regaining popularity as a food in Ireland, where it’s also used extensively as a fertilizer. In the USA, people have begun to consume seaweed partly because of the popularity of Asian cuisine and partly because people are discovering seaweed’s health benefits. In China, seaweed has been consumed for thousands of years. One 7th BC century commentator wrote: “Some seaweed is a delicacy suitable for the most honored guests, and even for the king himself.” The Japanese have been eating and cultivating seaweed since the beginning of their recorded history, and it has remained an important part of their diet up to the present day.

Kombu seaweed: food and health benefits

Kombu is a brown seaweed variety popular in Japan and one that has been especially linked to anti tumor and anti-inflammatory activity. It’s prized for its “umami,” or “savory,” flavor and is used to make broth for miso soup (click here for a recipe!).  Kombu is the seaweed variety currently used in Modifilan® supplements as well as in our Dulamára cosmetic line. In traditional Chinese medicine, seaweed is used to fight cancer. Researchers have found that kombu (Saccharina Japonica) has anti-mutagenic properties. There is even evidence to suggest that the consumption of seaweed in the Japanese diet contributes to their lower rates of heart diseases, obesity, and cancer. Seaweed contains a high concentration of minerals, a variety of vitamins, as well as other anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties. Seaweed also has health benefits for skin and nail growth because of its natural iodine content.

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