I have been eating seaweeds for many years, especially when my various trips to Japan back in the 90's exposed me to this important staple in daily cuisine. A few months ago I bought a package of red marine algae and decided to do some research on its benefits beyond what was written on the label. What I discovered has made me a die-hard algae fan.
Fit for a King
Red marine algae has been used for centuries as both a powerful medicinal and flavorful food. It is even listed in the 600 BC Chinese material medica as a food 'fit for a king'. Used predominantly in the Pacific region, including China and Japan, there are many species of red marine algae, all of which are healthful.
As a sea vegetable, red marine algae contains up to 20 times more minerals than plants grown on land, in addition to being high in mineral content. It also boasts plenty of carbohydrates and is considered a complete protein that includes all the essential amino acids.
One active ingredient found in red marine algae is carrageenan. Carrageenan is a compound that helps identify dangerous proteins like viruses, preventing them from binding to cell walls. As a member of the sulfated polysaccharide family, red marine algae contains natural chemicals that help the body to produce interferon, an antiviral agent that activates the function of our T cells. T cells are important because they help to destroy cells that are already affected by viruses. Red marine algae also contains the anti-oxidants Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, which help fight free radicals.
According to an article published in the online journal, "Freedom from Herpes", red marine algae can be considered a broad-spectrum antiviral agent that costs very little to manufacture. Researchers at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel have developed an ointment made of red marine algae for use against the viral infection herpes simplex. They have found that the product not only helps to cure the virus, but also reduces discomfort while preventing it from spreading. Other types of pathogens that can be treated with marine algae are cold sores, candida, fungal infections, cold sores, and influenza.
Boosting the Immune System
Red marine algae helps to strengthen the immune system by breaking down lectins, which are proteins resistant to digestive enzymes, making them hard to break down. Lectins adhere to intestinal lining, causing problems in the digestive system. Because they can weaken cell membranes, lectins can seriously deplete the immune system.
Including red marine algae in your diet is a great way to add essential nutrients to the body, while adding a new taste and expanding your culinary repertoire. You can also buy it in capsule form.