Seaweed is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, so it is a commendable food that fills the nutrients that are likely to be lacking in winter. Many studies have shown that unique ingredients such as alginate, laminin, fucoidan, and porphyran, which are hard to find on land, lower blood pressure, and cholesterol, prevent cardiovascular diseases, and have anti-cancer effects.
The French daily ‘Le Monde’ also selected Korean seaweed as the “six foods for mankind for the next 20 years.” Other countries, which have considered seaweed as a “weed of the sea” so far, are also at the stage of actively researching seaweed by referring to be a “future food.” However, even if we eat vegetables from the same land, the benefits and nutrients from them are all different.
Then what kind of algae is good for you? In any food, it is better to eat a variety of algae than one. But for brown algae, I recommend Wakame, kelp, Laver, and Hizikia Fusiforme because they have anti-cancer effects. Today, for those who like seaweed, I’m going to pick three famous seaweeds in Korea.
Kelp: a detoxification fiber that’s good for colorectal cancer.
Remember that the keyword of kelp is detoxification fiber. Kelp is the dietary fiber for detoxification. The kelp was also called the first grass on Earth. All the alginate ingredients we need, such as medical, food, and industrial use, are extracted from kelp to the extent that they have been used as natural condiments since the Three Kingdoms period due to their excellent taste. Alginic acid is a slippery ingredient in the outer shell of brown algae such as seaweed and kelp, and it can be said to be a high-quality water-soluble dietary fiber.
Compared to Hiziki fusiforme, and Wakame, which belong to the same brown algae, the percentage of the alginic acid in kelp is the highest. Alginic acid, which is abundant in kelp, is combined with cholesterol or sodium in the intestine and released out of the body, so it can lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and prevent high blood pressure and arteriosclerosis. Eating kelp also makes bowel movements active, which is good for preventing and improving constipation, and can also be expected to prevent colon cancer.
In fact, a domestic research team has released the results of analyzing the effect of algae intake on colon cancer development in Korean colon cancer patients and healthy controls. We examined the year-long diet records of patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer and compared them with healthy controls. The results showed that the group with the highest total intake of algae had a 35% lower risk of colon cancer than the group with the smallest intake. Among the types of seaweed, Laver, Wakame, and Kelp, it was reported that kelp had the lowest risk of colon cancer; Wakame group showed 18 percent lower cancer rate, but Kelp did 42 percent lower when compared with control group. Of course, the direct relationship between kelp and anti-cancer effects could be discussed after more research in the future. But you can expect kelp to play a positive role in colon cancer. Remember that kelp is detox kelp that can prevent and detoxify colon cancer.
Wakame: blood detoxification, rich in minerals that protect your bone health
Wakame is very rich in minerals. They have blood detoxification properties that clean the blood and are good for bone health. In Korea, Wakame is known as a food that mothers eat for postpartum care. Wakame is rich in calcium, iodine, and iron. The abundant mineral content in Wakame can help anemia that is caused after giving a birth. It also helps with increased uterine contraction after childbirth and is necessary to supplement the blood lost during childbirth. The minerals in Wakame also can be helpful for iron deficiency anemia because Wakame is rich in folic acid needed to synthesize iron and hemoglobin needed for hematopoietic action. Wakame is good not only for mothers but also for breastfeeding newborns.
Wakame is rich in iodine and is delivered to the baby through breast milk, helping the central nervous system and bone development. Iodine is a raw material for thyroxine, a thyroid hormone, and during pregnancy, mother loses a lot of thyroid hormones to fetus, so pregnant women should eat more iodine. Iodine is good for postpartum memory recovery and forgetfulness by activating metabolism and promoting hair growth, so it is a component that can help keep hair healthy and prevent hair loss along with proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
Another keyword for Wakame is bone health because it is rich in calcium. The calcium content in seaweed is more than 10 times that of milk. Wakame do not have any ingredients that interfere with calcium absorption, so they also have a high absorption rate when ingested. In addition, Wakame also contains magnesium, a mineral that facilitates calcium metabolism, which helps bone health more directly. Please remember bone health and blood-clearing properties when you think of Wakame.
Laver: Sulfurizing ingredients for immunity and vision protection
Laver’s keyword is immunity and eye protection. It has a lot of antioxidants. Laver is a kind of red algae. The advantage of laver in its biological state is that it has a red color and is rich in antioxidants such as carotenoids and polyphenols. Laver is rich in beta-carotene, which prevents night blindness, which is a symptom that is hard to see at night and helps prevent dry eyes.
Porphyran, a water-soluble dietary fiber in seaweed, also activates intestinal activity like alginic acid in kelp, which facilitates bowel movements and facilitates the removal of toxic ingredients in the body. Laver also clears blood, lowers the cholesterol content of the liver, and releases sodium, so it can help maintain stable blood pressure and prevent chronic diseases. Porphyran in Laver also prevents swelling of the gastric mucosa and bleeding. So please remember that Laver contains antioxidants, which are good for immunity and good for protecting your eyesight.
Fucoidan: Anti-cancer effects of brown algae
Seaweeds are good for cancer patients. Especially brown algae, such as kelp, Mekabu, Hiziki fusiforme are known to be particularly good for anti-cancer effects. The reason is “Fucoidan”, polysaccharides extracted from brown algae mucus.
Fucoidan is also attracting attention in the medical community as there have been several reports that it induces cancer cell suicide or inhibits the recurrence and metastasis of cancer. However, Fucoidan’s anti-cancer effect requires more than 3 to 5 grams per day, which means brown algae must be consumed more than 1 kg per day. Therefore, if you expect anti-cancer effects, it may be better to eat high-concentrated fucoidan products.
In addition, it is reported that each brown algae has a slightly different molecular structures in terms of numbers of monosaccharides, percentage of each saccharide, etc, so the anticancer efficacy is different. Therefore, it would be better to take fucoidan from various brown algae to have better result.
People with thyroid problems, such as hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and thyroiditis, must consult their doctor when consuming seaweed containing a lot of iodine. However, if you take fucoidan supplement, you may not worry as the amount of iodine in Fucoidan extracted from seaweed is extremely small.