What can you eat to help your heart, your metabolism, and to help prevent conditions like cold sores and cancer? A food that can help all of these things, often forgotten but well researched… seaweed!
Sea vegetables may be a unique food source not only of the mineral iodine, but also of the mineral vanadium. Although this mineral is not as well-known as some of the other nutrients, it appears to play a multi-faceted role in the regulation of carbohydrate metabolism and blood sugar, increase our body’s sensitivity to insulin to decrease our body’s production of glucose, and help us increase our body’s ability to store starch in the form of glycogen.
Sea vegetables can play a role in lowering risk of estrogen-related cancers, including breast cancer. Since cholesterol is required as a building block for production of estrogen, the cholesterol-lowering effects of sea vegetables may play a risk-reducing role in this regard. However, more interesting with respect to breast cancer risk, is the apparent ability of sea vegetables to modify aspects of a woman’s normal menstrual cycle in such a way that over a lifetime, the total cumulative estrogen secretion that occurs during the follicular phase of the cycle gets decreased. For women who are at risk of estrogen- sensitive breast cancers, sea vegetables may bring a special benefit in this regard.
To understand many of the anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anticoagulant, antithrombotic, and antiviral properties of sea vegetables, you need to look no further than their sulfated polysaccharides. Sea vegetables’ sulfated polysaccharides are associated with seaweeds anti-viral activity which blocks the replication of herpes simplex (cold sores virus). They can decrease the tendency of blood platelet cells to coagulate and form clots and have also been shown to help lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and to improve cardiovascular health in this way.