Updated: Dec 8, 2020
From it's many applications in health and wellness, to its ancient history, and incredible mineral content, Sea Moss, a variety of marine algae, is the super-food you want in your kitchen.
A History of Sea Moss and it's use.
It was, until fairly recently, believed to be used as far back as the 1800's in Ireland during the Irish Potato Famine as a source of nutrition, hence the term ‘Irish Moss’ (another variety of Sea Moss). Because of the many health benefits of this incredible seaweed, an entire population of starving families were able to survive on Sea Moss and water. It was enough to nourish and protect them against starvation and death.
While this is an incredible piece of history, it's been discovered that people have been using various species of marine algae as far back as 15,000 years ago!
It's even been suggested that Sea Moss and other marine algae contributed to the evolution of our brains! In a paper published in the Journal of Applied Phychology, it explains:
"Nutrients needed for this transition from a primitive ancestor to modern Homo sapiens were (and still are) available in seaweeds. Seaweeds could be found and harvested in abundance on shores, and for a foraging lifestyle, a rich coastal environment would be a significant source of a consistent supply of these nutrients," says Professor Ole G. Mouritsen, University of Southern Denmark."
Professor Mouritsen is an expert in molecular biophysics and author of several books about food science."Seaweed is just as healthy and nutritious for humans today as it was millions of years ago," says Professor Ole G. Mouritsen.
Sourced from an article in ScienceDaily.com, they highlight some interesting facts:
Essential nutrients for brain development:
Taurine. Can be found in red algae, marine fish, shellfish and meat of mammals. Is present in large amounts in the central nervous system and in the retina. The highest concentrations occur in the developing brain. Levels in adults are app. 1/3 of those of newborns.
Magnesium. Can be found in legumes, pumpkin and squash seeds, nuts and macroalgae. It plays an important role in neuroprotection and cognition. Important for the ability to store new information in neural networks.
Zinc. Can be found in many foods but is particularly plentiful in various cuts of meat, especially liver. Extremely abundant in oysters. Crustaceans and most seaweeds are also robust sources. Plays an important role in learning, development, and memory.
Vitamin B12. Is found exclusively in animal products such as meat, eggs, fish, and milk -- with one exception: it is also confirmed in Pyropia species of seaweeds and it is quite likely in others that have yet to be adequately analyzed. B12 is important for blood flow in the brain and cognitive functions like language.
Iodine. Found abundantly in seaweed, especially in brown seaweeds. A necessary element for the synthesis of thyroid hormones, which are essential for central nervous system development.
Sea Moss Contains 92 Minerals?
The popular belief is that Sea Moss contains 92 of 102 essential minerals for the human body. I wasn't able to find any peer-reviewed papers confirming this, but Sea Moss is widely understood to be full of minerals. Although the research on Sea Moss is limited, there are reports of seaweed possessing brain-protecting, immune-boosting, and digestion-aiding properties. Plus, we know that seaweed is an excellent source of health-promoting nutrients.
It is an excellent source of iodine, protein, and potassium chloride, a nutrient which helps to dissolve inflammation and phlegm in the mucus membranes. Other key elements include sulfur compounds, bromine, beta-carotene, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, pectin, Vitamins C, B, B12, K, and A.
Sea Moss has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also rich in nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A and magnesium. Using Sea Moss topically may help to hydrate and soothe your skin while fighting damage and infections.
The iodine and mineral compounds produce collagen, which plumps the skin, smooths out wrinkles, tones and fights the signs of aging. It is also great for the thyroid, with the ability to help balance thyroid hormones and reduce inflammation in the body, including inflamed joints.
This natural superfood contains compounds that act as antimicrobial and antiviral agents, helping to boost immunity and remove infections from the body. It detoxifies the body of heavy metals, pollutants, and carcinogens. It also inhibits the growth of pathogenic viruses, yeast, and bacteria.
In a paper published in the Journal of Food Science & Technology titled,
"Seaweeds as a source of nutritionally beneficial compounds – A review" the authors conclude:
"Seaweeds are low-calorie food from a nutritional point of view as they have a high concentration of minerals, vitamins, proteins, and indigestible carbohydrates. They have a low content of lipids but they are of high quality in terms of nutritional value. Quality of protein and lipids are as acceptable as those of any other dietary vegetables due to the high content of essential amino acids and relatively higher levels of unsaturated fatty acids present in seaweeds. Seaweeds also exhibit antioxidative, antimutagenic, anticoagulant, anticancerous, and antitumor activities. When consumed, they also have an important role in the modification of lipid metabolism in the human body. In other words, seaweeds can be considered as futuristically promising plants forming one of the important marine living resources of high nutritional value. Being plants of unique structure and biochemical composition, seaweeds could be exploited for their multifunctional properties in the form of food, energy, medicine and cosmetics and as biotechnological tools."
I hope this information was helpful and that you're motivated to try this incredible super-food. Sea Moss has been around for a long time and it's starting to get the recognition it deserves as a staple supplement in our daily lives. If you have the chance to try it please do!
Here are some other references to research for further reading:
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