Updated: Aug 30, 2019
Nutrient-rich seaweed detoxifies the body as no other food can. Eating seaweed daily provides unique protection against the rising level of environmental pollution. The preparation of seaweed is easy, as it goes well added to stews, soups and cooked beans in daily meals. The cleansing effect from a daily portion of seaweed is ongoing and works better than just doing a detox program now and then.
All seaweed protects against environmental toxins, but most effective of all is brown seaweed such as kombu, wakame, arame and sea spaghetti. Brown seaweed contains sodium alginate, which binds heavy metals and even radioactive substances, and removes them from the body. A seaweed product called agar (agar agar) also contains indigestible sodium alginate, which binds the toxins in the digestive tract and takes them out through rectal elimination.
The liver detox mechanism must have minerals such as zinc and magnesium to form the enzymes needed to remove toxins. However, many people now have a mineral deficiency that limits the production of detox enzymes. In many farming areas, the soil has become so depleted of minerals that the food produced there has only a fraction of the full mineral content of earlier times. Seaweed is the ideal food to fill this mineral gap as it has a much higher concentration of minerals and trace elements than land vegetables.
Small amounts of seaweed are enough. It only takes a few cm (a couple of inches) of dried seaweed to meet the body’s daily needs, since the seaweed swells to a much greater size when soaked. Kombu and wakame go well with beans, lentils and chickpeas, which you can cook in a big pot to last several days with cold storage. Work out how much seaweed you want to eat over the days the pot of beans lasts and add that amount. A further benefit of cooking pulses with kombu is that it makes them more digestible and less gas forming. Wakame helps too. The cooking time for wakame is short, which makes it just right for soups. A small portion of wakame is enough. Sea spaghetti is the easiest of all. It is tasty soaked and mixed raw in a salad.
Japan is the main seaweed exporter and many consumers are uneasy about a possible radioactive contamination from the meltdown at Fukushima. However, top-quality seaweed from the Atlantic is available in natural food stores in Europe and North America. Australians can buy seaweed from Tasmania. This gives the added benefit of shorter transport to consumers with less fuel burned and less pollution as a result.
Those dealing with a thyroid disorder such as an overly active function or Hashimoto should start slowly with seaweed, especially kombu. Because it is rich in iodine, kombu can trigger an unpleasant reaction when the thyroid is unstable. With such a medical condition, it is better to begin with small amounts of wakame, arame and sea spaghetti, which are brown seaweeds with a moderate amount of iodine. In any case, most people need the iodine in seaweed, because iodine deficiency is common. The thyroid is the body’s pacemaker and it takes iodine to keep it functioning properly to support health, including strong detox ability.