Seaweed Supplements...say what?!
Detoxification and cleanses can be seen all over the Internet. Detox diets, juice cleanses, the list goes on. Have you ever thought about seaweed when you thought about cleansing your body of the toxins it has accumulated? Yes, that’s right, I said seaweed!
Why You Want to Detox
A detoxification or cleanse accomplishes several things including:
- Resting your organs
- Providing your body with nutrients
- Stimulating your liver to release harmful substances
- Facilitating elimination through the intestines, kidneys, and skin
You’ll feel better on the inside and look better on the outside, but how often should one detox?
How do We Accumulate Unhealthy Substances in our Bodies?
Unhealthy substances accumulate in the body most commonly because of what we eat.
Here are some byproducts the food you may be eating:
Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a chemical that is found in many plastic containers of common foods and drinks. BPA is found in the epoxy resins that are used to make plastic and other containers that store food. The main sources of BPA are:
- Packaged foods (frozen and refrigerated foods packed with plastic)
- Bottled Water
- Canned foods such as chicken, fish, fruits, and vegetables
It has been found through studies like this one that BPA can leech into foods and beverages that are packaged in containers.
BPA exposure has been linked to several health issues including:
- Male fertility and impotency
- Female reproduction
- Potential health effects on the brain fetuses and infants/children
- Hormone disruption
BPA is also found in non-food items such as:
- Dental fillings
- Eyeglass lenses
- DVDs and CDs
- Baby bottles
Fish is an important part of the diet containing protein and essential fatty acids and it is low saturated fats. Most fish and shellfish, however, contain some traces of mercury. There are some fish that have more levels of mercury than others. These include:
- King Mackerel
There are more commonly eaten fish that contain a lower amount of mercury such as:
- Light canned Tuna (not Albacore)
By choosing the fish that contain lower amounts of mercury, you can cut down on your exposure. In case you are wondering why fish contain mercury, it is because mercury is an element that is found naturally in the ocean environment. Industrial pollution that occurs from coal-fired power plants is the second contributor. Mercury gas from the coal becomes toxic when it enters a water source and thus builds up in fish.
3. Trans Fats
Have you ever wondered exactly what trans fat is? Trans fats are created by pumping hydrogen into unsaturated oils to form a solid fat. The body does not recognize processed fat like it does natural fats. This is why there are many health problems associated with trans fats.
Studies have confirmed that trans fat causes inflammation which has a negative impact on heart health. Besides heart disease, chronic inflammation is associated with obesity, insulin sensitivity, and type 2 diabetes.
Here is a list of some common sources of trans fat:
- Fast Food
- Baked goods (cookies, crackers, cakes etc.)
- Frozen Pizza
- Packaged snack foods such as microwave popcorn
- Fried foods
Most of us know these foods are not good for us, but with a busy lifestyle, it’s hard to find time to cook. When buying packaged foods, make sure you look at the food labels to avoid foods that are high in trans fats.
Sugar is in a lot of foods. When we think of sugar we automatically think of sweets such as cookies or cake. A lot of foods, however, contain hidden sugar. Food companies add sugar without actually calling it sugar to make their product more tasty.
What else do they call sugar, you may ask?
Look for these ingredients on the food label:
- High fructose corn syrup (or any other syrup)
- Barley malt
- Agave nectar
- Beet sugar
- Cane sugar
- Fruit juice
- Fruit juice concentrate
These are just a few of the names that substitute for the word sugar. And just in case you weren’t aware, 74% of packaged foods have added sugar. That’s why it’s so important to read the ingredients on the food label.
Why is something so good so bad? First off it has empty calories which puts on weight. If you have diabetes, sugar adds to your normal blood sugar, causing your triglycerides to rise. High triglyceride levels put you at more risk for heart disease. What it boils down to is by eating foods high in sugar, you are replacing nutritious food, with food that has no nutritional value and empty calories. Sorry to be a buzzkill, I like sugar too!
There are many other food sources that cause the body to hold on to unhealthy substances in our foods. Let’s suffice to say that unless you are particular about everything you eat, then you are getting something unhealthy in your system.
The Power of a Seaweed Cleanse
The term seaweed is a general term used to describe the red, brown and green varieties of marine plants. It is a nutrient-dense plant that contains a multitude of minerals which it collects from the ocean. You can find magnesium, sodium, iron, copper, calcium, potassium, sulfur, and iodine in seaweed. It also contains vitamins A and C. Seaweed even uses nitrogen from the air to synthesize a complete protein!
One of the most nutrient-dense plants is organic kelp. Organic kelp is farmed to make sure of the quality and purity of the plant.
Organic kelp is loaded with nutrients that help flush and cleanse the body.
These are just some of the benefits of marine plants like organic kelp:
- Minerals and Iodine
- Helps promote a healthy metabolism
- Promotes blood circulation
- Facilitates elimination from the skin, kidneys, and intestines
- Stimulates the liver to release toxin
Let’s explore what’s in seaweed that makes it such a potent cleansing agent.
Seaweed is a powerful detoxifier because the special fibers in the chlorophyll bind to toxins and help remove them from the body. Chlorophyll helps clear the blood and lymphatic fluid and is found in both green and brown varieties of seaweeds.
Seaweed is high in fiber, especially soluble fiber. Soluble fiber absorbs water as it goes through the digestive tract and slows down digestion. It works with the microbes in your intestines to move waste through the body and is associated with lowering the risk of heart disease.
Seaweed is full of antioxidants. A study done by New York University's Langone Medical Center found that certain types of seaweed have antioxidant properties that help liver function, decrease fat deposits in the liver and lower cholesterol and triglycerides.
Yes, there are more benefits to seaweed! They contain Polysaccharides. Polysaccharides tout a lot of health benefits including:
- Enhances the immune system
- Polysaccharides also contain fiber which helps move food through the digestive tract.
What Makes A Good Seaweed Cleanse?
Now that you know how beneficial seaweed is to cleansing and nourishing your body, you may be thinking about detoxing with a seaweed cleanse. You might even be wondering how to get your hands on some seaweed! You may be able to find it at the store depending on where you live, but it is most likely dried and has a lot of sodium. It also probably doesn’t have the same nutritional value as fresh seaweed. To get the best results, you’ll need to use a supplement. Supplements are convenient and easy to use.
When you are looking for a supplement you may find one with just seaweed. There are other natural ingredients however when partnered with seaweed can be effective not only in cleansing toxins but also getting your body back on track and running efficiently. These powerhouses are a natural way to get the nutrition that you lack in your diet as well as an enormous amount of health benefits.
Bladderwrack is a brown type of seaweed that is considered an algae. It’s high in iodine and is used to help balance the thyroid. Bladderwrack powder contains fucoidan, a powerful anti-inflammatory. An additional asset of fucoidan is that it is an anti-aging agent, helping with skin elasticity.
Bladderwrack powder has potassium, iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamins A, B complex, C, D. Bladderwrack helps flush toxins from the skin thus reducing fine lines and wrinkles. A study done by UC Berkley found that bladderwrack may also lower the levels of estrogen which can help women who are prone to breast cancer.
Chlorella is a type of freshwater green algae. Chlorella is single-celled, and its hard cell wall cannot be digested by humans. The only way to ingest Chlorella is to take a supplement such as a powder or capsule.
Chlorella is a nutrient-packed superfood that contains:
- Vitamins and minerals including vitamin B12
- Vitamin C
- Omega 3
Another property of Chlorella is that it binds to heavy metals, which can be found in some varieties of fish, helping to flush them from the body. This little green superfood has also been associated with lower blood pressure!
Green Tea Leaf Powder
Green Tea is known for its health benefits. It is a powerful antioxidant and aids in heart, liver and brain health. Green tea has also been shown to help reduce the risk of cancer. The best-known attribute of green tea is that it may aid in weight loss.
Some other benefits of green tea are:
- May benefit liver function
- May improve the look of your skin
- Possibly lower blood sugar levels
Most of us probably don’t realize how nutritious artichokes really are, but they pack a lot of punch. They contain both vitamins and minerals and have been associated with the following benefits:
- May improve liver health
- Could lower cholesterol
- May help lower blood pressure
- Helps with friendly gut bacteria
Rhubarb is a vegetable that is known for its sweet and sour taste. It is usually not eaten raw but cooked in sugar. It has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years and has several benefits. Rhubarb has been associated with:
- Having antioxidants and vitamins
- Possibly lowering cholesterol
Spirulina has a lot of great health benefits. It’s a nutritional powerhouse. Spirulina contains antioxidants, protein and vitamins and has several properties that can help with weight loss. It can also bind to heavy metals to help flush them out of the body.
Cayenne is a spice that has metabolism-boosting properties. It has been known to reduce hunger. It may also:
- Aide with digestion
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce cancer risk
Cayenne contains Capsaicin which is an active component of chili peppers. When used in a cream Capsaicin may help relieve muscle and joint pain, improve psoriasis and nerve pain from conditions like shingles.
The Best Way To Do a Seaweed Cleanse
Unlike many of the cleanses you’ve heard about such as a juice cleanse or fasting cleanse, with a seaweed cleanse you don’t have to deprive your body of food or eat or drink certain foods for a period of time.
A supplement will not only help cleanse you internally but help your body get back its natural balance to work more efficiently. Therefore, a seaweed supplement should be part of a healthy lifestyle and not something special you do once a year.
A cleanse can help you feel more energized by providing the nutrients you don’t get from eating and promote a healthier metabolism, so when you eat your food, it gets used more efficiently. A good supplement will do exactly what a body detox is supposed to do which is to help facilitate elimination, cleanse your liver, and provide your body with nutrients.
With the power of organic kelp along with other natural super foods, a seaweed cleanse may just be the boost you need to get your health on track. If your New Year’s resolution is to get healthier, this is the perfect way to start changing your lifestyle in a positive way. Small changes make a big impact. Who doesn’t want to feel good? So don’t be shy, give it a try!
Cathy Fleming | Health and Wellness Specialist & a Freelance Writer who has a passion for helping people get proactive about finding a balance between mind and body.
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