Hardly a day goes by without a researcher publishing a paper about how some traditional Asian medicinal practice has roots in scientific fact. Brown seaweed is the latest such example of how traditional Asian medicine is proving to have numerous health benefits. It should not come as a surprise that brown seaweed is the focus of so much attention or that researchers would focus so heavily on Asia in general as the region has some of the best key statistics in the world despite some of their obvious hurdles and challenges. Asia is home to cultures that can expect far longer, healthier, and fitter lifespans than any other region on the planet, a real surprise given the overpopulation and subsequent pollution that the region deals with. The secret is in lifestyle and diet, and those two are semi-intertwined and foods like brown seaweed are right in the middle of the action.
While some of the most famous brown seaweed health benefits include weight loss, the fact is that brown seaweed is capable of much, much more. The weight loss benefits are multi-faceted, included improved digestion, but other key benefits of brown seaweed consumption include: curtailing acid reflux, cancer prevention, skin health, improved immune system, and additional energy around the clock.
Brown Seaweed Digestive Health Benefits
The main benefits of brown seaweed revolve around the metabolic impact of the various chemical compounds it contains. Brown seaweed increases metabolic function while slowing down the overall time it takes to digest something, a very unique and beneficial combination. To understand why this works out so well, you need to have only the most basic understanding of how the human digestive system works in practice, at least on a very simple level. While this is no means a master level course in biology, the basics should be fairly easy to grasp in a way that will highlight why our bodies build fat normally and how brown seaweed consumption can help blunt this unwanted fat retention.
Evolution has left humanity with some unique animal-like traits that were of great use to us before the rise of civilization, such as the ability to quickly store fat. Back when we had to roam around and hunt for or food, and later when we were tied to the cycles of a limited amount of consumable crops, we were essentially prone to famine. The human body proved to be very flexible in this regard either by design or evolution (depending on your point of view) and comes prepared with the ability to store fat for later energy release very easily, and the entire process was triggered by consuming large amounts of food in a short period of time. So the reason we store fat when we eat too much too quickly may have to do with the very sporadic eating cycles of our ancestors, and that did not change entirely with the advent of civilization. In fact, civilization then industrialization and now globalization may be horrible for us as our bodies are not able to be crammed full of whatever we want whenever we want it at prices that are too low to resist!
Since the developed portions of the world no longer experience famine, the fat retention mechanism never gets the downside to the cycle that it did in previous epochs. Instead of a fat building phase and a later burning phase, we just continually build fat when we can eat as much of whatever it is that we want any time of the year. Add processed foods into the equation, and our metabolism has not had proper time to evolve a new way of responding to the excess quantities of energy and nutrients in the blood stream. A good look around the world will show that the cultures that are the thinnest, healthiest, and live the longest have two things in common: 1) they consume the most seafood and other natural foods, and 2) they have the longest history of eating processed foodstuffs such as noodles and basic breads. A diet in China, Japan, or India today may have new options on the menu from the West, but it is otherwise not significantly changed from what it may have been a thousand or more years ago as far as the body is concerned.
Going Slow to Win
Brown seaweed also has another great digestive benefit: it is very fibrous. Fibrous vegetable matter is digested slowly and may slow down the digestion of other foods consumed at the same time or within a reasonably close timeframe. The digestive system itself consumes some of the precious energy that food provides, and longer digestive cycles consume more energy in and on their own. But it also helps to look at the body as a constant stream of nutrients and energy coming in and going out. The only time that the body stores nutrients for the lean times that are not likely to return is when there is an overabundance of them in the bloodstream.
Slowing down the digestive process creates a situation where the excess amount of nutrients and sugars in the bloodstream are not sufficient for massive collection into fat cells. Instead, the release of energy is like a long energy boost, which in turn boost metabolism as it gives off a slow, long lasting, and reasonably steady stream of energy and healthy nutrients to the body. This energy can be turned into productivity, focus, mental clarity, and more, but it does not create the same amount of fat with the same amount of food which is absolutely key to the main health benefit of brown seaweed.
Cancer and Acid Reflux
The stomach produces digestive acids on an as needed basis whenever it deems necessary, and some people seem to have stomachs that naturally experience problems ceasing this production. While the reasoning behind this vary from person to person and not all cases are clearly solved by modern medicine, there is no escaping the link between the overproduction of stomach acids and some types of cancer, acid reflux disease, and throat cancer. The general theory that many researches use as the basis for postulation is that when someone starts eating a large amount of food, typically in a hurry, the body responds by producing more digestive acids but does not stop soon because it believes that a full-blown gorge is under way in preparation for the lean times our ancestors faced. Remember, this extra acid has been clearly linked to everything from simple digestive disorders to both throat and bowel cancer!
While brown seaweed cannot stop acid production or tell the body to produce less acid or even stop the acid production sooner, it can put that acid to good use by slowing the entire digestive process down. Whether or not this causes the acid to essentially ruin the nutritional value of at least a portion of a meal is unclear, but if it did that may in turn aid weight loss as well. Either way, the reduction should be good for long term reduction of cancer.
There are also promising studies that show that many types of cancer respond well to high fiber diets. These studies are still far from unified on their findings, but the overwhelming evidence points to a clear connection between a vegetable and fruit rich diet being linked to low cancer rates. Whether or not brown seaweed will eventually find itself as a noted member of this cancer fighting high fiber fruit and vegetable lineup is unclear at this time, but there are really no downsides to the consumption of brown seaweed, so it seems like a safe thing to add to your diet if you are concerned about cancer.
Skin Health & Brown Seaweed
There are also many studies that are now linking the quality of skin tone and moisture to brown seaweed. While these studies are still being verified by the scientific community at large, they are showing a single trend of great promise from a cosmetic and moisture standpoint. Again, this may not be surprising because cultures that have evolved consuming brown seaweed are generally well thought of for their complexions. There are numerous researchers and cosmetic firms that have devoted significant resources to bearing out countless generations of traditional Asian medicinal practices in regards to brown seaweed as a beauty aid. Just what these studies will conclude is not entirely clear at this point, but the wisdom of ancient cultures again seems beyond reproach.
Brown Seaweed Health Benefits for the Immune System
One of the less known applications for brown seaweed is the use for boosting the immune system. Our immune systems are under constant attack from germs and viruses, and are often the unsung heroes of our daily lives. Without healthy immune response, we would fall sick on a daily basis and be miserable in general. As population densities around the world and at home increase, the risk to our immune systems and overall health is looming. But we are not the first civilization to face down high population densities. Asian cultures have faced this problem for centuries, and we should naturally look to them for the answers or at least guidance in regards to health related side effects to overcrowding.
For generations brown seaweed has been used to bolster the immune response of people and even livestock in Asia, and scientific research has once again proven that the wisdom of the oldest civilizations on the planet has a basis in verifiable fact. While the exact nature of the relationship between brown seaweed and a better immune system is still being explained and examined by researchers, the connection is very clear: brown seaweed consumption can easily improve overall immune response.
Breathe Easy With Brown Seaweed
The body’s ability to process oxygen also appears to benefit from brown seaweed, and again it appears that chemical compounds within the plant play a few subtle roles that combine to great effect. The first key role is that brown seaweed seems to act much like a natural expellant and may also open the bronchial passageway. Combined, this allows the body to expel phlegm from some of the least accessible portions of the chest. There may be other unknown benefits to be discovered in this regard, and this is considered by many researchers to be one of the brightest areas of promise for all of future research. Just what results that research will yield are still forthcoming but it seems nearly imminent that some groundbreaking discoveries are just over the horizon in this regard.
Not All Brown Seaweed is the Same, None Will Fix All Problems Without Effort
Remember that not all brown seaweed is the same, and results will vary depending on many conditions. While some ancient cultures actually cooked stews and broths with brown seaweed, others crushed it into fine powers or pulps. Most of the ancient cultures seem to agree that quick use after preparation was best, but modern medicinal techniques may extend the shelf life of products based on brown seaweed. That is not to say that all products based on brown seaweed are going to be potent for long periods of time on the shelf, so always be sure to check the expiration dates and try to get the freshest brown seaweed that you can.
It also pays to remember that brown seaweed is not a cure-all elixir or magical potion. It certainly has some great benefits to offer, but ultimately a healthy overall lifestyle should always be mixed with any sort of supplement for the best effect. Expecting weight loss by taking brown seaweed extract and doing nothing but watching TV and eating pizza is not going to suddenly result in the physique of a model. A more reasonable expectation is that a sensible diet and appropriate exercise will go further and be less taxing when taking brown seaweed supplements, but most of the other benefits such as memory and cancer prevention are universal. After all, people in Asia enjoy a healthy diet and lifestyle on top of their brown seaweed consumption, and that has to play an important factor in all around health and happiness too.