While seaweed is a common part of the diet in many parts of the world, particularlyAsia, it really hasn’t caught on in the West. Maybe it should. It’s a ready known to be highly nutritious, filled with minerals and chlorophyll. Now some types of seaweed may even help lower high blood pressure.
NutraMara is a marine research group based in Ireland. They’ve identified a peptide in the seaweed palmaria palmata that is active in the rennin-angiotensin system. This peptide inhibits renin activity.
As you may know, some of the best drugs for hypertension work by inhibiting the action of angiotensin or renin. The medicine I take (lisinopril) is in that category of drugs. While it’s unlikely that seaweed will replace drugs, it’s always good to support your health the best diet possible, then take medicine as needed.
Traditionally, people that live in coastal communities have incorporated seaweed into their diet using it much as you would any other vegetable. Given its ready availability, this made great sense. When you think about it a diet based on fish and seaweed would be pretty healthy.
As I mentioned, there other health benefits to adding seaweed your diet. In particular, it supports thyroid function. Also, many forms of seaweed a high in protein. This can very which the species in the time of harvest, but the protein content can be as high as 25%.
While you can generally find dry seaweed in health food stores it isn’t commonly available. I suppose someday it might be, but right now it’s a little hard to imagine going down to the supermarket and finding fresh seaweed. Food researchers at number of companies are experimenting with ways to incorporate seaweed, or at least some of its complements, into other foods such as baked goods and meat products. I was somewhat amused to read that they’re considering adding it to sausage. Considering the rumors about what usually goes into sausage, seaweed would be a definite improvement.
I have mixed feelings about processed foods with weird additives in them. Depending on the rest of the ingredients and the nutritional profile I might consider using some foods in the future that have seaweed on their list of ingredients. In the meanwhile, I think I’ll pick up some packages of the dried variety the next time I’m at the health food store.
The bottom line in all this is that eating a wide variety of unprocessed foods is best for your health. We already know that diet has a tremendous effect on one’s blood pressure, for good or for bad. Here’s another food to add to the good side of the ledger.