A really comprehensive nutrient spectrum is difficult to obtain from landgrown and manufactured foods (11) where the effect of soil deficiencies and nutrient imbalances is well documented (12). Still more so in special diets, where certain foods are restricted due to illness and therapy, allergy and intolerance, pregnancy, metabolic disorders and weight regulation (13), and in poor colon health.
The nature of land foods is that each species has a distinct but partial profile, high in some nutrients, low in others, all with some nutrients missing. Hence the need to ‘graze’ in the wild, or produce a wide variety of land foods. Even then, the mineral content will depend on the growing medium – from soil-less growing under 24/7 lighting to rich composted soil on a biodynamic farm.
Very different from the land, the ocean is a rich and consistent growing medium where abundant seaweeds feed a multitude of species. Brown seaweed is a complete, primordial food which, having no roots, absorbs and converts nutrients directly from this great ‘soup’ which covers 70% of the planet – the final repository of all the Earth’s minerals which Nature has few ways of returning to the soil.
The seaweed, which is also rich in protein, is able to transform these into a unique whole food with not only all the trace elements like selenium and zinc, but the entire B group and other rare vitamins including absorbable B12 (14), D, H and K. In addition to chlorophyll, there are other rare pigments like astaxanthin and violaxanthin.
A range of indigestible polysaccharides (15) have been shown to protect the gut wall against cancer-causing bacteria and bind for elimination through the bowel, pollutants and toxic metals like lead and mercury – of special importance in the treatment of obesity since fat stores toxins which are released into the system in the process of fat reduction.
Of all the brown seaweeds, the wild wrack species, of which Seagreens currently uses three (Ascophyllum, Fucus, and Pelvetia), have the broadest balance of nutrients and are the most suitable human food ingredients.
Seagreens has pioneered the means of harvesting and producing these seaweeds to consistent food quality standards. It is “the leading seaweed supplier in Britain” (17) and it’s Certified organic production in the remote islands of the Scottish Outer Hebrides won a Crown Estate Business Award in 2010.
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Check back next week for part 3 of 3.