The nutritional rebalancing potential of seaweed.

Simon Ranger of Seagreens suggests that seaweeds might be just what is needed to improve the nutrient profile of our foods, currently in near catastrophic decline.

First published in Positive Health

The nutritional value of food is in steep decline. An annual analysis of 72 foods between 1940 and 2002 shows an average loss of 19% magnesium, 29% calcium, 37% iron, and 62% copper.[1] Over a similar post-War period, saturated fat in beef and chicken has risen more than 400%, whilst essential omega-3 fats critical to nervous, immune, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive and eliminatory systems, have declined in the same proportion.[2] For years, industry, agriculture and politicians have pursued the most expedient routes to growth, ignoring the whole health of soil, plants, animals and people. Although support for a more holistic approach, particularly in organic agriculture has grown, as a British Nutrition Foundation scientist recently observed: "The healthiness of a food alone seems to be an important determinant of food choice for only a small sector of the population. For this reason, implicit improvements in the nutrient profile of foods by the food industry are essential to have any substantial influence on public health".[3] Seaweed responds to these concerns in numerous ways. It contains all the minerals and micronutrients missing from our soils in ideal natural proportions; it is eminently suitable for inclusion in soil, plants and animals; and as a human food ingredient, could re-balance the diet of millions of people worldwide. It is an organic, nutrient-rich, low-energy food – exactly what is needed to compensate for declining levels of physical activity among most of the population.

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First Published in2009

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