Seaweed: Mankind's First Superfood and Rugged Rejuvenator
We, human beings, gazed upon the coastal water’s rhythmic hues of reds, browns, and greens today as was done long ago. The importance of such scenery is no longer deemed necessary for our survival, however should be understood as an invaluable source of nutrients.
It is believed that human evolution and the development of our large brain required an environment rich in omega-3 fatty acids and five key micronutrients including iodine, iron, copper, zinc, and selenium. Human nutrition and evolution researcher Stephen Cunnane and neurochemist Michael Crawford brought these points to light and highlighted the idea that early humans must have lived along coasts and fed upon fish, shellfish, and most likely seaweed roughly 100,000 years ago. Since this time, seaweed have been relied upon for food and medicine throughout many cultures particularly in Europe, Nordic countries, Asia, Polynesia, South America, Australia, and New Zealand. Also, human migration relied on a coastal “kelp highway” where the first North Americans and eventually South Americans required a coastal route. These populations originated from Asia when eastern Siberia was connected to Alaska 14,000 years ago.
Seaweeds, also known as marine algae, are incredible aquatic botanicals and have been used throughout history as natural beautifying agents. They are extremely diverse and possess bioactive compounds much different than terrestrial plants. The mineral content they possess is upwards of ten times the concentration of land plants in addition to their abundance of vitamins A, B, C, and E. These attributes and subtle variance in bioactive compounds between seaweed variety, make certain aquatic botanicals like sea oak, kelp, alaria, dulse, rockweed, and Irish moss (found in Alluvian’s Isle of Man Beard + Hair) a valuable addition for natural men’s grooming products that help moisturize, leaving skin and hair soft and supple.
Getting started eating seaweed may be easier and tastier than you believe. For starters, nori, the red algae famous in sushi, is protein rich and has a mildly nutty and sweet flavor.
Wakame is brown seaweed and has a mild and sweet flavor that is used in miso soup or seaweed salad found in many Japanese restaurants.
For the more adventurous, a trip to your local health food store should yield some common varieties for at home recipes.
If you are currently a seaweed enthusiast, try ordering online for some primo seaweed, sustainably harvested and processed by such companies as Canadian Kelp Resources out of British Columbia or Seaweed Icelandlocated on the southern coast of Iceland.
Incorporating seaweed into your diet and grooming routine will yield some truly amazing results. The combination works harmoniously no matter your goals. Return, at least in spirit, to the sea.
Mouritsen, O. G. 2013. Seaweeds: edible, available & sustainable. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.