Water runs through the veins of our agricultural crops, bringing nutrients to each of the cells that make up the various tissues in every plant. Water is critical to the survival of living organisms on this planet and this kinship and reliance upon water is even more evident when it comes to Seaweeds, they can be as high as 90 % liquid.
When Seaweeds are used as soil conditioners, they help balance moisture content within the soil, because of their extensive water holding capacity. Seaweeds fertilizers not only provide a variety of nutrients, but they help to balance the microbial environment in which plants grow.
When Seaweeds are used to feed humans and animals, they provide protein, fiber, a wide range of vitamins and minerals and a mountain of antioxidant ammunition.
At the cellular level (and all living things are made up of cells) the balance of the positive and negative charges on and around the cells that produce the energy and the construction material required to make new tissues and organs. In effect, while sunlight (via photosynthesis) is actually the energy that fuels the biological world, it boils down to electronic charge and its balance within and among the cells! That’s why you hear so much about antioxidants, because THEIR mode of action is based upon electronic charge. Electronic balance is dependent on a plentiful variety of antioxidants, in science terms, cellular homeostasis.
Seaweeds have been on the planet for around 2 BILLION years! It was long before the dinosaurs, and even before there was any sign of a tree, a blade of grass or a land plant of any description. Seaweeds have the advantage over terrestrial plants to produce a huge supply of internal protective compounds, required to deal with environmental extremes. All plants can survive short periods of high stress, by producing antioxidant compounds to moderate the imbalance of electrical charges caused by a specific stress, but some are better at this than others.
Seaweeds have utilized many adaptation strategies, most of which take the form of naturally produced bioactive molecules that are ready to come into play whenever conditions are difficult. When we eat Seaweeds or feed them to our plants and animals, we take advantage of that huge stockpile of health promoting compounds. Collectively, they are called antioxidants, but specifically these can be carotenoids, sulphated polysaccharides, phlorotannins, plus more, but it is enough to know that such a broad range of antioxidants can provide significant benefits to other organisms.
These bioactive ingredients in Seaweeds are so effective; research has shown that spinach grown with Seaweed fertilizer actually contains more antioxidants than spinach grown without. So, instead of trying to target and treat certain adverse or unhealthy conditions, the addition of Seaweed alleviates such a broad range of stresses, it restores that very important cellular balance necessary to keep other living organisms happy and productive.
Research on Seaweeds has typically waxed and waned over the last several decades, but now, with modern analytical techniques and renewed interest in natural health, the value of Seaweed and its beneficial application is rapidly increasing….and for good reason!
Seaweeds are truly beneficial! In a world where balance is more difficult to maintain, utilizing Seaweed for its natural approach for our health, land, plants and animals is logical and sustainable.
(See other “Seaweed Benefits” from Seaweed Pete)
Lynn – Acadian Seaplants Limited, Canada