Summer and the ocean or seaside are a natural warm-weather fit. But although many of us see the water solely as an environment for relaxation and recreation ““ with appropriate use of sunscreen, of course! ““ we forget that nature’s water resources are storehouses of nutrition.
You may not be able to serve as many fish meals as you’d like. However, there are other ways to get the health benefits from our oceans. Here are five supplements you might consider making staples in your diet:
Spirulina. Spirulina is a type of single-celled, blue-green algae that grows in fresh warm waters around the world. Used as a food source since ancient times, spirulina is a natural source of chlorophyll ““ the pigment that plants use to convert sunlight into energy ““ and also vitamins, minerals and protein.
Many people take spirulina in powdered form, stirring a teaspoon into a beverage or mixing it with foods such as applesauce or yogurt. Spirulina can also be found incorporated into some healthy snack foods, such as Raw Revolution Spirulina Dream Organic Live Food Bars, or in convenient take-anywhere tablets.
Coral calcium. As its name suggests, coral calcium comes from marine coral. Bones need constant replenishment of calcium, and this important mineral also plays a part in supporting healthy nerve and muscle function.* Calcium is ideally taken with magnesium, which supports calcium absorption.
Omega-3s. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are found naturally in fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna and cod, and also in some plants. Two types of omega-3s ““ DHA and EPA ““ have demonstrated ability to protect the heart, maintain healthy cognitive function, support healthy moods and even assist in joint comfort and flexibility.*
While eating fresh fish is an ideal way to obtain omega-3s, fish oil supplements (liquid or softgels) are another option. If you’re vegan, vegetarian or prefer not to eat fish, DHA derived from algae is also available in supplement form.
Chlorella. A single-cell algae, chlorella is a natural source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, protein and other phytonutrients. Taken as a supplement, chlorella may offer benefits such as supporting healthy blood pressure levels, as well as healthy iron and folate levels, already within the normal range.*
Kelp. A rich and natural source of the trace mineral iodine, kelp is brown seaweed that grows in coastal ocean waters. It’s a popular ingredient in Asian cuisine, and can be enjoyed as part of your meals in several ways. Try adding kelp powder to the pot when you cook beans or soup. Soak kelp strips, then slice and serve with the dish of your choice. Or make kelp noodles for a unique seaweed salad.
Kelp is also available as a supplement, but check with your healthcare provider before taking due to the high iodine content.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Laurie Steelsmith, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic physician and licensed acupuncturist who specializes in women’s health. She is the co-author of Great Sex, Naturally: Every Woman’s Guide to Enhancing Her Sexuality Through the Secrets of Natural Medicine and co-author of Natural Choices for Women’s Health: How the Secrets of Natural and Chinese Medicine Can Create a Lifetime of Wellness.