Superfood from the Sea!Article PDF
What is it? Phytoplankton are single cell plants that inhabit the oceans of the world & are thought to be responsible for producing up to 90% of the Earth's oxygen. Whales of course consume both plant & animal plankton in their diets. Recent nutritional studies are discovering that phytoplankton may indeed be a super-food for humans as well. Made up of many different micro-algae that are incredibly nutrient rich, phytoplankton forms the basis for all living life on our planet, through its vital role in photosynthesis. Their indispensable part in the carbon cycle is an indelible illustration of our holistic universe, with ancient dead algae over million of years forming fossil fuels like oil and coal, which when burnt produce carbon dioxide that is then transformed into oxygen by today's marine phytoplankton. An ever repeating cycle of life.
If all life did indeed evolve from the sea as is theorised by science, there are signs within our physiology that provide a link to that origin, with the composition of human plasma (blood) and the fluid surrounding cell walls being remarkably similar to sea water. Diluted sea water contains almost the same concentration of minerals and trace elements as blood plasma and its sodium content matches that of blood also. Diluted sea water has been used in blood transfusions involving animals without any perceived adverse effects and there are calls for research into its use in humans. The micronutrients and electrolytes contained in phytoplankton are perfectly suitable for what our human cell membranes require when metabolising. What are our cell membranes made up of? Sugars, proteins and fats. Thus what we eat provides both the fuel that our cells need to function but also the very building blocks for their structure. A diet lacking in the necessary micronutrients will over time reduce effective metabolism and thus lead to disease.
What is the nutritional make-up of marine phytoplankton? The phytoplankton that we can now purchase is produced in sea farms or aqua-culturally and is pure micro-algae rather than cyanobacteria, which can be toxic. Within these micro-algae are a veritable cornucopia of nutritional riches - omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, thiamine (B1), selenium, potassium, superoxide dismutase (SOD), zinc, vitamin E, vitamin C, iron, electrolytes, folic acid, magnesium, niacin (B3), calcium, arginine, beta carotene, chlorophyll, manganese, phenylalanine, pantohenic acid (B5), bioflavanoids, biotin, aspartic acid, alanine, boron, methionine, molybdenum, nucleic acids, phosphorous, gamma linolenic acid, glutamine, lecithin, tyrosine, pyridoxine (B6) to name most of them. The extraction processes used in these farms create a phytoplankton food product that is full of phyto-nutrients and sea minerals.
Good nutrition contributes directly to the function and structure of all the organs that make-up our bodies. As Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician who founded his practice on the principle of observation, said "let food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food." Every system within our body benefits from a balanced nutritionally rich diet, our immune system in fighting off colds and flu's, our digestive system in providing optimal energy, weight management and letting go of wastes via healthy kidneys, liver and bowels, our nervous system effecting mental functioning, and our endocrine system for our skin's health. Shiny hair, healthy nails, clear eyes, and restful sleep are all indicators of good health and are all influenced by what we eat and drink. Phytoplankton is the perfect food for healthy cell functioning and provides high levels of anti-oxidants for the maintenance of our bodies on this cellular level.
You know I was once very sceptical about all the positive health claims that many health supplements purport to induce but once I understood that true wellbeing is about our cellular health then it was obvious that all conditions are linked to this. Having grown up in a time when the prevalent view of allopathic medicine had reduced diseases into distinct specialised fields I could not then see the interconnectedness of these conditions. The recent expansion in our knowledge of nutritional science has dispelled that all too often cynical standpoint taken by some in the medical fraternity in regard to things like so called super-foods. In fact, many supplements, like marine phytoplankton, are now being championed by doctors around the world.
If our capitalistic economy has failed to deliver the necessary nutritional building blocks in the food that it produces and sells to us, and instead leaves us with supermarket shelves groaning with over packaged items made of refined sugars, fats and carbohydrates then we may need to source our own nutritionally rich foods like marine phytoplankton in concert with other organic foods. Otherwise we are likely to end up over weight, functioning poorly and eventually succumbing to disease. At a time of weak governments and overly powerful unfettered corporate giants, the need to take your own health into your own hands has never been more acute.©Sacred Chef.
Appeared in Conscious Living Magazine (2007).