5 secret ocean ingredients you should be eating

5 secret ocean ingredients you should be eating

Into the blue

Site: Yeong Sassall

Take a deep dive into the sea of health benefits the ocean has to offer, says marine scientist John Croft

1. Oysters

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Low in fat and high in protein, oysters are brimming with healthy nutrients such as the antioxidant selenium, immune-boosting zinc, energising iron and B vitamins, plus magnesium for healthy muscle and nerve function. They're also a source of vitamin D, which is important for bone health as well as helping reduce the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. Try preparing them like Jamie Oliver does, with a dressing made from grated ginger, rice wine vinegar, chilli and coriander.

2. Green-lipped mussel extract

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Mussels are good for a lot more than just seafood marinara, especially when it comes to the powerful green-lipped variety. Native to New Zealand, they're packed with natural compounds such as glycogen complex (a carbohydrate compound), essential fatty acids glycosaminoglycans  (chondroitin sulphate), important minerals and proteins that may help maintain joint mobility and reduce inflammation, as well as supporting healthy cartilage and connective tissue function. Plus, research shows green-lipped mussel extract may help relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthrosis (age-related joint degeneration). Find it in supplement form in pharmacies and health food stores.

3. Scallops

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With a subtle, delicate flavour that even non-seafood enthusiasts enjoy, scallops are an excellent source of vitamin B12, which supports mood and energy levels and is important for cognitive health. It also helps reduce levels of a chemical called homocysteine, high levels of which are linked to heart troubles, stroke and dementia. Another reason to love scallops? They contain iodine, a nutrient important for thyroid health and in turn, metabolism.

4. Agar agar and kelp powder

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Also known as kanten, agar agar is derived from seaweed and sold in powder form. It can be used as a vegan replacement to gelatine in desserts such as jelly and puddings, as well as to thicken soups, sauces and juices. As a gelatinous substance, it is thought to have a filling effect and to help a sluggish digestion.

Kelp powder is a good natural source of iodine which is helpful for people who are hypothyroidal and minerals which are easily assimilated. It is available as powder to sprinkle on foods or tablets to consume as a supplement.

5. Ocean ambience

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Beyond the bounty of the ocean, research shows even just being near it is good for your health. In one UK study, people were more likely to have good health the closer they lived to the sea. Other research reveals that patients with cystic fibrosis who were exposed to salty air had improved lung function and fewer pulmonary flare-ups. What's more, the sound of the sea breeze and waves helps calm and relax you - just in case you needed a reason to spend more time by the ocean.

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