Sushi lovers, celebrate ! Nori seaweed has been found to positively alter the metabolism of estrogen by altering women’s gut flora, resulting in decreased breast cancer risk.
This is not a new study. We have known for over a decade now that in vitro (in a Petri dish) seaweed broth is effective at clearing cancer cells. Three types of human breast cancer cells were exposed to either a widely used chemotherapy drug or sea vegetable. The seaweed worked better. And unlike the chemo, it didn’t hurt normal, non-cancerous breast cells.
Let’s also look at a study done outside of a laboratory and one that involves people. In a population study comparing women with breast cancer to women without, it was found that eating a single nori sheet a day may cut a woman’s breast cancer in half. One of the reasons it is thought to prevent breast cancer is because seaweed favourably alters estrogen metabolism which in turn positively balances women’s intestinal bacteria. The more seaweed we eat, the less estrogen we have in our system, which may lower breast cancer risk.
The breast cancer protection may also be due to the large content of fiber in sea vegetables, or because seaweed may block the enzyme that undermines our body’s attempt to flush out excess hormones. Another reason may be that seaweed may somehow interfere with estrogen binding to estrogen receptors. Whatever the cause, to effectively lower their estrogen levels, Asian women may be able to get away with about one sheet of nori a day, but Western women are physically so much larger that it may take closer to two. There are lots of yummy seaweed snacks out there to make it a tasty experience—just try to get some low-fat, low-salt ones. One of my favourite ways of eating nori is simply just munching on it as a snack or I use it as a wrap for quick, simple summer lunches. Take a sheet of nori, line it with some humus or avocado, add a layer of grated carrots, shredded lettuce, sprouts or any other veggie that takes your fancy, role it up and enjoy ! And repeat !
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Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !