Korea is a breath-taking destination with the best of both worlds: millions of acres of gorgeous forests plus the spectacular coastlines of the Yellow Sea, the East Sea, and the East China Sea. Considering the vastness of the oceans and forests in Korea, it's no surprise that functional foods like seaweed and mushrooms have been used for generations in traditional Korean medicine.
In this article, we'll explore these exciting ingredients.
What is Brown Seaweed?
Brown seaweed grows abundantly on the rocky coastlines surrounding Korea and has been used throughout history for its medicinal properties. Low in calories and rich in nutrients, this sea vegetable is used in Korean cuisine for its unmistakable salty flavor. It makes a tasty addition to salads and soups, including a popular soup called miyeok guk.
Interestingly, regular seaweed consumption is believed to be the reason behind the longevity of several Asian populations!
What are Shiitake Mushrooms?
Shiitake mushrooms are edible fungi that grow in forests across East Asia. They've been used in the east for their flavor, meaty texture, and health properties for centuries. Nowadays, shiitake mushrooms are well-known around the world and are a popular ingredient in various cuisines.
These amazing medicinal mushrooms are a common feature in traditional forms of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean medicine – holistic approaches to healthcare that aim to bring balance to the body. In K-Health, dried shiitake mushrooms are a common remedy for boosting the "life force", reducing inflammation, promoting immunity, and enhancing longevity (1).
3 Ways Brown Seaweed and Shiitake Mushroom Extract Support Health
Brown Seaweed and Shiitake Mushrooms are favorites in K-Health. While they aren't a replacement for medicine, these functional foods promote overall well-being. Who doesn't want that?!
They Contain Polysaccharide Compounds Many of the health benefits of brown seaweed and shiitake mushroom extract come from their content of polysaccharides – health compounds formed when simple sugars are linked together. The cell walls of brown seaweed are a rich source of a fucoidan (pronounced foo-koy-den), a group of well-researched polysaccharides that exhibit anti-clotting, immune supportive, and antiinflammatory properties (2, 3).
They Have Antioxidant Properties Brown seaweed and shiitake mushrooms have antioxidant capabilities and anti-inflammatory properties (4). They help fight oxidative stress by donating the electrons needed to quench unstable free radicals in the body. This is great news because we are bombarded by free radicals due to poor dietary choices, alcohol consumption, environmental pollution, long-term stress, and other lifestyle habits. All these factors increase your body's demand for antioxidants.
They're Rich in Micro-Nutrients These functional foods are nutrient-rich, providing the body with amino acids, fiber, and a variety of micro-nutrients such as: Iodine Iron Magnesium Copper Selenium Potassium Manganese Zinc B-complex vitamins Interestingly, shiitake mushrooms are also one of the few dietary sources of vitamin D, an important nutrient for healthy immunity and strong bones (5).
Tips for Choosing the Right Supplement
Extracts of brown seaweed and shiitake mushrooms are becoming popular thanks to a growing number of research studies. However, it can be tricky knowing what to look for in a supplement. You need to be sure the products you buy are made by a trustworthy brand that uses pure raw ingredients!
Seaweed and mushrooms absorb nutrients (and sometimes toxins) from the environments they grow in, which means there is a risk of environmental contamination if they're not pristinely sourced. As a trusted K-Health company, this is where Sejong Biotech comes in!
SJ Fucoidan is a wellness restorative that combines Fucoidan isolated from Brown Seaweed with Shiitake Mushroom Extract in one convenient formula. It's been manufactured in a GMP facility using minimal ingredients of the highest purity. Each capsule provides 400 mg of Fucoidan and 100 mg of Shiitake Mushroom Powder – nothing else!
Resources: 1. Bisen et al. (2010). Lentinus edodes: a macrofungus with pharmacological activities. Available at: http://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20491636