The Saltwater Cure

All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea — whether it is to sail or to watch it — we are going back from whence we came.”
— President John F. Kennedy
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We have all heard how "saltwater cures everything." To what extent is this true?

Nutritional Benefits

Food that is grown near the ocean naturally has more iodine because the soil is richer in it. Iodine is used to make thyroid hormones, which ultimately control how fast your cells work. Food sources from the ocean such as iodized salt, kelp, and seaweed products are even better for you.

Psychological Benefits

There are many elements that come together when analyzing the overall psychological benefits of the ocean. The experience of going to the beach affects many of our senses through touch, smell, sight, and sound. 

Just viewing the ocean reduces anxiety, depression, and increase creative thinking and compassion. The color blue also promotes a sense of calmness, peace and trust.

According to Dr. Benjamin Bensadon, an assistant professor of clinical biomedical science at Florida Atlantic University, says walking on sand alone can create a more relaxed feeling, "You can feel the sand, it's often soft, and that can be a relaxing tactile stimulus."

Minerals in the sea air reduce stress while negatively charged ions combat free radicals, which helps improve concentration, mood, and alertness.  Furthermore, research indicates that listening to ocean waves produce a state of relaxation by altering the brain's wave patterns. 

Physical Benefits

About 60% of a human's body is made up of water. For those who believe in the Aquatic Ape Theory, they may claim that our natural inclination towards the ocean is due related to the history of our evolution.

Breathing in the ocean air helps the respiratory system and may provide relief for those suffering from asthma, bronchitis, sinus issues, and coughing. Vitamin D from the sun strengthens the immune system, increases endorphins, helps provide raw materials for bone regeneration, and lowers risk of cancer.  Furthermore, swimming in the ocean improves the function of the immune system, is hydrating for the skin, and increases circulation. Saltwater is very magnesium-rich so it also relaxes muscles and helps with sleep cycle regulation.

Conclusion

Living by or frequenting the ocean now and then shows pretty incredible effects on the mind, body, and spirit. I'm sure there are still many benefits that science has yet to be aware of. More and more health and beauty products are emerging on the market claiming to work miracles by incorporating ingredients like sea salt and seaweed. My biggest hope is that as we become more educated about the ocean, we will become more motivated to preserve and respect it.

Preeya MarsdenComment