Sea cucumber, which has another name Stichopus Japonicus Selenka, Sea Slug, and Tripang, is one of the echinoderms that has leathery skin and an elongated skin. Like all other echinoderms, this sea cucumber also has an endoskeleton just under its skin. Sea cucumber played a very important role in sea ecosystem since it will help to recycle the nutrients and breaking down the detritus.
But, do you know that sea cucumber also can be used as a food? In China, people served it as a food with various recipes. In fact, besides that it is very tasty to eat, sea cucumber will also bring you a lot of benefits for your health. Here are some health benefits that the sea cucumber can offer to your body.
- Prevent Blood Clotting
First Health Benefits of Sea Cucumber is for blood clotting. There is a study conducted by Brazilian scientist on a sea cucumber that published in Journal of Biological Chemistry. He found out that sea cucumber contains anti-coagulant activity comes from its chondroitin sulfate which will prevent blood clotting.
If we left it untreated, blood clotting could be very dangerous for our health since it will lead to pulmonary embolism, a condition where the blood clots accumulated in the lungs and thus, it will restrict the blood flow which is very fatal. So, consuming sea cucumber is one of the best way to protect you from blood clotting.
- Wound Up Healing
Do you know that sea cucumber could be very beneficial to make your wound gone away so quickly? Some studies say that consuming sea cucumber and its extract can speed up the recovery against your wounds. Sea cucumber is widely known for its ability to regenerate its own body tissue when injured and some studies believed that this advantage will be very beneficial for human too if they are consuming sea cucumber.
In fact, a study conducted by “Marine Drug” evidence that the arachnodic acid that contained in a sea cucumber is one of the compound that has responsibility to speed up wound healing.
- High Intake of Protein
This is one of the most important benefits for sea cucumber. This echinoderm would be very beneficial to boost your protein and some studies already prove that. A study on sea cucumber conducted by the Director of Institute for Traditional Medicine in Oregon shown that the protein that contained in sea cucumber is higher than any other foods, except egg whites.
Besides, a study conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health stated that the high intake of a protein will be very useful to protect people from cardiovascular diseases.
- Prevent Arthritis
Some studies also believed that sea cucumber can cure diseases associated with arthritis and joint pain. Thanks to its compound called chondroitin sulfate. This chondroitin sulfate is one the most important component in cartilage.
When you have insufficient amounts of chondroitin sulfate in the body, you will be more likely to suffer from any diseases associated with arthritis and joint pain. A study conducted by H.Benedikt, D.C also evidences that you’re strongly suggested to consume sea cucumber to reduce the joint pain and arthritis.
- Prevent Cancer
A study conducted by Chinese scientist that published in “Cancer, Biology, and Therapy” evidence that sea cucumber contains a compound called philipnoside E. which is very beneficial to inhibit the formation of blood vessel that transported the nutrients to the tumors.
Thus, this activity will prevent the growth of the tumor in your body. Also, sea cucumbers contain a compound called triterpene glycosides. This compound would be very beneficial to stimulate the antitumor activity.
- Anti-microbial Compounds
Sea cucumber is also very potent to inhibit any bacteria activities due to its anti-microbial agents called steroidal sapogennins. There was a research conducted by a researcher called Jawahar. The research found that except Lactobacillus sp, other kinds of bacteria such as Escerichia coli, Aeromonas hydrophilia, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, etc were very sensitive against sea cucumber extract. That research proves that steroidal sapogennins is very potent to kill bacteria activity.
- Antiviral Compounds
Same with health benefits of lobster, there are also some evidences that sea cucumber has an antiviral compound that can protect you from any lethal diseases associated with virus. There is a study conducted by researchers called Maier, shown that triterpene glycosides have a very good antiviral activity against herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1).
Also the chondroitin sulfates that contained in sea cucumber can inhibit the infection of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which make this sea cucumber is a perfect food to consume if you want to reduce the symptoms of HIV AIDS. And if you want to protect yourself from HIV, you need to consume this natural food as soon as possible.
- Anti-Inflammatory Activity
Sea cucumber is also widely known for its anti-inflammatory activity, which is very beneficial to reduce the pain caused by disease associated with arthritis, for example. The evidence of sea cucumber’s anti-inflammatory activity comes from researchers from Malaysia that conducted an experiment in rats. They found out that sea cucumber supplement can reduce the inflammation that occur in both male and female rats.
The compounds called glucosamine, mucopolysaccharides, and chondroitin that contained in sea cucumber are the most important compounds that responsible to inhibit the inflammation, thus, will reduce the pain in patients from disease like arthritis.
- Antioxidant Properties
Sea cucumber turns out become one of the few marine organism that contain a valuable antioxidant. There are some studies which proved that sea cucumber contains high amount of antioxidant. A research conducted by Zeng, a scientist from China, stated that sea cucumber contains gelatin hyrosylates. This compound proved to be very potent to fight against superoxide anion radicals in significant levels.
- Anti Fatigue and Boosts Immune Systems
Sea cucumber turns out to be a very good source to boost your immunity. The polypeptides contained in sea cucumber is a compound that has a responsibility to maintain and improve your immune system. Also, it is revealed that the oral liquid contained in sea cucumber could improve the stamina and energy.
There was a study conducted in mice, and the mice were given the oral liquid of sea cucumber. They were tested on how long they can swim compared with mice which are not given the oral liquid of sea cucumber. The result of that test was the mice which given the oral liquid of sea cucumber can swim longer than the other mice. Also, it was found out that after swimming, the oral liquid of sea cucumber in the mice was significantly decreased.
That research has proved that the oral liquid contained in sea cucumber could be very beneficial to improve the stamina in human. (Read : Health benefits of tuna)
- Healing Gum Disease
Although this benefit of sea cucumber is still need further research and experiment, but some experts say that the sea cucumber extract could be used in the form of toothpaste. The sea cucumber extract toothpaste might be beneficial to people who suffer from gum diseases. This sea cucumber toothpaste is believed to be very potent to heal the gum diseases due to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and wound healing properties.
- Anti-Thrombotic Compounds
A study conducted by researchers named Zarcan and Mourao evidence that sea cucumber contains a unique sulfated polysaccharide, which will strongly inhibit both P- and L- selectins. There is also a result of a study stated that sea cucumber derived depolymerized fragment (DHG) is an essential antithrombotic agent.
Sea Cucumber Consumption Tips
Since sea cucumber is very beneficial for your health, we bet that you might want to give it a try. But, sea cucumber might also very unusual for you to consume, which make a little bit confusion on how to prepare it and serve it. Well, sea cucumber would be very tasty to serve as a food and there are so many recipes that you could get to serve this sea cucumber.
But, the most important aspect before you serve it as a food is, you need to know how to clean it, soak it, or boil it, so you and your family would be safe to consume it and get the full advantage of it. Here are the steps on how to soak it and boil it to sanitize the sea cucumber.
How to Soak it:
- First, you need to check on what store you buy the sea cucumber from and how many days you need to soak the sea cucumber because it depends on the size, and the quality of the sea cucumber that you get. But, the overall recommendation to soak the sea cucumber is about 6 days.
- Be sure that the sea cucumber is completely submerged under the water. To make the sea cucumber become sanitized, you need to cover them, so there will no particle from outside that get into the water.
- Don’t forget to change the water to soak the sea cucumber at least once per two days.
- After about 3 days, the sea cucumber become little bit softer than before.You can use the knife to scrap the inside part of sea cucumber. Although it is a little bit hard, but you need to do it until about 6 days of soaking after the sea cucumber becomes softer than before.
How to Boil it:
- Right after the soaking period is over, you still need to boil it for another one hour in a big pot. Then, cover it with the lid.
- Don’t open the lid until the sea cucumber is cool down. After you open the lid, throw away the water. In case the sea cucumber still hard, you can boil it again for another one hour until it becomes soft. But, please do notice that you must not over-boiled it or it will turn into a mush.
- Once it is soft, throw away the water, the sea cucumber is ready to cook with your own recipes. You can cut them apart soon after its soft in your desirable size, or you can put in the refrigerator if you don’t want to cook it soon.
Sea Cucumbers Side Effects and Warning
Since it is very unusual to eat it, many people didn’t know what kind of side effects that the sea cucumber would bring. Overall, it is safe to consume sea cucumber unless you have some concerns with your health that associated with allergies. Here are some warnings that you should consider before consuming sea cucumber:
- You’re not recommended to consume sea cucumber if you a history of allergies against various seafoods. Consuming sea cucumber will bring you nothing but a very harmful effects for your body like skin rash, itching, or swollen skin.
- If you’re getting pregnant or breast-feeding, you’re suggested to not consume this sea cucumber because until now, there is still lacks of scientific evidence that it is safe for pregnant woman. So, rather than taking the risk that threatening the health of you and your infants, it is better to stay away with this food.
- There is also some concerns related to this sea cucumber if you’re consuming it with blood-thinning drugs since it might be causing some serious problems related to your health.
So, now you already know that sea cucumber is very beneficial for your health if you want to consume it as a food. We know that it looks a little bit disgusting or unusual for you to eat it, but we strongly suggest that you’re willing to give it a try. In fact, this sea cucumber is proven to be very potent to reduce the risk of having some disease caused by deadly virus, such HIV AIDS. So, what are you waiting for? Give it a try and let the sea cucumber do the rest to improve the health and immunity of your body.