Sea cucumber is a marine creature that belongs to a group called echinoderms which also includes starfish and sea urchins. It’s so named because its body shape is similar to a cucumber. Like all echinoderms, sea cucumbers have an endoskeleton just below the skin.
There are more than 1250 species of sea cucumbers that can be found in oceans throughout the world. Sea cucumbers usually live on the sea floor. Only few species live near the surface of the water.
These sea animals have long been known for its healing properties and are widely used in Chinese traditional medicine to treat a number of health problems, including fatigue, constipation, impotence, frequent urination, etc.
Sea cucumber is rich in chondroitin sulfate, triterpene glycosides, and contains protein, fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, as well as vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 & C. Here some top health benefit of sea cucumber.
1. Cancer Prevention
Eating sea cucumber may help prevent the growth of cancer cells. Previous research on sea cucumbers has validated its capabilities on combating breast, colon, skin, lung, prostate, and pancreatic cancer cells. Frondoside A found in the sea cucumber is believed to be a powerfully key component in the battle against cancer.
Sea cucumbers also contain high amounts of compounds known as triterpene glycosides, which have anti-tumor activity.
2. Cure Arthritis and Joint Pain
Several studies have confirms that the consumption of chrondroitin sulfate was effective in reducing arthritis pain in the group of study subjects with moderate to severe arthritis pain. The results of this study directly links the effectiveness of sea cucumber for treatment of arthritis pain due to the high concentration of chondroitin sulfate.
3. Inhibit HIV infection
The chrondroitin sulfates contained in sea cucumber can also 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. And if you want to protect yourself from HIV, you need to include this food into your daily diet.
4. Speed Up Wound Healing
Some studies say that consuming sea cucumber or its extract can speed up the recovery of 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. According to the October 2011 “Marine Drugs” study, this is believed to be facilitated by certain fatty acids, such as arachidonic acid, present in sea cucumber.
5. Improve Gum Health
Use of a toothpaste containing sea cucumber extract may be beneficial to people with gum disease. According to a preliminary study published in the Journal of Oral Science in 2003, 28 adults with chronic gingivitis or early stages of periodontitis brushed their teeth with sea cucumber-enriched toothpaste twice daily for three months showed significantly greater improvements in several markers of gum health such as plaque buildup and bleeding.
6. Boost Immune System
Sea cucumber is a very good source to boost your immunity. The polypeptides in sea cucumber can maintain and improve your immune system. Also, it is revealed that the oral liquid contained in sea cucumber could improve the stamina and energy.
7. Maintain Cardiovascular Health
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, and some studies already prove that this echinoderm would be very beneficial to boost your protein intake.
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. According to the US Department of Agriculture, a serving of sea cucumber (about 6 ounces) already fulfills the minimum daily intake of protein required.
8. Improve Kidney Health
Sea cucumber is considered a fine health tonic, especially for the kidneys and has been used to nourish the kidneys and treat cases of frequent urination.
How to Prepare Sea Cucumber
- Soak the sea cucumbers in water for about 2-3 days until soften (depending on their sizes) and changes the water daily.
- Put the sea cucumber in boiling water and let it boil for about 10 minutes and simmer for about 30-60 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and allow the water to cool down.
- Put the sea cucumber in a container with completely submerged under the water and refrigerated.
- In the next day, remove the sea cucumbers from the water and use knife to scrap the inside part of sea cucumber.
- Rinse and boil them again for about 10 minutes, then simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Repeat this process several days later until the sea cucumber becomes soft.
- If you not use the sea cucumber directly, rehydrated and put it in the freezer.