13 FEB 2018: Ninety-five percent of the world's oceans are still unexplored. 95 percent! Legend has it, if you hold a large seashell up to your ear you can hear the whispering sounds of the ocean as they echo through its intricate swirling canals. If you listen really closely, you might even be able to decipher its secrets. It's telling you to spend more time in the sea.  

Be it sweat, tears or the sea; salt water has been touted as the cure for nearly all woes. In fact, many years ago in the UK, doctors would prescribe time by the sea, detailing how often, when and under what conditions one was to take the Nestea plunge. Interestingly, before then, beach travel was not the highly sought after vacation destination it is today.

Many southern beach resort destinations now boast amenities that include a bevy of relaxing poolside real estate, some even feature a pool with a bar built right in. Simply being away from responsibilities of work and home life will have obvious benefit, so what's so special about the sea?

Yes, the chlorinated pools provide a certain level of safety and protection against unwanted interactions with scary sea creatures and strong undertows, and your safety should always be prioritized. But, while chlorine serves the important purpose of eradicating harmful bacteria in our swimming pools, it has also been associated with a variety of serious long-term respiratory conditions. Red eyes, skin irritations, and cough are other common complaints of excessive chlorine exposure. Also, I really don't care how close the washrooms are, it is very hard for me to ignore the very likely sprinkles of tinkle that have infused the waters of those swim-up bars. Yeah, I'll take 'hell no' for $400 Alex…

To refer to the sea as a body of salt water is a gross oversimplification. There is so much more to seawater besides the salt that it contains. It is flooded with minerals and trace elements in a blended ratio that mimics our blood plasma, the watery nutrient-rich fluid that, combined with blood cells, makes up the blood in our veins. Some say this is no coincidence as there is a theory that we have evolved from primordial sea foam. Regardless, this similarity allows the body to recognize it and make use of the nutrients with ease. Anything we put on our skin is absorbed into the bloodstream in 15 minutes, so you need not drink the sea water to reap its rewards.

Think of the salt in your kitchen. Benefits of natural sea salts are prized over table salt because of their mineral and trace element contents. Iodine, sodium, magnesium, and calcium promise healthy hydrated skin, a boost in immune function, and improved ability to heal wounds. Reduced muscle pain and stiffness and mediating inflammatory skin conditions are a short list of the many benefits of bathing in the sea.

You know that glorious sea breeze, and that feeling of stepping out onto the beach and taking that first deep and relaxing breath? The air around the sea or ocean is filled with these incredible things called negative ions.

Now, there are two kinds of ions in this world - positive and negative. Don't be fooled, because their names actually imply the opposite effects.

Negative ions are the good guys abundantly found in nature; in this case, said sea breeze. They are also concentrated in forests, near waterfalls and following a thunderstorm. Negative ions are essentially oxygen molecules with an extra electron. This gives them the cleansing power to draw impurities out of the air and balance harmful positive ions (think carbon dioxide missing an electron) which are especially concentrated in polluted cities overrun with electronic devices. When inundated by positive ions we are left feeling lethargic and irritable. Sounds like a case of the Mondays, but research is even exploring a possible link to conditions like anxiety and depression.

All this to say that those doctors back in the day were on to something with those oceanic prescriptions.

Taking a plunge into the ocean can help support visibly healthy skin, while also giving your body a mineral boost that supports immune and overall body function. The negative ions in the air will help to increase alertness, concentration and feel good vibes.

You'll sleep better too!

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, take advantage of all those negative ions flying around to amplify the happiness and romance of that sunset walk on the beach, trip to the waterfall or even a walk through a wooded park.

It's like any teacher likely told you for a multiple choice test - When in doubt choose sea…or C…whatever.

 

author

Sabrina Santer

Sabrina Santer uses her academic and holistic nutrition background to share insight and inform readers on travel wellness tips and healthy eating around the world. A witty sense of humour sprinkles her work as proof that healthy need not be boring. 

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