Health benefits of being beside the sea
Apart from the nutritional properties, the sea provides a variety of other health-giving elements you can benefit from.
Sea water for well-being
Research shows that the sound of waves alters wave patterns in the brain lulling you into a deeply relaxed state. Relaxing in this way can help rejuvenate the mind and body.
Also, floating in water means blood is diverted around from our lower limbs and pumped towards our abdominal region - the part of the body near the heart - because we are no longer standing upright. Fresh blood being pumped around the body brings more oxygen to our brain which makes us more alert and active.
Fresh air for sleep
If you've ever wondered why we always sleep more soundly after spending the day on the beach, it's because of the sea air. Sea air is charged with healthy negative ions that accelerate our ability to absorb oxygen. Negative ions also balance levels of seratonin, a body chemical linked with mood and stress. Which is why after a holiday you feel more alert, relaxed and energised.
Sun for feeling good and skin conditions
When we're lying on the beach, the heat of the sun affects our endocrine system - the part of our body which secretes endorphins - the natural chemicals in our body designed to make us feel relaxed and less stressed.
And, a certain amount of sun can be good for some skin complaints such as psoriasis - a chronic skin disease where scaly pink pataches form on the elbows, knees and scalp.
Ultra violet radiation (UV light) is a common treatment for this skin complaint, says Dr Rodney O'Donnell, a doctor who is involved in studying the health effects of the Dead Sea. This is because a small amount of ultra violet radiation from the sun's rays helps dry the skin, making it flake off and allowing healing to take place.
If you have psoriasis over a large area, your doctor may recommend phototherapy (light treatment). You'll stand under ultraviolet A light. And, to make the treatment work better, your doctor may prescribe psoralen pills to boost the action of ultraviolet A light.
And other dermatologists who report their discovery in the Oxford-based medical journal Skin Research And Technology confirm that seawater is good for cases of dermatitis (an allergic skin rash, often caused by contact with household chemicals.)
They bathed the skin in sodium lauryl sulphate - a salt compound to treat skin rashes, before bathing it in ordinary water or seawater, and found the results from seawater were far better, rapidly clearing up the dermatitis and helping the skin to heal more quickly than sodium lauryl sulphate.
The researchers then analysed the effects of the individual compounds in seawater and said that two of them - salt and potassium chloride are the main healers. They seal the damaged skin and allow it to mend. The researchers also claimed that bathing in seawater increases the elasticity of the skin, and improves its outer appearance.