Have you ever wondered what the benefits of dried seaweed are? It turns out there are quite a few. Some of which I have been drawn to find out more about we will explore here. And although there are only a few different types of seaweed that we will look at here, these benefits can carry across in the different types of seaweed, although they do vary slightly depending on which sea vegetables you choose to consume.
Did you know that there are approximately 35,000 different species of seaweed on our planet?
There are three different types of seaweed that we will look at here, which are more commonly used in food that you might first think. These include:
- Nori, and
- Irish Sea Moss
Many people are familiar with Wakame, which is made from Undaria Pinnatifida. This is used to make Miso Soup.
The species of seaweed used to make Nori includes Pyropia Yezoensis and Pyropia tenera. Nori is the seaweed used to make Sushi rolls that you are probably vert familiar with. It is also used to make seaweed chips, or is sprinkled over salads.
Irish Sea Moss, known as Chondrus Crispus, has long been used in foods as a thickener. It was the substance later identified as Carrageenan that was the active agent in this process. Over more recent years, there have been other species of seaweed that contain Carrageenan which have been highly processed to extract the Carrageenan. As a result, Irish Sea Moss has been used less and less for this commercial purpose and is now being used as a wholefood vegan gelatin substitute. Being a great source of collagen, Sea Moss can also be applied topically to the skin to absorb the collagen.
Seaweed has been used for centuries for both food and medicinal purposes. It has been long believed that it possesses anti-ageing properties, and helps to maintain good health. As more and more research has been done on various types of seaweed over the years, we have come to discover the abundance of antioxidants in many seaweeds.
There have also been some amazing findings on the natural anti-inflammatory properties from seaweed. And more recently, the identification of growth regulators with stimulants that support the immune system.
What are the health benefits of dried seaweed?
Scientists have studied the two main varieties of seaweed, being commonly grouped as brown and green species. They have found that there are 118 micronutrient elements found in seaweed. This varies slightly depending on the species. The health benefits of dried seaweed also vary depending on the species, but generally have been found to contain many vitamins and minerals, including, but not limited to:
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B
- Polysaccharides (glycans)
- Omega 3 fatty acids
- Potassium, and
These vitamins and minerals help the body function effectively and provide a much needed basis of balance to our wellbeing, both physical and mental. It is important to remember that food and mood are connected. So how do these play a part? Let’s ta a quick look…
Zinc is a very important mineral required for healthy boldly functions. Zinc helps to:
- Regulate the immune function
- Support memory and learning
- Heal wounds
- Reduce age-related health risks and chronic disease, and
- Treat colds
Iron does a lot to keep us well and plays an important part in:
- Strengthening the immune system
- Assisting with cognitive function, and
- Has been relied upon medically for the treatment of anemia
Iodine is often underrated when you speak with people. As a fundamental mineral, Iodine help to:
- Supports healthy thyroid function, and
- Prevent hair loss, hair fall and thinning hair
Thyroid hormones have an important role to play in how our bodies function, including:
- Supporting the central nervous system
- Supporting immune response
- Balancing metabolism
- Maintaining bone health
- Cleaning and repairing damaged cells, and
- Supporting the development of an unborn fetus
Vitamin K is important for keeping many parts of your health in check. Typically, this is not one of the first vitamins that come to mind for most people. Vitamin K helps to:
- Support bone health
- Reduce the risk of heart disease
- Reduce the risk of type II Diabetes
- Reduce the risk of cancer
- Prevent Metabolic Syndrome, and
- Reduce calcification of the arteries
Vitamin B helps the body in many ways. As a widely known vitamin, the benefits of ensuring you have sufficient Vitamin B in your diet includes:
- Boosting the Immune System
- Relief from PMS symptoms
- Supporting the nervous system
- Helping with the development of healthy skin, and
- Helping with the development of strong nails
Polysaccharides, or glycans, are carbohydrates which help with a range of functions. As mentioned earlier in this article, there are strong connections between food and mood. Polysaccharides play a key function with improving mental health and also support:
- Gut health, and
- Support the storing of energy
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are widely understood to support good health and effective boldly function. They are essential for:
- Supporting a healthy heart
- Providing the basis for effective brain function, and
- Promoting healthy skin, and hair
Omega 3 fatty acids are also used as an anti-inflammatory, and they are used to prevent and treat arthritis symptoms.
Potassium helps the body to maintain a healthy and consistent blood pressure. This subsequently reduces the risk of heart disease. Potassium has been known to help the body remove excess sodium.
Protein is critical to healthy bodily functions and processes and supports almost all of the cells in the body, including:
- Skin, and
Is dried seaweed healthy?
Based on the information we have explored here, it’s safe to say that the benefits of dried seaweed being a part of your diet puts seaweed in a light where it is healthy. Seaweed contains many more nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that haven’t been listed above. Some species of seaweed have over 100 different vitamins and minerals cleverly packaged into them as a wholefood. So, depending on which type of seaweed you choose to consume, the benefits will vary.
It is widely understood that people from various Asian and Atlantic countries have been aware of the benefits of seaweed for centuries. Today, it is so easy to see how seaweed is commonly used in Japanese dishes like sushi.
In case you’re wondering if it is healthy to eat sushi, rest assured. Like all things it is good for you in moderation. Sushi is a healthy comfort food which is low in fat and calories, and high protein and nutritional value.
Why choose dried seaweed over roasted seaweed?
When Seaweeds have been dried in the sun, it retains many of its nutritional benefits.
Did you know that the sun has the ability to add vitamin D to the Seaweeds during the drying process?
Once seaweed has been roasted, using intense heat from an oven or fire, many of the nutritional benefits within the seaweed have been diminished. All the nutritional benefits have effectively been cooked out.
Many raw foodists would agree that once any living organism has been cooked above 118ºF (or 48°C) the food is dead, and no longer has any real nutritional value. This is why it’s always better to look for a supplier that has sun dried seaweed.
How does your body get the benefits of dried seaweed?
Consuming dried seaweed is quite easy to do. Seaweed may be added to recipes like salads, miso soup, sushi and smoothies. If you use Irish Sea Moss, this has many uses from topical application to adding the gel to a variety of recipes like soups, gravies, ice creams, and smoothies. The list could go on and on.
Irish Sea Moss, unlike other sea vegetables, has virtually no flavor. You can add Sea Moss to any number of savory or sweet food dishes. It will take on those flavors that are in the dish normally, and will not make it taste or smell fishy.
Irish Sea Moss is very versatile. It is usually sun-dried with sea salt. The dried seaweed has a long shelf life, typically it can be stored for as long as two years. When you’re ready to use it, wash it and then soak it in water for several hours. Be sure to rinse it thoroughly as it will have grit, sand, and salt stuck to it. The seaweed can then be blended into a paste. The more water you use, the thinner the gel will be.
Topical Application of Irish Sea Moss
One of the things I love about Irish Sea Moss is the texture. When I apply the gel to my skin, is spreads easily and a little goes a long way. It feels like a gel and is very smooth and creamy.
As the gel dries on the skin, it feels like there is a little tightness that happens, but it’s not uncomfortable. I don’t need to add creams over the top. The naturally occurring collagen is then able to be absorbed into the skin.
You could add essential oils if you want to get additional benefits from them. For example if you want to reduce acne, add:
- Melaleuca (tea tree)
- Helichrysum, or
- Cedarwood essential oils
This will reduce acne and improve the appearance of aging.
Along with the highlighted benefits of dried seaweed, or sea vegetables, they don’t contain any animal products, so they are a very versatile product to add to any Vegan meals. There is also no need to cook the Irish Sea Moss, which makes it perfect for raw foodists. There is no limit to whom this amazing sea vegetable will benefit.
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