Cutting to the chase: When you make changes to you diet and introduce wholefoods you’ll notice progressive, leading in to dramatic changes. When you eat seaweed, benefits to your health could include:
- Improving thyroid functioning
- Decreasing fat absorption
- Building stronger blood
- Reducing blood pressure
- Improving heart health
- Supporting younger looking skin
If you’ve been to our website before, you’ll know that we have a seaweed obsession. Here, we have provided a few points on why you should be obsessed too.
The more you look around, the more it send there is a growing trend towards eating healthier. Stars are turning to seaweed as a source of vital nutrients. Notably, Posh Spice and Brittney Spears. But the roll call doesn’t stop there.
We’ve seen how celebrity chefs and social influences have made a stand for healthy food. Jamie Oliver, Curtis Stone, Kate Webster, Gina Homolka, and Jean-Philippe (also known as The Buddhist Chef) just to name a few.
All of them are on their own brand of mission, and seaweed makes an appearance in their foods. Jamie Oliver spoke about how seaweed had become an important part of his diet during an interview on the Radio Times. Speaking of how we should all eat seaweed, benefits mentioned by Oliver included:
It’s (seaweed) like dynamite (with) fiber, nutrients, all the minerals, aids digestion (seaweed is) unbelievable.
Oliver was also quoted as saying that he can see “food becoming our medicine in the future”. This clearly echoes the thoughts of Einstein who had said something similar with regard to the Doctors of the future.
Eating Seaweed Benefits Me How?
To begin with, seaweed is low in calories and carbs. And depending on the type of seaweed, and how it has been processed or prepared, it can make a perfect snack. Also, being an abundant source of minerals and vitamins, the nutritional value is second to none.
The University of New Hampshire’s Commercial Fisheries Specialist, Gabriela Bradt, has said that “Seaweed will save our world”. I do agree with Bradt on this point, but find it difficult to see sustainability in the methodologies she teaches in her foraging workshops.
As I write this article I’m on a bumpy flight to Nah Trang from Hanoi in Vietnam to visit some Seaweed farms. The aim of this trip is to learn more about the current sustainable farming practices being applied in this emerging Vietnamese industry. For more about my views on sustainable harvesting of seaweed and what you should look for, read What To Know Before You Buy Sea Moss.
So back to the point of how eating seaweed benefits you and your health. I’ve put together eight solid reasons to support this super food becoming a part of your diet.
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1. Eating Seaweed is excellent for healthy skin
Being a great way to help your body detox, eating seaweed helps to flush metabolic waste out of your system through the digestive tract.
As an antibacterial, seaweed is great for ‘cleaning house’ so to speak. This takes pressure off the body in other ways. Your body won’t need to purge waste through perspiration and the skin. Your skin cells will be relieved of toxins that can otherwise accumulate and cause them to function poorly.
This means that you are likely to notice a reduction in acne or pimples. You’ll also begin to see that your skin feels firmer and you have less wrinkles and fine lines. The vitamins found in seaweed can include B Group vitamins, which are great for reducing redness and inflammation.
Packed with magnesium, zinc, omega fatty acids, lipids and antioxidants, seaweed is full of the things your skin loves. Seaweed is full of minerals that are in a natural, undefined form, that is great for the skin. Helping with improving skin tone you’ll also find calcium and fluorine.
These help naturally balance the skins moisture levels, and control blotching. Eating seaweed benefits healthier skin, clearly! An insider’s tip; seaweeds like sea moss contain high grade collagen that is able to be assimilated into the human body much more effectively than bovine collagen.
That’s great news for Vegans!
By making sure that you keep your body hydrated you will also help improve your skin health. The minerals in seaweed have a much better effect in the body when you keep your water intake up. Remember; dry skin and dehydration are the root of looking older and developing wrinkles.
Being a natural product, seaweed is typically able to be used by all. However, if you are prone to allergies, it is worth finding out if you can make seaweed a part of your diet by speaking with your Dietitian first.
2. Seaweed has more than a deep dislike for fat
Seaweed, particularly the brown or olive green variety, contain a xanthophyll (a carotenoid; a type of pigment with antioxidant properties) known as fucoxanthin. The chemical formula for fucoxanthin is C42H58O6 with a molecular mass of 658.91 g/mol.
Fucoxanthin’s known history dates back to 1914 where it was first isolated by Willstätter and Page. What this chemical does is it inhibits the body’s ability to absorb fat. Being more water soluble than their chemical counterparts they are able to get to work in the body much quicker.
Although brown and olive-green seaweeds contain fucoxanthin in sufficiently high concentrations they are less preferred in commercial applications compared to Diatoms which can have as much as four times the concentration of fucoxanthin.
Under studies conducted at the University of Michigan there have been results indicating that fucoxanthin inhibits enzymes permit the digestion of fat. There have also been results from similar testing which suggest that it not only causes our bodies to burn fat quicker, but that it also discourages the production of fatty cells to begin with.
Keep in mind that this is a new field of study. The tested depths of this research is not conclusive, however, it certainly sounds very promising.
3. Eating seaweed can save you from a over indulging
As most seaweed is eaten in a dried, or semi-dried state, it has a tendency to re-hydrate once it ends up in your stomach. When you eat seaweed benefits in the are of weigh loss can be supported by this expansion effect.
To some that may sound a bit gross, but when the seaweed re-hydrates it can make you feel like you are full, and as a result, you are less likely to nibble on other foods or over eat. Some seaweeds are partially re-hydrated before being consumed and may have a moisture content of between 30% and 50%.
Those that are served as chips or dried snacks can have as little as 5% moisture content. When you consider the expansion that these would undertake at full re-hydration they can expand by as much as 3 to 4 times in size.
4. Seaweed is a great source of chlorophyll
Chlorophyll is what makes fruits and vegetables green. It is also found in seaweed that has a green color to it. Chlorophyll is a pigment which has been known to control and even suppress feelings of hunger. It is also great for helping to reduce inflammation.
Chlorophyll also supports digestion through supporting greater numbers of good bacteria in the body. Playing a key part in helping the body to detox, or also supports healthy liver function.
Working hand in hand with fucoxanthin, chlorophyll is key to the body digesting and purging fats. The humble green seaweed has taken more of an active role in the wholefoods stable as a result. More and more people are experiencing the positive effects when they eat seaweed, benefiting their health.
5. Eating seaweed benefits thyroid function
Through research we have learned that healthy iodine levels are key to effective thyroid function. How this works is that iodine helps in the regulation of the metabolism via the thyroid.
Seaweed has lots of iodine, but sometimes it can also have too much. The right levels of iodine are important, and we test the iodine levels in our seaweed regularly. In some countries, like Australia, iodine levels that are above 1,000mg per dried kg render the product hazardous. This is well below the known threshold for a maximum safe level, but that’s just how some Regulators and Authorities roll.
For women iodine is commonly stored in the breasts. The larger the woman’s bust the higher her need becomes for more iodine. Depending on who you’re listening to the recommended daily intake (RDI) of iodine for an adult is around 150mcg a day.
Studies suggest that most adults are only getting about 130mcg of iodine per day. That’s another great reason why you should get more seaweed on your plate each day.
6. Seaweed is jam packed with iron
Not only are different species of seaweed a great source of iron, they it can also be high in vitamin C. This is important because vitamin C is key to your body being able to absorb iron.
Green and brown species of seaweed, and other types of algae can contain as much as between 500mg and 3000mg per dried kilo of seaweed. That’s as high as up to 6 times the volume of vitamin C in oranges same weight of oranges!
Ensuring you have an adequate intake of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is key to supporting iron absorption, specifically nonheme iron. Nonheme iron is present in plant based foods. So, with the natural combination of (nonheme) iron and vitamin C in seaweed, this is a natural winning combination.
7. Keep your heart healthy with seaweed
Containing a rich source of polysaccharides, (specifically brown) seaweed is great for heart health. The abundance of present polysaccharides is important for being able to effectively manage cholesterol levels. How polysaccharides support heart health is through improving the lipid profile (TC/HDL ratio).
Testing to date has shown an initial reduction of 16.5% in TC and 33.5% in LDL-C, but there is more testing required to support a conclusive evaluation.
What polysaccharides from brown seaweeds do in this instance are to reduce inflammation and the impact of fatty acids. They support vasodilation and reduce the stickiness of platelets, thus providing healthier blood cells and blood flow.
8. Seaweed is great for regulating your blood pressure
Being a great source of potassium, seaweed helps with the prevention of high blood pressure. What potassium does is to balance out the negative effects of salt in the body. The more potassium in your diet the more sodium you purge through your urine. This is where knowing what you need to maintain a healthy balance becomes important.
As with all of these points covered, when you make changes and eat seaweed, benefits can vary, so consult your Doctor or Dietitian before you put these into practice. What benefits have you experienced from eating seaweed? Share them in the comments below with us.