Do you know the benefits of eating seaweed? If not then this article is going to be more informational and beneficial for you. This article is all about the 8 amazing benefits of eating seaweed.
Food is that thing which everyone loves and enjoys. But what to eat or not is very important because this will ultimately be good for a healthy body and mind. A healthy diet is not only good for our physical health but also our mental health. Both are equally important. Therefore you must eat nutritious and healthy food. Nutritious food has so many benefits it also provides energy for the growth and proper functioning of the body.
For those who do not know about seaweed what is it and how it can be good for health benefits? So before going to dive into the list of health benefits of eating seaweed, first know about what is it.
1. What is Seaweed?
Seaweeds are marine algae or plants that grow in the sea. Seaweed belongs to different categories of algae-like red algae, brown algae, or green algae. They occur in groups at the bottom of the sea or river. Some of them also grow near seashores and in shallow water bodies. The variation in the growing location of seaweed will result in the difference in the types of seaweed.
Seaweeds play an important role in the marine ecosystem because most marine species like fish, snails, etc. depend on them for nutritional benefits. As they vary in size, large seaweeds form dense forests at the bottom of the sea which is known as Kelp Forest.
2. Types of Edible seaweeds
We always add plant products to our everyday diet routine in the form of vegetables and fruits. Did you imagine that marine plants are also a good source of nutrients and can be used as edible in diet? If you are not aware that there are a variety of seaweeds out there that we can use as food sources, then here you will get to know. They are healthy and low-calorie-containing food sources mainly used in Korean, Chinese, and Japanese cuisine.
Now many other coastline countries use seaweed as an ingredient in their many dishes because of its nutritional value. There is a variety of dried seaweed snacks available to try. Edible seaweed contains amino acids that give it a salty and savoury taste.
Seaweed is also a good source of minerals and antioxidants. Due to this reason, various types of seaweeds are used in cooking. Let’s see the nine most popular types of edible seaweeds.
This species of seaweed is mainly found in kelp forests. Wakame is a green-coloured sea vegetable slightly sweet in taste and smooth in texture. They are used in Japanese cuisines mainly including miso soup. Wakame known as sea mustard has a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids.
Mozuku is another type of edible seaweed which is used in most Japanese salads and soups with vinegar.
Kombu is largely produced on Jaonn’s largest island, Hokkaido. This type of seaweed is most popular in East Asian cuisine. It is the main ingredient of Kombucha, a Japanese tea. It has so many nutrients like proteins, sodium, potassium, calcium, iodine, vital vitamins, E & K.
It is that seaweed that is used to wrap sushi rolls, one of the popular dishes of Koina and Japan. When it is dried it turns green from a purplish-red color. Once it is dried, it is used to make nori sheets. Nori sheets are used to wrap sushi balls and rice balls. Due to its purplish colour, it is also known as purple laver.
Aonori is a powdered form of nori seaweed used as a condiment for flavouring dishes like Yakisoba.
It is usually used as a side dish and in dried form with soy sauce or mirin. It is a brown-coloured sea vegetable served with fish.
Dulse is harvested in the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans. This seaweed is first harvested in Scotland. It is used in various snacks in Canada. It is the best source of vitamin B12, B6, and dietary fibre.
2.8. Irish moss
Irish moss is found around the Atlantic shorelines of the U.S. and Europe. It is mainly used in desserts and ice creams
2.9. Sea lettuce
It is also known as green nori. It mainly belongs to the genus Ulva.
Due to different varieties of sea vegetables or seaweed, people consume them in various ways to get health benefits.
2. 8 Amazing Health Benefits of Eating Seaweed
Well, the use of seaweed flakes in Korean and Japanese cuisine is quite common. It can be consumed in a cooked state as well as in a raw state. For coastline countries, it is an important food source as it contains minerals, vitamins, thiamin, iron, riboflavin, etc. Let’s see some amazing health benefits of eating seaweed.
3.1. Good For Heart Health
The heart is the pumping organ that transfers blood throughout the body and along with that transport of oxygen also takes place. So, the proper function of our body depends on a healthy heart.
These days the risk of heart disease is very high and the reasons:
- High Cholesterol
- High Blood pressure
- Excessive blood clotting, etc.
In all such conditions, seaweed is a great option to reduce the risk of heart disease. If you want a healthy heart then eat seaweed. This is one of the important benefits of eating seaweed.
3.2. Good For Thyroid Function
Thyroid health is essential for the proper functioning of the body. The Thyroxin hormone secreted by the thyroid gland is responsible for growth, cell functioning, and metabolic activity. All this happens when the required amount of iodine is present in the body.
If by any chance the iodine deficiency occurs in the body, it will directly affect the functioning of the thyroid gland. As iodine deficiency will result in a decrease in the thyroxine hormone.
Sometimes too much iodine is also a point of concern. An excess amount of iodine will cause hyperthyroidism or goitre. Hence, a normal level of iodine, which is 15-20 mg is best for a healthy body. This level is maintained by consuming seaweseaweed
Seaweed is a good source of iodine as they are grown in marine and saltwater habitats from where it absorbs enough amount of salt.
Besides the iodine, seaweed also contains an amino acid called tyrosine, that also important for thyroid health and hormone balance.
3.3. Helpful In Weight Loss
Seaweed contains fibres that make your stomach full and you don’t feel hungry at all. As it does not have calories you don’t get fat after consuming seaweed. For weight loss, calorie-free or deficit food is a must. And seaweed is a good choice for all those who want to reduce calories and maintain their body.
Fibre-rich food reduces the appetite, and your belly feels full. This is because fibres turn into a gel-like structure when it is in water. That gel form does not easily digest and settle down in your gut.
This will increase the digestion and absorption process. Well, this happens only in the case of high viscous fibres because low viscous fibre has no impact on the digestion process.
Many studies have shown that seaweeds have anti-obesity effects because of fucoxanthin. Fucoxanthin is a carotenoid substance that has many important roles including reducing obesity, increasing metabolic activities, and preventing cardiovascular diseases. There is around 0.3-3.7 mg of Fucoxanthin is present per gram of dried seaweed.
3.4. Promotes Gut Health
Did you know that all bacteria are not harmful? Some of them are good for our health and internal organs. Even some of them are used in a variety of food products. The human intestine contains bacteria that are good for the intestine’s health and are known as good gut bacteria. They protect the large intestine from any infections.
Seaweeds promote gut health by providing food to good gut bacteria. But how can seaweeds help in it? The reason is that they contain sulfated polysaccharides which are responsible for the growth of gut bacteria.
Sulfated polysaccharides are not only good for gut bacteria but also for the gut cells. It provides them with nourishment and support. In this way, seaweed is essential for a good healthy gut.
3.5. Beneficial For Cancer Prevention
Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells. It starts from a particular part of the body then and spreads to the whole body and damages other cells. Much research and tests have been done on the positive ways of cancer. And it is found that there is some natural compound that can prevent the growth of cancerous cells.
For example, lycopene, genistein, brassinin, indole-3-carbinol, and sulforaphane are some of the natural compounds present in fruits and vegetables.
Research has shown that seaweeds also play a key role in the prevention of cancer. It has fucoidans which help in cancer prevention. This is the only reason to consider seaweed as a good source for cancer treatment.
The other reason is it also has beta-carotene, which is another compound having cancer-preventing qualities. Due to all these reasons, cancer patients are using seaweed in their diet.
3.6. Rich Source of Minerals and Vitamins
Well, there is no doubt that seaweed is a full pack of nutrients. It has a variety of nutrients and minerals that are essential for good health. It also contains polyunsaturated fatty acids, fibres, carbohydrates, protein, etc. Despite these, it also has iron, iodine, and vital vitamins, C, & E. You can get these benefits only by adding or sprinkling them on your food dishes.
It not only adds nutrients to your diet but also enhances the taste and texture of your food. Salads and smoothies are the best options in which you can easily add seaweed and increase the nutrients.
Spirulina and chlorella are the best examples of seaweed that is rich in protein content. It is observed that dried seaweed contains a good amount of vitamin B12 which is good for our blood and nerve cells’ health.
3.7. Maintains Blood Sugar Level
For diabetic patients, seaweed flakes or powder is good to add to their food. Seaweed is rich in fibre and fibre helps in the regulation of blood sugar and insulin levels.
Hence, eating roasted seaweed will be good for improving blood sugar control. This has also proven that seaweed is good for type 2 diabetes, from done in 2018. That shows seaweed can stabilize blood sugar levels and even the risk of diabetes.
3.8. Protect Body Cells From Damage
This is one of the last benefits of eating seaweed which is protecting body cells from damage. Antioxidants are very important because they protect body cells from free radicals. Seaweeds are a good source of antioxidants including vitamins C and E and carotenoids.
That’s why health should consume seaweed. If the excess of free radicals accumulates in the body, they will affect body functioning and cause various serious problems. Antioxidants are helpful for the neutralization of free radicals so, that they do not damage our cells.
So, these are the health benefits of eating seaweed that you will gain only after adding seaweed to your diet routine.
4. Are There Any Side Effects of Seaweed?
Besides the benefits of eating seaweed, there are some side effects of eating seaweed. Well, there is no severe side effect of eating seaweed but you should not have to consume it on a daily basis. As it is rich in iodine, this may cause problems for the person who is sensitive to iodine. In those people, this may lead to some allergies. Hence, always make sure that you consume a sufficient amount of sea vegetables as per your body’s requirements.
A study shows that seaweeds also contain some amount of heavy metals that are not good for health. The quality of seaweed defines the number of heavy metals it contains. Good quality seaweed does not contain a high amount of seaweed. That’s why always try to consume only organic and good quality seaweeds so that there is minimum risk of accumulation of toxic heavy metals.
5. In The End
I hope you will get an idea about seaweed and the benefits of eating seaweed. Now, what are you waiting for? Try out some of the Asian cuisines that contain seaweed but make sure that you don’t have any allergy to it. You can also take your doctor’s consult.
Did you try Korean Sushi rolls or not? If you are planning to visit Korea, Japan, or China then never forget to try Sushi rolls. Tell us in the comment section.
You should also check the side effects of seaweed. Click here.
6. Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Is It Good to Eat Seaweed Every Day?
“They contain a lot of iodine and people are advised not to drink it more than 3 times a week. “As there are certain elements in seaweed that can interact with many medications, consult your doctor or have a blood test before eating if you have thyroid disease.
Q2. Is Dried Seaweed Good for You?
Seaweed is a popular ingredient in cuisines around the world. It is an excellent source of iodine, which helps support your thyroid. It also contains antioxidants that help protect cells from damage, along with other vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, B vitamins, zinc and iron.
Q3. What Is the Healthiest Seaweed to Eat?
Wakame: Super Seaweed Fights Diabetes and Cancer