Seaweed is fat free and has many health benefits. It’s loaded with antibiotic properties, helps counteract obesity, strengthens bones and teeth, and aids in the digestion process. Seaweed also strengthens the kidneys and nervous system, and helps reduce cholesterol. Sea vegetables or seaweed are the most nutritious Foods, higher in vitamins and minerals than all other vegetables, and are excellent sources of calcium.The seaweed plant is rich in vitamins and minerals that also include calcium, Sodium, Magnesium, potassium, iodine, iron and zinc. These are the edible ocean plants. They have Vitamins such as Vitamins C, niacin, B1, B2, B6 and B12.
Common Types of Seaweed Available:
Wakame– long hard strips that can be softened with water.
Dulse– a soft chewy, dried whole leaf of a reddish colour or flakes for seasoning.
Nori– this seaweed is well-known in sushi and is dark purple or green coloured sheets.
Kelp– popular as a health supplement. Kelp is light brown in colour and usually available as flakes or in powder form.
Arame– comes in a lacy, wiry form and is sweet and mild in taste.
Top 13 Health Benefits Of Seaweed:
- Rich Source of Iodine- Seaweeds are a rich source of iodine. The thyroid gland needs iodine to make the hormones that regulate body metabolism and regulate many other bodily functions; a goiter, marked by an enlarged thyroid is a sign of iodine deficiency.
- Protection Against Cancer– sea vegetables contain large amounts of lignans which are plant compounds that protect against cancers of all kind.
- Used In Face Packs- Seaweed has the ability to react with protein to form a gel which has a pronounced moisturising effect on the skin, softens the hands and body, and produces soothing face packs or masks. It has been known for a long time that seaweed is an emollient with smoothing, tissue renewal and anti-inflammatory properties that can have a positive effect on problems such as facial wrinkles. It acts as a moisturiser by its hydrating and protective action of forming a layer on the skin that reduces loss of skin moisture through evaporation.
- Support Healthy Thyroid Function– low thyroid function is often related to the lack of iodine. Kelp is the richest source of iodine which is the component of the thyroid hormones thyroxine and triidithyronine. Kelp can help to regulate proper thyroid function.
- Source of Calcium– 1 teaspoon of kelp mixed in a glass of water contains 1000 times more calcium than a glass of milk.
- Blood-Thinning Benefits- In test-tube research, scientists have found that fucoidan may possess anti-coagulant (blood-thinning) properties. Although these findings indicate that brown seaweed may help prevent blood-clotting, there are no human studies available to support brown seaweed’s use as an anticoagulant.
- Anti Aging- Natural anti-ageing and anti-cellulite properties. It can improve suppleness and the elasticity of the skin. It can stimulate the renewal of damaged skin cells. It can detoxify and cleanse, tone the skin, naturally smoothed and moisturises the skin.
- Protects Against Birth Defects And Cardiovascular Disease– Ocean vegetables contain folic acid which is important for the prevention of birth defects and spina bifida. Folic acid is also known to break down homocysteine which helps to reduce high blood pressure and protect against Heart disease.
- Preserves Good Eyesight– Sea vegetables are the leading sources of natural carotenes like Vitamin A (beta carotene) and bioflavonoids – antioxidants that help clear up the cellular debris that accumulate in the eyes. Bioflavonoids for one, works with prolonging Vitamin C action in the eyes, which help prevent swelling and inflammation of ocular tissues. Vitamins A and C keep vision 20/20 and help prevent “dry eye” syndrome.
- Skin Problems- Seaweed has been used as an effective treatment for conditions like Psoriasis, Eczema, Dermatitis and Acne. Certain seaweed species have been used in China for the treatment of cancer. Research has indicated cancerous tumours seem to be inhibited by long-chained polysaccharides found in seaweeds.
- Anti-inflammatory– high Magnesium levels present in seaweed act as a natural relaxant and anti-inflammatory.
- Relief of Menopause Symptoms– Lignans are found in seaweed and act as a weak oestrogen and along with Magnesium may help to restore normal sleep patterns and reduce hot flushes.
- Weight Control- Seaweed is a “free food” when it comes to weight control because it provides only 5 to 20 calories in a serving and contains virtually no fat. Its fiber content also contributes to a feeling of satiety, or fullness when eaten in a meal. Japanese researchers at Hokkaido University have discovered that a substance in brown seaweeds called fucoxanthin helps reduce the accumulation of fat in the body cells of laboratory animals–although there is no evidence that these results carry over to humans.