Health from the Sea: the Benefits of Seaweed

Regarded as a superfood, seaweed has long been a diet staple in many parts of the world. Especially in Japan, China, and Korea. Thankfully it is now popularly enjoyed in the West. There are thousands of varieties of seafood. The most commonly eaten varieties include nori, wakame, kelp, dulse, spirulina, and arame. Seaweed offers a myriad of health benefits that are too good to ignore. Think about your diet and how you can include more seaweed in your weekly meals to enjoy these benefits. Seaweed has been a feature of folk medicine for centuries. Fantastically it appears that there are some very good reasons why.

Help for Digestion

Many species of seaweed are well-known for their digestive health properties. Seaweed prompts the release of enzymes that promote nutrient absorption. These enzymes also promote fat metabolism. Seaweed also enhances the work of good gut bacteria while it guards against the effects of harmful bacteria. There are many ways to incorporate seaweed into your diet. From salads to sushi rolls, seaweed makes for a delicious ingredient to enhance your dishes. If you have occasional bouts of indigestion, consider eating seaweed on a weekly basis. It will help to keep your digestive tract working optimally.

Detox Your Body Clean

Keeping your body clean and pure is a priority in our toxic-prone environments. Many of the foods we eat can have a toxic effect on our bodies. Seaweed has natural detoxification properties that can cleanse the body of this toxic waste before it is stored in our bodies. Green seaweed is a potent cleanser that uses its chlorophyll to bind unwanted toxins. It flushes these toxins from our systems through the digestive process. Add some seaweed into your lunch wrap to benefit from its cleansing properties.

Fight Cold and Flu Viruses

It’s always a great idea to add seaweed to your diet. You should certainly ramp up your intake of this marine plant during cold and flu season. Seaweed features powerful anti-viral properties that have been shown to guard against the influenza B virus. Seaweed has the ability to prevent cells from becoming infected by some viruses. Because seaweed is so readily available at many supermarkets and specialty markets today, it’s quite easy to find and add to your weekly diet.

Protect Your Skin

Seaweed boasts a myriad of nutrients, amino acids, and antioxidants that are associated with skin health and beauty. The skin is constantly plagued by harmful environmental effects that can speed up the skin’s aging process and detract from its health. Research suggests that seaweed has a revitalizing effect on the skin because of its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to induce blood flow to the skin. Many people in countries like Ireland have long used seaweed wraps to keep the skin clean, moisture-rich, and rejuvenated. You can enjoy benefits for your skin by eating seaweed or using skin creams and wraps made from seaweed.

Healthy for Your Heart

Enhance your heart-healthy diet with seaweed to enjoy more protection against heart disease. Seaweed is known to reduce levels of triglycerides and bad LDL cholesterol. When triglycerides and LDL cholesterol are high, there is an increased risk for the development of heart disease like atherosclerosis and even heart failure. LDL cholesterol can cause the blood vessels to narrow with clogging plaque that can disrupt the smooth flow of blood. To add more heart-healthy seaweed to your diet, enjoy more seaweed salads, soups that contain seaweed, or even crackers made from roasted seaweed.

Enhance Thyroid Function

The thyroid is essential for its regulation of hormones. These hormones not only help keep our moods stable; they regulate our energy levels. An iodine deficiency can lead to thyroid dysfunction. By eating more seaweed such as kelp, we can guard against that iodine deficiency. If you suspect that you have a thyroid problem, you should definitely consult your doctor, but by eating certain types of seaweed on a regular basis, you can protect your thyroid and ensure that it has the nutrients it needs to function properly.

Guard against Cancer

Rich in antioxidants, seaweed can help prevent the development of some cancers. Studies have shown that some seaweed is rich in compounds that can actually block certain types of cancer cells from developing. Additionally, seaweed has tons of vitamin C and disease-fighting antioxidants, which fight against cancer. Researchers believe that the reason why many cancers are rare in some Asian countries like Japan is that their diet is so rich in seaweed.

Improve Muscle Strength

To improve muscle strength and endurance, consider adding more seaweed to your diet. While exercise is important to our health, it can lead to considerable oxidative stress for our muscles. Seaweed contains compounds that can guard against this oxidative stress that can lead to muscle damage and fatigue. Rich in antioxidants, seaweed is a superfood that can benefit athletes but also older adults who may be more vulnerable to muscle fatigue.

Blood Sugar Regulation

Some types of seaweed can be as effective at blood sugar regulation as medications. Studies have shown that marine plants like spirulina can even reduce blood sugar levels. Some research even suggests that seaweed can actually lower the risk for type 2 diabetes. When crafting your healthy diet, be sure to add seaweed to your shopping list and try seaweed-laden dishes like salmon sashimi with seaweed salad, vegetable stir fry with seaweed, and even seaweed quesadillas.

Lose Weight

Low in calories, seaweed is a smart option for dieters, but it’s not only it’s caloric content that can promote weight loss. Seaweed contains fucoxanthin, which can effectively boost metabolism and reduce fat. Many people around the world love the taste of seaweed, but even if you don’t, you can add small portions to your vegetable soup or quinoa salad where you can easily mask its taste but still enjoy its incredibly healthy benefits.