Most of us have enjoyed some flavorful, sticky sushi over the years, and likely had our first taste of seaweed in doing so. Filled with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, this incredibly powerful food is under-utilized in western diets. You don’t have to spend a fortune in a sushi restaurant every time you want to eat this extremely nutritious food. And you don’t necessarily have to eat it to reap some of its health benefits! Let’s take a look at why you should start including seaweed in your diet.
How Do You Get Seaweed In Your Diet?
The most common form of seaweed that most people recognize is nori, which is what sushi is wrapped in. Nori is lightweight, surprisingly filling, and available at many grocery stores in the Asian foods section. If you are cleansing and want to eat nori, don’t get the roasted nori sheets. Other seaweed options include kombu, spirulina, kelp, kelp noodles, wakame, and arame. You can enhance your smoothies with spirulina, cook legumes in kombu, mix kelp or wakame in soups or salads, or blend some seaweed in a salad dressing instead of salt.
1. Jam-packed with Vitamins and Minerals
Famous for its high levels of iodine, which is important for healthy thyroid function, seaweed is also a great source of calcium, magnesium, protein, vanadium, and vitamins A, C, and K. In case you are wondering about vanadium, it helps the body metabolize carbohydrates, which helps to increase your energy levels.
2. Seaweed May Help Regulate Estrogen And Estradiol Levels
Recent studies suggest that seaweed (particularly brown seaweed) may be excellent for women because it may reduce the risk of breast cancer. It may also increase a woman’s odds of getting pregnant, in addition to reducing symptoms of PMS.
3. Seaweed Helps Prevent Inflammation
Several studies have indicated that seaweed is an extremely powerful source of antioxidants, which can help prevent oxidative damage and inflammation in the body. As a result, seaweed may reduce the risk of celiac disease, asthma, depression, obesity, and arthritis. This has lead many to theorize that consumption of seaweed is at least partially responsible for longevity in many Asian countries.
4. Seaweed Detoxifies From The Inside Out
Seaweed works to remove toxins and fats from the body and also helps to protect the liver from toxic damage. The sodium alginate in kelp also helps absorb toxins from the digestive tract. This is fantastic news for people who smoke cigarettes and those who are exposed to industrial waste.
5. Seaweed Is Full Of Skin-Healthy Minerals
Although people having been enjoying seaweed baths for centuries, it wasn’t until recently that researchers were able to identify more than 50 powerful skin-nourishing compounds. The detoxification properties in mineral-rich seaweed like kelp help to nourish and rejuvenate the skin, fight cellulite, and minimize the visible appearance of wrinkles. In addition to fighting signs of aging, seaweed extracts have been known to minimize pigmentation and blotchiness in the skin, especially in paler skin types.
6. Seaweed Strengthens Hair
Seaweed can help the hair strengthen and rebuild itself. Taking spirulina, for instance, helps to revitalize dry hair and promote thicker, stronger strands. Seaweed-based shampoos and conditioners can also improve the appearance and shine of hair and because of the inherent detoxifying attributes.
7. Seaweed Is A Natural Pick-Me-Up And Tonic
Seaweed-based drinks and soups have been consumed in Ireland and the Caribbean for centuries as all around tonics or as natural energizers. Some claim that kelp can reduce phlegm and swelling, and it is also used as a natural hangover cure in some countries. Brown seaweed may assist the acid-alkaline balance and has a prebiotic effect on the gut flora, which helps protect the gut lining. Seaweed is also used in home remedies to heal digestive problems. Research suggests that brown seaweed may be a good weight management tool as well because of its effects on the activity of lipase, which is an enzyme used by the body to break down fats.