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That green stuff that tangles around your legs when you’re swimming in the ocean is actually a nutritious superfood that is rich in vitamins and minerals. Sushi often contains seaweed, but there are a number of different ways to incorporate seaweed into your diet AND your skincare routine. There are many seaweed benefits for whole body health!
Oceans cover 70 percent of our planet and are chock full of all kinds of holistic wonders. Seaweed is a plant-like algae that absorbs the organic nutrients from the ocean’s seabed. It is a food source for many of the organisms that live in the sea. The colorful sea vegetable comes in red, brown, green and even black, depending on the type. It grows on the rocky ocean shores of Japan, China and other Asian countries.
Before it became popular in mainstream diets, seaweed was a staple of plant-based vegan diets due to its antioxidants and amino acids. Seaweed offers a unique texture and taste to any soup or salad recipe. The wakame type of seaweed has few calories and many essential nutrients. Akame has been used in healthy diets and medicines for centuries in Eastern countries. Read on to find out more of the multitude of health benefits seaweed offers the body, internally and externally.
Is Seaweed Healthy to Eat?
Seaweed is rich in minerals such as iodine, calcium and iron. It also contains a significant level of soluble fiber that helps keep your digestive system regular, while also controlling the body’s blood sugar level.
There are several different types of seaweed that are healthy to eat. The seaweed is typically identified by its pigment (color.) Green seaweed is sold under the names of sea lettuce or sea grapes. Wakame is one of the brown type of seaweed often found in miso soup. One type of red seaweed, nori, is popular in sushi. The blue-green variety is called chlorella and spirulina.
Dried seaweed is the most popular texture of seaweed to eat. If you’re using it at home, the dried seaweed should be soaked in water and rinsed before adding to the dish. It can also be sliced or boiled. Seaweed can be added to salads and soups or some types can be eaten directly from a snack-sized back.
Despite all it’s healthy vitamins and minerals, seaweed contains high levels of sodium and iodine. For that reason, seaweed should be consumed in moderation. Too much sodium can result in high blood pressure and other heart problems. The body uses iodine to regulate the thyroid gland and control metabolism. Too much of either can cause damage to your body.
Top 7 Benefits of Eating Seaweed
The red, green or brown algae known as seaweed is rich in vitamins, minerals and more. The nutrients found in seaweed can help the body fight against heart problems and even cancer. While too much of any food poses potential problems, adding small amounts of seaweed to your diet can have amazing effects on your health.
Here are 7 surprising health benefits found in seaweed:
Seaweed is extremely rich in iodine. Iodine helps the body produce thyroid hormones. When the body is low on iodine, your metabolism is slowed and instead of using food as energy, it stores it as fat. This can cause weight gain.
Therefore, increasing your iodine intake with seaweed can speed up your metabolism and help prevent thyroid problems. Seaweed contains polyphenols, which is thought to help prevent cancer.
Supports Immune System
Antioxidants are nutrients that help prevent cell damage in the body. Seaweed benefits include immune-boosting antioxidants. The vitamins and minerals found in seaweed have anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce your risk of digestive problems, diabetes and other chronic diseases.
Helps Heart Health
The fiber found in seaweed is better for more than just regulating your digestive system. It can also regulate the body’s blood sugar levels. Improving blood sugar is a great step in preventing heart disease and increasing your overall heart health.
Seaweed has been used in holistic medicine for centuries. It is used externally in face masks, body wraps and many other skincare products. Seaweed contains many minerals, such as calcium, iron and potassium, that work together to remove toxins from the body and keep the skin hydrated.
When applied topically to the skin, seaweed reduces inflammation caused by acne. The vitamin C found in seaweed helps increase collagen production. As we age, the body slows the collagen production, which is why our skin wrinkles and sags. Improved collagen production can help reduce aging fine lines and wrinkles caused by sun damage from forming on the skin.
Fiber helps the body’s digestive system break down the food we eat. Fiber, of course, can be found in all plants and many other types of food. However, seaweed also has special carbohydrates that contain digestive enzymes for digestion. These enzymes aren’t naturally found in our guts, so eating seaweed allows us to digest better.
Not all types of bacteria are harmful. In fact, our guts have healthy bacteria that help digestion. Even bacteria needs to be fed and that’s where prebiotics come in. The prebiotics found in seaweed help increase the healthy gut bacteria while preventing the harmful type of bacteria from growing.
Helps Weight Loss
The fiber found in seaweed can help trick your stomach into feeling fuller on less food. This helps prevent you from overeating and risking obesity. Seaweed also contains a compound that stops the fat from being digested by the stomach. More studies need to be completed, but experts believe that might cause the body to absorb less fat. However, our body does need to digest some fat to help our metabolism. Whether seaweed actually helps weight loss or not, it provides a healthy alternative to add to your meals.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Seaweed contains more nutrients than vegetables that are found on land. It contains many vitamins and minerals, including calcium and iodine.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that we need in our diets to help prevent diseases. However, it can be difficult for vegans and other people on plant-based diets to find a good source for the omega-3 nutrients. Seaweed and algae oil are two ways vegans can get the necessary healthy fatty acids without compromising their diets.
Can You Eat Too Much Seaweed?
Seaweed is a great source of essential nutrients, but it is also high in iodine and sodium. Both iodine and sodium are okay in moderation, but too much of either can cause health problems.
For some people, too much iodine can cause the thyroid to stop functioning correctly. Seaweed can be combined with broccoli, cabbage and other vegetables that prevent the thyroid gland from getting too much iodine.
Seaweed is also high in potassium, which can result in kidney problems. Sometimes our kidneys can’t release the unnecessary potassium from our bodies, which results in nausea and more severe problems. People who are on blood thinners are especially at risk, as vitamin K can cause the blood thinners to be less effective.
If you add seaweed to your diet, experts recommend no more than 3 milligrams consumed during one day.
What Does Seaweed do for Your Skin?
Seaweed benefits have been used in spa treatments for years. Seaweed body wraps and seaweed baths have been popular therapeutic treatments for relaxation and detoxification purposes.
All of the vitamins, minerals and fatty acids found in seaweed that help our internal health have the same benefits when applied directly to the skin.
Some of the skin benefits found in seaweed include:
When applied to the body, seaweed can work as an exfoliator to slough off dead skin cells. Once the dead skin cells are removed, that allows fresh, new skin to replace it. Seaweed can also bring out harmful toxins from the skin while relieving aches and pains.
The vitamins, amino acids and other particles found in seaweed can act as a moisturizer. The natural ingredients also repel environmental pollutants that your skin is exposed to throughout the day. Many of the vitamins and minerals, including the antioxidants, in seaweed help slow down the aging process of the skin and leave you with a youthful and renewed appearance.
Increases Blood Flow
Seaweed contains phytonutrients that increase blood flow. An elevated blood flow can help your skin glow. Removing toxins from the body with a seaweed cleanse can clear clogged pores, which makes your complexion clearer and brighter.
Soothes Irritated Skin
The antioxidants found in seaweed include anti-inflammatory properties. Anti-inflammatories prevent skin rashes and acne outbreaks. Once the toxins are removed from the skin’s pores, your risk of acne drastically increases, as acne is often caused by clogged pores.
Is Seaweed Good for Your Kidneys?
Too much seaweed can be harmful to your kidneys, as it contains too much potassium. However, in moderation, seaweed is very good for flushing toxins from your kidneys. The kidneys are responsible for removing waste from the blood.
Seaweed helps your kidneys detoxify and balance the fluids in your body, which improved circulation. Foods that are high in antioxidants, which are found in seaweed, are really good for your kidney health. Seaweed is considered a superfood because it is so rich in nutrients and vitamins while containing a low amount of carbs.
Adding seaweed to your diet will improve your skin and your internal organs. Improved digestion and clean kidneys are just two of the benefits to consuming seaweed regularly.