8 Amazing Health benefits of seaweed
Seaweed is a species of marine algae and plants that grows in different kinds of water bodies such as lakes, seas, and oceans. There are different types of seaweed available in nature such as red, green, black, brown, etc. Seaweed is found mostly at seashores and most commonly in Asiatic regions. It is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and oxidants. Doesn’t matter whether you cook it or eat it raw; seaweed is going to benefit you a lot.
Types of seaweed
There are many types of seaweed, some are edible and some are not edible. Below is the list of types of seaweed:
Seaweed is very good for your health, you can consume as much as you want but with some precautions. Although seaweed has many health benefits still some people should avoid eating seaweed. We will discuss the precautions later in this article.
Nutritional value of seaweed
The nutritional value of seaweed can vary from place to place where it has grown. Therefore, different types of seaweed will have different nutritional values.
In general, 100gms of seaweed can provide you following nutrients
- Manganese: 10–70% of the RDI
- Iodine: 1–65% of the RDI
- Sodium: 10–70% of the RDI
- Calcium: 15–60% of the RDI
- Folate: 45–50% of the RDI
- Fat: 1 gram
- Fiber: 14–35% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 27–180% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 7–80% of the RDI
- Potassium: 1–45% of the RDI
- Iron: 3–20% of the RDI
- Copper: 6–15% of the RDI
- Carbs: 10 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Calories: 45
Smaller amounts of Omega 3 & Omega 6 fatty acids, Vitamin A, C & E, and Phosphorus, etc are also present in seaweed.
Benefits of Eating of Seaweed:
Seaweed has lot many health benefits as you can see from its high nutrition value. Following are the different health benefits of consuming Seaweed:-
1. Stabilization of Blood Sugar-
According to some research, it has been found that consuming seaweed can reduce the risk of developing diabetes. The fiber present in seaweed can slow down the rate of absorption of carbohydrates from your meals. This results in the stabilization of blood sugar in your body.
Furthermore, seaweed contains antioxidant named fucoxanthin that can reduce insulin resistance in your body. In a nutshell, seaweed can help you in increasing insulin sensitivity and stabilize blood sugar levels.
2. Strengthening the immune system-
Due to its richness of antioxidants and anti-allergic disease-preventing properties, seaweed can protect you from many types of infections.
3. Weight Management-
Adding Seaweed to your daily diet can enhance the levels of leptin which is a weight-reducing hormone. Seaweed is rich in fiber, hence it increases the feelings of fullness and decreases hunger. Also, it contains fucoidan that motivates fat breakdown.
Seaweed can be a great low-calorie snack that can be added to your daily life. It is beneficial for those who are struggling to reduce their weight and are looking for a healthy and low-calorie diet.
4. Improves Digestion-
Seaweed contains some essential prebiotics such as fucoidans, carrageenans, and agars that can help in improving digestion. This prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that feed the beneficial bacteria in your stomach. Taking seaweed supplements can increase the number of good bacteria in the gut. Ultimately, the harmful bacteria in the gut will reduce & which will result in a good and healthy digestive system.
In addition, seaweed also shows anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects on the gut.
5. Improves Thyroid function-
The thyroid plays an important role in the functioning of the body and the regulation of metabolism. It requires a good amount of iodine to function properly otherwise it can lead to deficiency diseases such as goiter. Most seaweed varieties are rich in iodine and they can easily fulfill the daily requirements of iodine for your body
6. Improves Heart Health-
Seaweed is a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids that are very beneficial for cardiac health. It helps in reducing LDL (Low-density lipoprotein) and total cholesterol levels. Seaweed contains sulfated polysaccharides that reduce blood pressure and prevents blood clotting.
7. Reduces the risk of cancer-
It can prevent your body from certain types of cancers. Seaweed helps in decreasing estrogen levels that reduces the chances of breast cancer in females. Some varieties of seaweed also help in the spread of cancer cells.
Although, more studies are required before concluding but still adding seaweed to your diet in moderate quantity will not harm you.
8. Skin damage-
Seaweed can also protect your skin from the ultraviolet rays of the sun.
Edible vs. Non-edible seaweeds
Most of the seaweeds are edible seaweeds and they can be found easily in oceans or marine environments. Some people harvest them in saltwater tanks and garden plots at the sea. Edible seaweed is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that are very beneficial for our health. We have already discussed the benefits of having seaweed in our daily diet. Some popular edible seaweeds are: – Kombu, Wakame, Nori, Dulse, Irish, moss, Sea lettuce, Hijiki, etc.
On the other hand, Non-edible seaweed consists of carbohydrates that cannot be digested. Currently, there are no known poisonous or toxic seaweeds in existence but there are few seaweeds that are acidic. These acids would not harm your stomach but can lead to mild indigestion.
- Seaweeds are rich in Vitamin K that can interfere with blood-thinning medicines. Those who are diabetic should consult a doctor before adding it to the diet.
- Avoid eating the seaweed that is found on the shoreline as it may be rotting.
- Seaweed found in contaminated water should be avoided as they may contain some heavy metals such as aluminum, arsenic, rubidium, silicon, tin, and so on. Make sure to check the habitat of the seaweed before eating it
- Some varieties of seaweed contain a high level of iodine that can lead to iodine toxicity. Kombu, Kelp, and dulse may contain 22 times more iodine than the daily safe limit. You can eat them after boiling at a high temperature; it will evaporate 95-99% iodine. Also, boiling can remove arsenic from seaweed.
Seaweed is a rich source of nutrition and can provide you many health benefits. But excess of anything can be poison. Make sure to go through these precautions and if you have any kind of chronic illness then consult your local physician before adding it to your diet.
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