Seaweed is a great addition to your diet because of its rich source of iodine. Use this guide to learn about the health benefits of seaweed, seaweed extract, and other forms of this exotic food.
Seaweed is a natural food found in many cultures throughout the world. The many health benefits of this product have helped it to reach superfood status. A variety of different preparation methods and seaweed types allow you to customize both the nutrition and flavor of seaweed offerings.
Brown seaweed is notable for being one of the few natural food sources available that contain iodine, a nutrient that is lacking in many other sources due to farming production methods. Iodine is often supplemented in salt, and eating brown varieties of seaweed can help you cut down on salt while still getting this important nutrient. An iodine deficiency can cause hypothyroidism Arame is a sweet seaweed known for its exceptionally high potassium content.
Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed
Seaweed is a great source of fiber, which aids digestion, keeps bodily functions regular, and helps you to feel full. Alginate, the variety of fiber found in most seaweed varieties, is especially effective at reducing fat absorption. The fiber variety can reduce fat intake by up to 75 percent making it a great weight loss tool, according to scientists at Newcastle University.
Many seaweed varieties can deliver the iodine you need in a single serving, and there are indications that seaweed may also help you fight high cholesterol. Kombu, a popular type of Japanese seaweed, contains a pigment that helps aid metabolism, allowing people to use energy more effectively. This popular product also contains:
- Calcium and protein, which are essential nutrients for bone and muscle health, for more protein try brazil nuts
- Vitamin K and iron, which are very important nutrients to help blood flow and heart health, for more iron try mulberries
- Healthy omega-3 fatty acids, allowing you to use it in place of fish or other oils as part of a nutritious diet.
For more nutritious superfoods checkout our 50 Best Superfoods of 2015
Benefits of Seaweed for Skin
The high-fiber content of seaweed makes it a great choice for those looking to keep their skin clear of blemishes and rashes. High-fiber foods can help prevent the expunging of toxins through the skin, as toxins secreted through the skin may otherwise create rashes and irritation. Fiber also prevents reabsorption of toxins from the intestine into the liver where they may cause further skin problems.
Benefits of Seaweed Salad
Seaweed salad, typically made of kombu, is a great way to get your daily iodine intake. The salad is regularly served wet and uncooked, or slightly boiled to give it a deep green color, giving you access to all of the many nutrients found in the seaweed itself. This allows for effective delivery of all the nutritional value in a flavorful form. Many recipes for seaweed salad call for fish, fish oil, and sunflower or sesame seeds. These add many essential oils to the mix for an even healthier dining alternative.
Benefits of Dried Seaweed
Dried seaweed is easily portable and an excellent way to get access to foreign varieties. Dried versions of many seaweed products ship more easily without losing much of their nutritional content, and you can quickly and easily rehydrate these by adding them to soups or broths as part of a meal. One of the greatest benefits of dried seaweed is how easily you can shred it into smaller bits. This allows you to add excellent nutrition to almost any dish simply by sprinkling the bits on top. Much like parsley, a little bit goes a long way.
Health Benefits of Roasted Seaweed
Roasted seaweed is typically used as a wrap or in a sandwich combination. Japanese nori, flattened algae sheets roasted in ovens or baked in the hot sun, are typically used for sushi creation and oriental food wraps. Roasted varieties are a great way to introduce iodine without the slimy texture that accompanies many rehydrated or fresh versions of seaweed.
Both roasted and dried seaweed have higher sodium counts due to the removal of water, which can help suspend and draw away salts. This makes them a good choice for getting your daily sodium intake, but those with hypertension or other sodium-related illnesses may need to take care when using these particular varieties and preparation methods. Roasted seaweed also contains vitamins B-6 and B-12, which aid brain functions and metabolism.
Benefits of Seaweed Snacks
The serving size for most seaweed is very small due to its high nutritional content. This means that even small amounts of seaweed can add important nutrients to your diet. Seaweed snacks, notably the seaweed-wrapped crackers and chips available in many Asian nations, deliver excellent nutrition when you are on the go. Additional seaweed snacks include drinks made with the extract of popular seaweed varieties and gummies or cookies that use seaweed as a major flavoring and nutritional additive. The portability of these snacks is their greatest benefit.
Benefits of Seaweed Soap
Seaweed soap may be comprised mainly of extracts or bits of dried seaweed. Many combine a mix of the two to create bars that exfoliate while providing nourishment through contact. Dried seaweed can help strip away dead skin cells as you wash, allowing new cells to grow and giving your skin an excellent luster and shine. The many nutrients available in seaweed soap include vitamins A-1, B-6, B-12, and minerals including potassium and zinc. The combination of both extracts and bits of seaweed in soap allows you to easily enjoy the many benefits of seaweed on your skin. After exfoliating you may want to try moisturizing and repairing the skin with coconut oil.