Normally found in salad or dried paper-like form, seaweed ranges in color, taste, and texture. These sea vegetables are forms of algae that grow in a variety of colors and provide nutrients to marine life. Once harvested, however, seaweed turns into a nutritional powerhouse for people as well.
Below are 5 healthy benefits to eating seaweed.
1. Supports Thyroid Function
Your thyroid needs iodine in order to make hormones, repair damaged cells, and support energy production. When your diet lacks iodine, you will notice fluctuations in weight, fatigue, and even swelling around the neck. It is recommended to ingest 150 mcg per day of iodine.
This is where seaweed comes in. While iodine content does vary depending on the seaweed type, it is known to absorb concentrated amounts of iodine from the ocean and deliver them straight into your bloodstream. Before consuming seaweed, check to see how much iodine it contains and then gauge how much you should consume.
2. Provides a Good Source of Vitamins and Minerals
Seaweed boasts valuable amounts of riboflavin, thiamin, iron, manganese, copper, folate, zinc, sodium, calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. All in one small sea vegetable! Dried green and purple seaweed are also known to contain a healthy amount of omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamin B12.
Munch on this dried seaweed snack by itself or crumble it on top of a sandwich or salad. If you do not like the taste of seaweed, you will be glad to know that it also comes in pill and powder form, such as spirulina and chlorella, and contains the full spectrum of amino acids. Power this seaweed powder down in smoothies for a hidden, easy way to boost your daily vitamin and mineral intake.
Here is one of my favorite spirulina brands.
3. Contains Antioxidants
Ever heard of free radicals? While normally “free” is a good thing, free radicals are unstable molecules in your body that can damage your organs and lead to several different chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants surge through your body, diminish free radicals, and prevent your body from creating more. Seaweed contains a high amount of antioxidants and builds your body back up to optimal health.
4. Supports Gut Health
Your body contains a large amount of bacteria, both good and bad. Good bacteria, especially in your gut, helps digest and absorb the nutrients in your food. Bad bacteria will prohibit absorption. Seaweed contains high amounts of fiber, which will feed your good bacteria and slow down digestion so that your body can absorb the maximum amount of nutrients.
5. May Aid in Weight Loss
With an excellent source of fiber, seaweed takes a while to digest, which delays your hunger and can reduce your weight. Sometimes containing more fiber than many fruits and vegetables, seaweed contains minimal calories and is a perfect way to snack on something savory while still working towards a thinner waistline.
If I have convinced you to add seaweed to your daily regimen, here is a great savory snack you can stick in your purse and eat on your commute home from work.