There are many types of seaweed supplements, so when you hear someone discussing seaweed or the health benefits of seaweed supplements, they could be referring to a large number of seaweed types. Seaweed is a type algae or kelp that grows in bodies of salt water such as seas or oceans. Supplements are made by drying out certain species of seaweed, extracting the nutrients, and placing them into capsules or mixtures for consumption. Seaweed species are chosen by their safety for human consumption and types of nutrients found within.
Certain types of seaweed can have a massive amount of fiber. When you dry out seaweed, the remaining weight of it can hold up to 25-75% fiber. That is often more than your average fruit or vegetable. Fiber helps balance out your digestive system, and is vital for having a healthy bowel movement. Fiber is also known to help with the metabolism, which can help with weight loss. For this people take seaweed pills to lose weight since fiber is also a natural hunger suppressant, which keeps you feeling full for longer.
Medical studies have shown that certain types of seaweed can help to reduce blood cholesterol levels. Recently it was found that even with a high fat diet, rats that consumed dried seaweed had 30-40% lower levels of cholesterol in their blood. Additionally seaweed contains a very powerful anti-clotting nutrient that can help reduce heart attack causing blood clots. Large-scale studies are yet to be done to confirm these effects on humans, but it is largely believed that seaweed can have the same benefits to people as it does for rats.
We have heard from many sources that we should drink more green tea and eat more blueberries because they contain antioxidants, but not too many people know exactly why we should do so. First of all, antioxidants help control and maintain free radicals in your body, and help keep them from damaging your cells. Studies have shown that people who consume a greater amount of antioxidants will have less inflammation, a lower risk of autoimmune, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Many types of algae and seaweed are known to contain some of the most powerful antioxidants in the world.
When most people think of iodine they picture that dark liquid substance that we put on wounds or sterilize water with, but it is far more than that. Iodine is a vital nutrient that can have serious effects on the body when left out of our diet. Iodine & tyrosine are both vital for healthy thyroid function, which controls everything from our metabolism to our heart rate. A healthy thyroid helps maintain healthy levels of energy and stabilizes body weight, which if we don’t feed our thyroid with the proper nutrients can lead to fatigue, body swelling, and sudden and uncontrollable weight change. Healthy thyroid function is also known to be a powerful tool in depression prevention.
Seaweed is a natural source of many vitamins and minerals that are required for your body to function properly. 1 tablespoon of dried seaweed can provide you with 15% of your daily value of Riboflavin, 11% of your daily value of thiamin, 11% of your needed iron, 7% of manganese and 21% of your daily copper. That doesn’t include small amounts of vitamins A, C, E, & K.
Studies done in Japan have found that seaweed is a powerful nutrient for controlling blood sugar levels. This can not only help reduce the risk of developing diabetes in the future, but it has been found that it helps people with type 1 & 2 diabetes control their blood sugar. It works so well, that researchers noted that test subjects who consumed the most seaweed were found to almost completely avoid dangerous spikes in blood sugar all together.
It is rather rare to find Omega-3 in land plants, but certain seaweed is found to have a high amount of Omega-3. Omega-3 is vital for keeping your eyes, brain, and skin healthy. We have written entire articles on the health benefits of Omega-3, and believe us, there are many benefits to increasing your Omega-3 intake.
Glutamate is one of the most essential transmitters for brain function. It is vital in the process of brain cell communication. It is found that people who consume glutamate on a regular basis have higher cognitive functions and often have better memories. Even though all of us can benefit from better brain function, it is especially beneficial for the elderly and those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
It is ironic that the most famous cases of scurvy were from sailors traversing the oceans, especially when seaweed is one of the biggest sources of vitamin C. Consuming the daily-recommended value of Vitamin C is known to greatly help boost immune function. So the next time you catch a cold, try chewing some more nori to help you get back on your feet faster.
Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, is a flavor enhancer that is often used in Asian style cuisines. By itself it has no flavor, but if you add it to some meat, or to a sauce it can enhance the flavor of the food. It sounds great, but MSG is not good for your health, and many people have harsh physical reactions to MSG consumption. With all of the health benefits listed above, and none of the risks of MSG, seaweed can be used to enhance flavor in many dishes that usually require MSG.
For the most part seaweed supplements are very safe for consumption, but there is a slight risk when consuming this super food. The first risk is a part of its benefits, the iodine content. Iodine is vital in our diet to keep us healthy, but too much iodine can cause your thyroid to become overactive, and that in itself can cause many health issues, ranging from minor to serious. Additionally it is important to know where your seaweed is being sourced. If the seaweed is harvested from an area with high levels of pollution, it will absorb the toxins and you can get sick from eating the contaminated seaweed. For this reason alone, pregnant women should be very cautious about taking seaweed supplements or eating seaweed.
With all of the benefits listed above, we can all benefit from the health effects of seaweed. If you have any questions on how adding seaweed to your diet can help improve your life, then talk to your doctor about adding seaweed to your daily supplement regimen. With something so simple, it can change your health for the better.
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