Health Benefits of Seaweeds

For centuries, sea vegetables have been widely used as food in coastal cuisines around the world. It has been a traditional part of diets in China, Japan, and Korea where it can be found in sushi, soups, noodles salads, and breads. In Northern European countries, a seaweed known as dulse is consumed as a snack, condiment, added to stir-fried dishes and also in soups and salads.

Edible seaweeds or sea vegetables are loaded with essential nutrients that are beneficial for human health.

1.       Good for the thyroid
Seaweeds are known for their high iodine content, a very important mineral which produces thyroxine (T3) and triiodothyronine (T4), two thyroid hormones which regulate the metabolism of every cell in the body and plays a role in almost all its physiological functions.

2.       Protects bones from fractures
Seaweeds are excellent sources of vitamin K. Research on women who have started to experience bone loss has shown that adequate supply of vitamin K in the body can help prevent fractures.

3.       Keeps heart healthy
Folate, a mineral which seaweeds contain a very good supply of, has the potential to reduce heart disease by preventing homocysteine build-up. Too much of this amino acid in the blood is linked to a higher risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

4.       Relaxes nerves and muscles
Magnesium has earned the moniker “smoothie” mineral because of its ability to relax the nerves and muscles of the body and seaweeds are very good sources of this macromineral.

5.       Supports bone health
The seaweed’s rich calcium content helps keep bones healthy and strong.
Pimped Chuka Wakame Salad by FotoosVanRobin.
image source

6.       Prevents anemia
By being a good source of iron, seaweeds can help prevent anemia.

7.       Helps you sleep better
With the help of its tryptophan content, they can help you sleep better. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that plays a role in relaxation, restfulness and sleep.

8.       Protects against cancer
Seaweeds, along with flaxseeds and sesame seeds are rich in a phytoestrogen called lignans. Several preliminary studies on lignans suggest that it helps prevent breast and colon cancers.

9.       Prevents inflammation
Fucans, or fucoidan is a polysaccharide found in most sea plants. They have been found to have anti-viral, anti-coagulant, anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties.

10.    Regulates blood sugar levels
Poor glucose tolerance can indicate a lack of the trace mineral manganese in the body. Seaweeds also contain manganese.

© 2013 K Kristie