Benefits Of Seaweed
Article source: The Science of Eating
Everyone knows that vegetables are good for you, but not everyone knows that sea vegetables need to be included in a healthy diet. Kelp and seaweed are loaded with nutrients and are a source of essential vitamins. Kelp is a type of seaweed found in ocean waters all over the world. Seaweed is available in many varieties, including Wakame and Kombu, which are popular in Japanese cuisine, and Dulse, which can be found on the coasts of Ireland and the state of Maine. Seaweed is an excellent source of minerals, but people with thyroid problems should seek medical advice before consuming kelp, which is high in iodine.
According to the European Food Information Council, seaweed is one of the few vegetables that contain vitamin B12, which is important for a healthy nervous system. Wakame seaweed is a good source of vitamin A. The B vitamins among it’s many functions are well renowned for their ability to combat stress and increase energy levels. Kelp and other types of seaweed contain measurable amounts of vitamins C, E and K, as well as niacin, folate and choline. In fact, just an ounce of seaweed can provide you with nearly 14 percent of your recommended daily allowance of folate, and one ounce of kelp provides 23 percent of your daily vitamin K needs.
Seaweed is high in minerals absorbed from seawater. One third of a cup of dulse contains 19 percent of the iron you need daily and wakame can provide 20 percent of your daily manganese needs. Dulse is also a source of potassium, and all seaweeds provide magnesium, iron and zinc among other minerals. Kelp is a good source of calcium, offering 17 percent of daily needs in one cup. Be cautious with the amount of kelp you add to your diet, as it has sometimes been found to contain heavy metals.
Iodine & Hypothyroidism
Adequate amounts of iodine are essential for a healthy thyroid and during pregnancy. Iodine deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism and cause goiters. The only sources of iodine are dietary, and seaweed is a good source because seawater contains iodine. Information from the American Thyroid Association concludes that the cure for iodine deficiency and prevention of deficiency both come from ingesting adequate amounts of iodine. Just one-eighth of a cup of kelp provides all the iodine you need in a day, but you should also be aware that iodine needs should be balanced and excessive iodine can be dangerous and lead to hyperthyroidism. Only 150 mg per day is recommended by the Institute of Medicine. If you have thyroid problems, it’s best to check with your doctor before adding more iodine to your diet.
Traditionally, kelp was used to prevent goiter and other thyroid disorders in areas where the soil lacked iodine. Today, kelp has been used by homeopathic physicians and other like minded professionals for the following:
- Thyroid problems
- Poor digestion
- Protection against radiation
In addition, some expert’s claim that kelp is reported to be very beneficial to brain tissue, the membranes surrounding the brain, the sensory nerves, and the spinal cord.
Consuming too much iodine can also be problematic. Since some seaweeds are high in iodine, consuming too much can lead to iodine toxicity and hyperthyroidism. Excess iodine consumption produces similar symptoms to iodine deficiencies. The safe upper limit for iodine is 1,100 mcg per day. Doses much higher than this can cause symptoms including abdominal pain, burning in the mouth, nausea, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, weak pulse and coma.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial to brain development and can help prevent heart disease. One of the omega-3 fatty acids is DHA, which is vital to nervous system development and vision in infants. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, seaweed is a good source of DHA for vegetarians. In a study cited in a ScienceDaily.com article, researchers found that 200 mg of DHA daily can help prevent heart disease in men. One ounce of wakame seaweed contains a little over 52 mg of omega-3 fatty acids.
In 2005, scientists found that when kelp is included in the diet, levels of estradiol decreased. Elevated levels of estradiol have been linked to the formation of breast cancer, and the researchers found that dietary kelp lowers estradiol levels. They concluded that using kelp in a healthy diet lowers the risk of breast cancer, but caution that more research is needed.
Most Popular Forms Of Seaweed & Kelp:
The seaweed you are probably most familiar with is the one that goes in some sushi dishes: nori, or toasted laver. Highest in protein, nori makes a tasty and crispy snack. You can easily purchase packs of nori at almost any grocery store, but be careful of the Enjoy By date–nori goes stale quickly and isn’t as fun to eat when not crispy
Types Of Kelp:
There many kinds of edible kelp, and among those, the three biggies are Wakame, Kombu, and Dulse.
Wakame is also fairly familiar as it is often served in miso soup. Tender, delicate, and delightful, wakame is the spinach of sea vegetables. It’s also easy to work with. Throw a small amount of dried wakame into a hot beverage and in a minute or two, your wakame is ready to eat. Kids like wakame because it’s fun to grab–slightly squirmy. Wakame has the most calcium of sea veggies, so it’s a good one for anyone who is lactose intolerant or who restricts or does not consume dairy products.
Kombu is thick and comes in flat sheets. ALL kombu arrives with a light white dusty substance–just part of the gig. Usually in making kombu for Japanese soup stock base, the cooked kombu is thrown out before serving. But my family likes the mild taste and slight chewiness of kombu, so I slice it into thin slivers and put the kombu back in the soup after cooking it. Definitely a healthy food, kombu is a power house of minerals and vitamins. One only needs to use a little–a four-inch piece in a six-person serving of soup is plenty, so the package takes a while to use (and lasts seemingly forever).
Although not yet popular in the US, dulse has been around as a staple health/snack/fiber supplement in Canada, Ireland, and Iceland. Dulse has every trace element we humans need in order to thrive. Have a sluggish thyroid? Dulse will help you out.
At A Glance Guide of The Benefits Of Seaweed
Drew Canole is a rockstar in the world of fitness, nutrition and mindset, with a huge heart for others and doing his part to transform the world, one person at a time.
As the founder and CEO of Fitlife.TV, he is committed to sharing educational, inspirational and entertaining videos and articles about health, fitness, healing and longevity. He is also a best selling author and the founder of Organifi, an organic, incredibly delicious greens powder, chock-full of superfoods to make juicing easy no matter your busy schedule.
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