Eating seaweed could do everything from aiding better weight management to promoting heart health and even making skin glow.As well as adding a unique taste to food. Seaweed has also been credited for being behind Japanese people having one of the longest life expectancies in the world.
Expected to be ‘the health food‘ of 2018, the sea vegetable’s global worth is estimated to reach a staggering $17.59 million by 2021. Back in 2015, Jamie Oliver credited seaweed for his two-stone weight loss, saying: ‘I thought seaweed was hippy, globetrotting stuff but our ancestors ate seaweed. It’s the most nutritious vegetable in the world.’ In 2015, Jamie Oliver credited seaweed for his two-stone weight loss, saying: Seaweed is the most nutritious vegetable in the world.
Benefits of Seaweed
High in protein and other nutrients
- Containing 10 to 20 times the nutrients of most land vegetables, seaweed is bursting with vitamins, minerals and all the essential amino acids our bodies need to stay healthy.
- Seaweed is also one of the few non-animal sources of vitamin B12, which is needed for healthy blood and nerve tissue.
Rich in iodine
- A pack of seaweed ‘crisps’ contains around 65 percent of the recommended daily iodine intake.
- Research by the British Thyroid Association found that 70 percent of young women in the UK are iodine deficient, which can cause thyroid dysfunction, leading to weight gain, dry skin, hair loss, tiredness, and depression, as well as an intolerance to cold temperatures.
- Due to the rise of veganism and the growth of sales of soya, almond and other milk substitutes, experts warn iodine levels could fall further, particularly after a study in October last year found that the majority of milk alternatives do not contain adequate iodine, with concentrations being around two percent of those found in cow’s milk (although some brands are fortified).
- Experts also warn deficiency can affect fertility, pregnancy, and mental and physical development in young children. Nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed said: ‘Iodine is important in the diet as it contributes to normal thyroid function, normal brain function and also normal growth in children.’
Aids Weight Loss
- In 2014, research from Newcastle University suggested that seaweed could be a key factor in weight loss due to a compound that stops the body from absorbing fat.
- The study found that alginate (found in sea kelp) helps to suppress the digestion of fat in the gut. The researchers claim that if alginates can block a fat-digesting enzyme, the body will absorb less.
- Kombu also contains a pigment known as fucoxanthin. which is a carotenoid that may boost production of a protein involved in fat metabolism.
- Darker green seaweeds contain the highest calcium content
- contains high bone-boosting magnesium content
Promotes heart health
- Marine algae contain peptides that lower blood pressure to such an extent they are already being added to foods like bread and soup to lower heart disease rates in the US.
- A high seaweed intake may explain why one of the longest-living inhabitants on earth, the Okinawans, who live between the islands of Kyushu and Taiwan, have low cholesterol and homocysteine (a heart-damaging chemical) levels.
- A 25-year study showed sea vegetables largely make up the seven to 10 portions of fruit and vegetables they eat every day.
Balances blood sugar
- Adding seaweed to meals can reduce blood sugar spikes and help people feel fuller for longer.
- Scientists researched alginate in brown seaweed (arame) and found it strengthens gut mucus.
- which protects the gut wall, while also slowing the digestion of carbohydrates.
- Different researchers found adding extracts from brown seaweed to a meal may reduce blood sugar spikes
- It offers potential benefits to people at risk of type-2 diabetes.
- A Sheffield University study found alginate can reduce cholesterol and glucose uptake in obese patients.
- Seaweed purifies and balances the ocean, and, according to certain health experts, it can do the same for people.
- Certain seaweeds, such as arame and hijiki contain lots of soluble fiber.
- which promotes detoxification by mopping up heavy metal toxins, such as those found in cigarette smoke and exhaust fumes.
Makes skin glow
- Just one sheet of nori contains more skin-boosting omega-oils than two whole avocados, but at a fraction of the calories.
- Red seaweed is also a strong source of omega 3s.
- which may reduce the risk of acne and other skin problems, as well as leading to smoother, younger-looking skin.
- Winter is a good time for people to up their omega-3 levels to counter the dehydrating effects of central heating.
- In 2013, Scottish researchers found algae can also help fight acne.
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