Superfood Staple: 4 Health Benefits of Seaweed
Asian cultures have made seaweed a regular part of their diets for thousands of years. Now that we’ve learned just how nutrient-rich this superfood is, we can use it more often in our cooking, or simply to snack. If you still need a reason to try it, these four health benefits of seaweed should convince you.
It Boasts Vitamins and Minerals
Each of the 3 varieties of seaweed we offer —wakame, dulse, kombu—boasts an impressive array of nutrients. Depending on which you choose, you’ll enjoy bonus doses of:
- Beta carotene
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
It Can Boost Heart Health
The potassium in seaweed can help lower blood pressure levels. Its folate can reduce the risk of stroke by suppressing homocysteine levels. Seaweed can also contain five to six grams of soluble fiber per serving, which helps pull cholesterol out of our bodies through waste.
It Can Aid in Weight Loss
That soluble fiber we mentioned is mainly in the form of alginate. One of the perks of ingesting it is that it delays gastric emptying, keeping you full longer and discouraging you from eating more. Another secret weapon that keeps you from getting hungry is the protein within seaweed. It’s also a good choice in soups, salads, and wraps because it’s so low-calorie.
It Can Reduce Osteoporosis Risk
Part of what weakens our bones is oxidation from free radicals. Seaweed has generous amounts of antioxidants called fucoidans that protect the cells that build bone. Fucoidans are combined with the calcium and vitamin K in seaweed, which are essential for bone strength.
Studies Are Exploring More Potential
Researchers are looking into the possibility that seaweed protects against asthma. Its nutrients may have anti-inflammatory effects, especially during pregnancy and early childhood. And the fucoidans in seaweed may even help prevent cancer. While more studies are necessary, the ability of fucoidans to prevent cell death might prove valuable as part of cancer treatment.
These health benefits of seaweed are tough to ignore, but many fans just get hooked on the taste. Ocean’s Balance farms and harvests seaweed in the Gulf of Maine and offers seaweed in whole leaf form, flakes, seasonings, purée, and even pasta sauces. Try the surprisingly meaty-flavored organic dulse seaweed, mellow kombu, or sweet wakame. They’re great for your health and for your taste buds.