What are the Health Benefits of Seaweed?

Seaweed has become an increasingly popular item in kitchens all over the world.

Although it’s often overlooked as a dinner option in traditional western diets, the nutritious benefits we’ll discuss may cause one to reconsider.

It’s known as one of the best dietary source of iodine, and packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Let’s talk about the health benefits of seaweed.

What are the Health Benefits of Seaweed?

What is Seaweed?

When we talk about seaweed, or macroalgae, we’re referring to thousands of species of macroscopic, multi-cellular, marine algae.

Macroalgae are classified into three major groups: 

  • Brown algae (Phaeophyceae).
  • Green algae (Chlorophyta).
  • Red algae (Rhodophyta).

Many of the brown algae are referred to simply as kelp. (Source: www.en.wikipedia.org)

Why is Seaweed Considered a Superfood?

Seaweed is known to contain significantly more minerals than land-based plants.

Although nutritional profiles vary slightly between green, brown and red varieties, most seaweed contains a number of vitamins, including B, C, E and K, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, amino acids, and polyphenols.

Does Seaweed Have Health Benefits?

As mentioned, seaweed contains many antioxidants in the form of certain vitamins (A, C, and E) and protective pigments.

It has a significant amount of iodine, a trace mineral vital for the health and function of the thyroid gland.

Some seaweeds such as purple laver, contain a decent amount of vitamin B12 as well, which is especially important for vegetarian or vegan diets.

Which Seaweed is Best to Eat?

Some of the most popular types of seaweed used in cooking:

  • Wakame.
  • Nori.
  • Kombu.
  • Irish moss.
  • Sea lettuce.
  • Dulse.

Does Seaweed Have High Iron?

Iron is present in seaweed at higher levels than in many well-known land plants, such as spinach for example. This makes edible seaweed a great choice for vegans and vegetarians looking to supplement their diets naturally.

Is Seaweed Good for Eyes?

Seaweed contains nutrients that are vital to maintaining eye health and good vision, including vitamin A and vitamin C. (Source: www.naturaleyecare.com)

How Do I Consume Seaweed?

Some ways to add seaweed into your diet:

  • Snack on dried nori.
  • Make a soup broth with dried kelp.
  • Mix fresh wakame with vinegar, sesame or olive oil, and garlic for a seaweed salad.
  • Top meals with ground nori, kombu, or dulse.

Dried Nori

What is the Healthiest Seaweed to Buy?

Red seaweeds are known as a good source of iodine which helps maintain healthy thyroid function. They’re also a source of heme iron (a form of iron that can actually prevent iron-deficiency anemia). These nutritional benefits are especially helpful if you’re following a vegan, vegetarian or plant-based diet.

How Do You Prepare Seaweed to Eat?

Most dried seaweed must be soaked before eating, nori is a notable exception.

Soak your dried seaweed in a bowl of warm water until it has become tender. Most seaweed will only take a few minutes to reach the desired texture. (Source: www.wikihow.com)

Try Seaweed in Salad

Seaweed can be a great substitute for spinach or lettuce.

Try whole leaves of purple dulse, and mix it with crisp apples and red cabbage.  If you soak dried wakame in warm water until it expands, then you have the base for a traditional Japanese seaweed salad, the type we see served in sushi restaurants.

You can sprinkle crispy bits of seaweed on a traditional salad, or use ground bits of dried seaweed as a healthy substitute for salt.

What Seaweed Can I Try?

When deciding what kind of seaweed you’re going to prepare, there are more than a few options. There are many kinds of edible seaweed, and a few of the more common are described below:

Kelp is full of healthy nutrients that will benefit your health and possibly even prevent disease. This type of sea algae is already a known staple in many Asian cuisines. Also known as Kombu, it’s the largest seaweed.

Nori is used as the wrapper for many types of sushi and is perhaps the most recognizable type of seaweed. It’s also often eaten as a dried snack.

Wakame is related to Alaria. It is light green and almost transparent. As mentioned, it’s used in traditional Japanese salads.

Final Thoughts:

As we’ve seen, seaweed can be an important part of a healthy diet.

While Asian countries have always held seaweed in high regard, Western demand for seaweed has been driven by new consumer trends and seaweed’s recent reputation as a superfood.

Seaweed should be eaten in moderation. Depending on where they are grown, they can potentially soak up environmental toxins and heavy metals.

Health authorities have warned against eating hijiki, grown near Japan, known to absorb high levels of arsenic.

Please tell me about your experiences eating seaweed.

Personally speaking, I have seaweed ingredients already mixed into my daily green powder drink.  I have eaten the dried nori snacks before and found them very good.

This has been meant as a simple guide. Please consult a medical doctor or nutritionist for professional health advice when considering dietary changes.

Read More:

What is a Sea Vegetable?

Simple Seafood Salad Recipe

6 thoughts on “What are the Health Benefits of Seaweed?

  1. 😯,my daughter loves seaweed. I must reconsider after reading this blog. I have been suffering from Chronic prevent iron-deficiency anemia for years. Iron infusions nor iron liquid supplements helped.

    Liked by 1 person

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