Seaweed Benefits; 8 Amazing Health Benefits of Seaweed

When you make changes to you diet and introduce wholefoods you’ll be likely to notice progressive, leading in to dramatic changes. When it comes to the many seaweed benefits, as a wholefood, the list is extensive.

For starters, check out these top 8 seaweed benefits where seaweed can help with:

  1. Improving thyroid functioning [1]
  2. Decreasing fat absorption [2]
  3. Building stronger blood [3]
  4. Reducing blood pressure [4]
  5. Improving heart health [5]
  6. Supporting younger looking skin [6]
  7. Supporting male potency [7]
  8. Helping aide digestive health [8]

But that’s not all! Come with us as we take a deeper dive into the many seaweed benefits and how these could play a part in your life!

If you’ve been to our website before, you’ll know that we have a Sea Moss obsession. Here, we have provided a few points on why we believe that you should be obsessed too.

The more you look around, the more it becomes obvious there is a growing trend towards eating healthier. Even Hollywood is turning to seaweed as a source of vital nutrients. Notably, Posh Spice and Brittney Spears. But the roll call doesn’t stop there.

We’ve seen how celebrity chefs and social influencers have made a stand for healthy food. Jamie Oliver, Curtis Stone, Kate Webster, Gina Homolka, and Jean-Philippe (also known as The Buddhist Chef) just to name a few.

All of them are on their own brand of mission, and seaweed makes an appearance in their foods.

Jamie Oliver spoke about how seaweed had become an important part of his diet. [9]

Speaking of how we should all eat it, the seaweed benefits mentioned by Jamie Oliver included:

It’s (seaweed) like dynamite (with) fiber, nutrients, all the minerals, aids digestion (seaweed is) unbelievable.

Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver was also quoted as saying that he can see “food becoming our medicine in the future”. This clearly echoes the thoughts of Einstein who had said something similar with regard to the Doctors of the future. [10]

Hello Seaweed Benefits!

To begin with, seaweed is low in calories and carbs. And depending on the type of seaweed, and how it has been processed or prepared, it can make a perfect snack. Also, being an abundant source of minerals and vitamins, the nutritional value is second to none.

The University of New Hampshire’s Commercial Fisheries Specialist, Gabriela Bradt, has said that “Seaweed will save our world”. [11]

I do agree with Bradt on this point, but find it difficult to see sustainability in the methodologies she teaches in her foraging workshops.

As I write this article I’m on a bumpy flight to Nah Trang from Hanoi in Vietnam to visit some Seaweed farms. The aim of this trip is to learn more about the current sustainable farming practices being applied in this emerging Vietnamese industry.

For more about my views on sustainable harvesting of seaweed and what you should look for, read What To Know Before You Buy Sea Moss.

So back to the point of how eating seaweed benefits you and your health. I’ve put together some seriously solid reasons to support this super food becoming a part of your diet.

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Seaweed Benefits for Hair

As a macroalgae that is rich in nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, these nutrients may benefit your hair by promoting healthy hair growth and preventing hair loss.

Some of the specific benefits of consuming seaweed for your hair may include:

  1. Improved hair growth: Seaweed is a rich source of vitamins A, C, and E, which are essential for healthy hair growth. These vitamins help to nourish the hair follicles and promote the production of new hair cells. [12]
  2. Reduced hair loss: Seaweed is also high in iron, zinc, and iodine, which are all important minerals for maintaining healthy hair. Iron helps to carry oxygen to the hair follicles, while zinc helps to regulate the production of oil in the scalp. Iodine is essential for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland, which plays a role in hair growth. [13]
  3. Healthier scalp: Seaweed is high in antioxidants, which can help to protect the hair and scalp from damage caused by free radicals. This may also assist with the prevention of various scalp conditions, including dandruff, which have the potential to lead to hair loss. [14]
  4. Improved hair texture: Seaweed is also rich in protein, which is essential for strong, healthy hair. Consuming seaweed can help to improve the texture of your hair and make it more manageable and less prone to breakage. [15]

Overall, consuming seaweed can provide a range of benefits for your hair, including improved hair growth, reduced hair loss, a healthier scalp, and improved hair texture.

Seaweed is Excellent for Healthy Skin and Nails too!

Seaweed benefits for skin can include it having antibacterial properties. This makes seaweed is great for ‘cleaning house’ so to speak and takes pressure off the body in other ways.

Along with keeping yourself well hydrated, seaweed can help your body process things more effectively, meaning, you won’t be as likely to purge waste through perspiration and the skin.

When you are well hydrated, the minerals in seaweed have a much better effect in the body. So, keep your water intake up. Remember; dry skin and dehydration are at the root of looking older and developing wrinkles prematurely.

By doing these small things your skin cells will be relieved of toxins that can otherwise accumulate and cause them to function poorly. This means that you are likely to notice a reduction in acne or pimples.

It is also likely that you’ll also begin to feel that your skin is firmer and you have less wrinkles and fine lines. The vitamins found in seaweed can include B Group vitamins, which are great for reducing redness and inflammation.

Packed with magnesium, zinc, omega fatty acids, lipids and antioxidants, seaweed is full of the things your skin loves. Seaweed is full of minerals that are in a natural, undefined form, that is great for the skin. Helping with improving skin tone you’ll also find calcium and fluorine. [16]

These help naturally balance the skins moisture levels, and control blotching. Eating seaweed benefits healthier skin, clearly!

An insider’s tip; seaweeds, like Sea Moss, contain number of high grade collagen stimulating constituents that are able to be effectively utilised by the human body. [17, 18, 19]

That’s great news for Vegans!

Being a natural product, seaweed is typically able to be used by all. However, if you are prone to allergies, it is worth finding out if you can make seaweed a part of your diet by speaking with your Dietitian first.

Seaweed Benefits for Weight Loss

With seaweed being a low-calorie, nutrient-dense food it can be a helpful addition to a weight loss diet. It is high in fiber, including insoluble fibers, which can help you feel fuller for longer and may reduce your appetite.

To help with weight loss, you can incorporate seaweed into your diet in a variety of ways. Some options include adding dried seaweed to soups or salads, using seaweed as a wrapping for sushi, or making a seaweed-based smoothie.

However, it is important to remember that seaweed should be consumed as part of a balanced diet and should not be relied on as a sole source of nutrition.

Seaweed has more than a Deep Dislike for Fat

Seaweed, particularly the brown or olive green variety, contain a xanthophyll (a carotenoid; a type of pigment with antioxidant properties) known as fucoxanthin. The chemical formula for fucoxanthin is C42H58O6 with a molecular mass of 658.91 g/mol. [20]

You-Should-Eat-Seaweed;-Benefits-Galore-www.detoxandcure.com
Fucoxanthin structure

Fucoxanthin’s known history dates back to 1914 where it was first isolated by Willstätter and Page. What this chemical does is it inhibits the body’s ability to absorb fat. Being more water soluble than their chemical counterparts they are able to get to work in the body much quicker. [21]

Although brown and olive-green seaweeds contain fucoxanthin in sufficiently high concentrations they are less preferred in commercial applications compared to Diatoms which can have as much as four times the concentration of fucoxanthin. [22]

Under studies conducted at the University of Michigan there have been results indicating that fucoxanthin inhibits enzymes permit the digestion of fat. [23]

There have also been results from similar testing which suggest that it not only causes our bodies to burn fat quicker, but that it also discourages the production of fatty cells to begin with. That is provided the sources of fucoxanthin are reliable. [24]

Keep in mind that this is still a relatively new field of study. The tested depths of this research is not conclusive, however, it certainly sounds very promising.

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Seaweed Benefits for Digestion

Seaweed contains high levels of insoluble fiber, which can help to support healthy digestion and regular bowel movements. This can help to flush metabolic waste and other toxins out of your system. [25]

Insoluble fibers are a type of dietary fiber that cannot be broken down by the body. These fibers are found in plant-based foods, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and Sea Moss. They help to promote healthy digestion by adding bulk to the stool and aiding in bowel movements.

This can help to flush metabolic waste and other toxins out of your system. However, it is important to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, including regular physical activity and adequate hydration, to support the proper functioning of your body’s natural detoxification processes. [26]

Eating a diet that is high in insoluble fibers can also help to prevent constipation and other digestive issues.

Seaweed is a Great Source of Chlorophyll

Chlorophyll is a pigment found in plants that is responsible for absorbing sunlight and converting it into energy through photosynthesis. Chlorophyll is a potent antioxidant and has been shown to have a range of health benefits, including supporting good gut health.

Chlorophyll also supports digestion through supporting greater numbers of good bacteria in the body. Playing a key part in helping the body to detox, or also supports healthy liver function. [27]

Another was that chlorophyll supports good gut health is by acting as a natural detoxifier. It can bind to toxins and other harmful substances in the digestive tract and help to eliminate them from the body. [28]

This can help to reduce the burden on the liver and other organs involved in detoxification, and may support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

In addition, chlorophyll has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that may help to promote a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut. This can support the proper functioning of the digestive system and may help to prevent conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and infections.

Working hand in hand with fucoxanthin, chlorophyll is key to the body digesting and purging fats. The humble green seaweed has taken more of an active role in the wholefoods stable as a result. [29]

More and more people are experiencing positive seaweed benefits from making this marine vegetable a part of their routine.

Seaweed Benefits for Thyroid Function

Through research we have learned that healthy iodine levels are key to effective thyroid function. How this works is that iodine helps in the regulation of the metabolism via the thyroid. [30]

Various species of seaweed contain varying levels of iodine. Sometimes they can contain too much. The right levels of iodine are important. Before deciding to go down a path of making seaweed a part of your day to support iodine levels, it is advisable to speak with a professional about your needs.

In some countries, like Australia, iodine levels that are above 1,000mg per dried kg render the product hazardous. This is well below the known threshold for a maximum safe level, but that’s just how some Regulators and Authorities roll. [31]

For women iodine is commonly stored in the breasts. The larger the woman’s bust the higher her need becomes for more iodine. Depending on who you’re listening to the recommended daily intake (RDI) of iodine for an adult is around 150mcg a day. [32]

Studies suggest that most adults in the US are getting about 190mcg to 300mcg of iodine per day. With the tolerable upper intake level currently being 1,100mcg per day, it is best to seek professional advice if iodine supplementation, even through seaweed, is what you really need. [33]

Seaweed Benefits for Heart Health

Seaweed is a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps to regulate blood pressure and maintain healthy heart function. Consuming foods that are rich in potassium, such as seaweed, can help to prevent high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.

In addition, seaweed is high in fiber, which can help to support healthy cholesterol levels. High levels of cholesterol in the blood can increase the risk of heart disease, but consuming a diet that is high in fiber can help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce this risk.

Seaweed is Jam Packed with Iron

Iron is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in many bodily functions, including the production of red blood cells and the transport of oxygen throughout the body.

Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to the tissues. This can cause symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath.

Iron is also important for supporting a healthy heart. The heart muscles require a steady supply of oxygen to function properly, and iron helps to ensure that oxygen is delivered to the heart efficiently.

Adequate iron levels are also important for maintaining healthy blood pressure and preventing blood clots, which can be harmful to the heart. To support a healthy heart, it is important to consume enough iron in your diet.

Additionally, incorporating foods that are rich in Vitamin C, such as citrus fruits and peppers, can help your body absorb iron more efficiently. [34]

Did you know that certain species of seaweed can be great sources of iron, and they it can also be high in Vitamin C?

Green and brown species of seaweed, and other types of algae can contain as much as between 500mg and 3000mg of Vitamin C per dried kilo of seaweed. That’s as high as up to 6 times the volume of Vitamin C in oranges same weight of oranges!

Seaweed is a good source of nonheme iron which requires that you have an adequate intake of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) to supporting iron absorption, specifically nonheme iron.

What is Nonheme Iron?

Nonheme iron is a type of dietary iron that is found in plant-based foods and iron-fortified foods, such as grains, legumes, cereals, and seaweed.

It is called “nonheme” iron because it is not bound to hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body.

Nonheme iron is affected by other factors in the diet, such as the presence of certain nutrients or substances (such as tannins from tea) which can either enhance or inhibit its absorption.

So, with the natural combination of (nonheme) iron and vitamin C found naturally in seaweed, this is a winning combination. [16, 35]

Keep your Heart Healthy with Polysaccharides

Polysaccharides are a type of complex carbohydrate that is made up of long chains of simple sugars. They are found in seaweeds as long chain polysaccharides.

Polysaccharides from seaweed, specifically sulfated polysaccharides can provide a range of health benefits, including supporting heart health.

Studies have shown that sulfated polysaccharides are important for being able to effectively manage cholesterol levels. How polysaccharides support heart health is through improving the lipid profile (TC/HDL ratio). [36]

Testing to date has shown an initial reduction of 16.5% in TC and 33.5% in LDL-C, but there is more testing required to support a conclusive evaluation. [37]

What polysaccharides from brown seaweeds do in this instance are to reduce inflammation and the impact of fatty acids. They support vasodilation and reduce the stickiness of platelets, thus providing healthier blood cells and blood flow.

Seaweed is Great for Regulating your Blood Pressure

Being a great source of potassium, seaweed helps with the prevention of high blood pressure. What potassium does is to balance out the negative effects of salt in the body.

The more potassium in your diet the more sodium you purge through your urine. This is where knowing what you need to maintain a healthy balance becomes important. [38]

As with all of these points covered, when you make changes and eat seaweed, benefits can vary, so consult your Doctor or Dietitian before you put these into practice. What benefits have you experienced from eating seaweed? Share them in the comments below with us.

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References

  1. “Utilization of Eucheuma cottonii and Sargassum crassifoliumin Sago Cookies to Increase Iodine Levels of Rattus novergicus” – Z. Rehena, L. M. Ivakdalam, 26 October 2018 [Sangai Publishing] [Archive]
  2. “Comparison of Cardiovascular Protective Effects of Tropical Seaweeds, Kappaphycus alvarezii, Caulerpa lentillifera, and Sargassum polycystum, on High-Cholesterol/High-Fat Diet in Rats” – P. Matanjun, S. Mohamed, K. Muhammad, N. M. Mustapha, 30 July 2010 [Mary Ann Liebert Publishing] [Archive]
  3. “The Potency of Red Seaweed (Eucheuma cottonii) Extracts as Hepatoprotector on Lead Acetate-induced Hepatotoxicity in Mice” – G. Wardani, N. Farida, R. Andayani, M. Kuntoro, S. A. Sudjarwo, September 2017 [PubMed] [Archive]
  4. “Elemental composition of Eucheuma cottonii and Gracillaria sp. using scanning electron microscope-energy dispersive spectroscopic analysis” – A. Agusman, S. Wibowo, 25 August 2020 [IOP Science] [Archive]
  5. “Utilization and Management of Eucheuma cottonii Seaweed and Cassava” – M. Walaluya, V. Lilabite, 24 December 2020 [DeepDyve] [Archive]
  6. “A dietary polysaccharide from Eucheuma cottonii downregulates proinflammatory cytokines and ameliorates osteoarthritis-associated cartilage degradation in obese rats” – S. Sudirman, H. W. Chang, C. K. Chen, Z. L. Kong, Food & Function Journal, Issue 9, 2019 [DeepDyve] [Archive]
  7. “Fucoxanthin-Rich Brown Algae Extract Improves Male Reproductive Function on Streptozotocin-Nicotinamide-Induced Diabetic Rat Model” – Z. L. Kong, S. Sudirman, Y. C. Hsu, C. Y. Su, H. P. Kuo, 26 August 2019 [MDPI] [Archive]
  8. “Dietary polysaccharide-rich extract from Eucheuma cottonii modulates the inflammatory response and suppresses colonic injury on dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis in mice” – S. Sudirman, Y. H. Hsu, J. L. He, Z. L. Kong, 5 October 2018 [PolsONE] [Archive]
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  14. “Ethanolic Extract of Eucheuma cottonii Promotes in vivo Hair Growth and Wound Healing” – S. G. Fard, F. T. Shamsabadi, M. Emadi, G. Y. Meng, K. Muhammad, S. Mohamed, Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances, Volume 10, Issue 5, 2011 [Medwell Publications] [Archive]
  15. “The Effects of Eucheuma cottonii on Signaling Pathway Inducing Mucin Synthesis in Rat Lungs Chronically Exposed to Particulate Matter 10 (PM10) Coal Dust” – Author, Date [PubMed] [Archive]
  16. “Nutrient content of tropical edible seaweeds, Eucheuma cottonii, Caulerpa lentillifera and Sargassum polycystum” – P. Matanjun, S. Mohamed, N. Mustapha, K. Muhammad, 22 May 2008 [DeepDyve] [Archive]
  17. “Importance of amino acid composition to improve skin collagen protein synthesis rates in UV-irradiated mice” – H. Murakami, K. Shimbo, Y. Inoue, Y. Takino, H. Kobayashi, 23 August 2011 [PubMed] [Archive]
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  28. “The Metabolism and Potential Bioactivity of Chlorophyll and Metallo-chlorophyll Derivatives in the Gastrointestinal Tract” – S. Zhong, A. Bird, R. E. Kopec, 1 March 2021 [PubMed] [Archive]
  29. “The Critical Studies of Fucoxanthin Research Trends from 1928 to June 2021: A Bibliometric Review” – Y. S. Khaw, F. M. Yusoff, H. T. Tan, N. A. I. N. Mazli, M. F. Nazarudin,1 N. A. Shaharuddin, A. R. Omar, 19 November 2021 [PubMed] [Archive]
  30. “The Nutrition Source – Iodine” – Harvard School of Public Health, 20 October 2021 [Harvard T.H. Chan] [Archive]
  31. “Brown seaweed” – Australian Government, 29 November 2022 [Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry] [Archive]
  32. “Iodine and your health” – Australian Government, March 2021 [HealthDirect] [Archive]
  33. “Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc” – Institute of Medicine (US) Panel on Micronutrients, 2001 [PubMed] [Archive]
  34. “Vitamin C and Iron: A Perfect Match” – M. Meyer, 28 November 2016 [Food Insights] [Archive]
  35. “Interaction of vitamin C and iron” – S. R. Lynch, J. D. Cook, Date [PubMed] [Archive]
  36. “Improvement of lipid profile and antioxidant of hypercholesterolemic albino rats by polysaccharides extracted from the green alga Ulva lactuca Linnaeus” – S. Hassan, S. A. E. Twab, M. Hetta, B. Mahmoude, 3 February 2011 [PubMed] [Archive]
  37. “Seaweeds as Preventive Agents for Cardiovascular Diseases: From Nutrients to Functional Foods” – S. M. Cardoso, O. R. Pereira, A. M. L. Seca, D. C. G. A. Pinto, A. M. S. Silva, 12 November 2015 [PubMed] [Archive]
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About the Author

Matthew has been on an active journey towards living a healthy life from a young age. Influenced by his Grandmother, a practicing Naturopath who served her community from the 1940's to the 1980's, his views on living holistically were shaped from a young age. Growing up in different parts of Australia, his connection with the Ocean and a passion for sustainability comes through in everything he does and shares.

"I'm not a Doctor, and I don't play one on the Internet." - me

6 thoughts on “Seaweed Benefits; 8 Amazing Health Benefits of Seaweed”

  1. I recall Einstein saying that about the doctors in the future. Do you think we will have to wait a long time to see it?

  2. Hello Opie,

    That’s an interesting question. There seems to be more and more focus on this as each day passes. I would like to think so, but maybe it will be more of a shift from who we ‘see’ as our Doctors from today to tomorrow. The market will tell the story in the long run, and people vote with their feet. So, maybe over time less and less people will see Doctors in white coats and more and more people will see Doctors who apply this approach.

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