Seaweed Benefits That You May Not Know
Seaweed is something we are all familiar with. Be it holding together your lunchtime sushi or washing ashore on your favourite beach. What you may not be quite so familiar with is that seaweed contains a wide variety of bioactive compounds, some of which are not present in land plants. To guide you through the best things to know about marine algae, we’ve compiled a list of 6 great things to know about seaweed.
What is seaweed? Strictly speaking, seaweed is algae that grow in the sea and ranges in colours from red, brown and green. Potent and diverse are two words we love to describe seaweed. Potent is the nutrients contained within and diverse are the range of species – each with their own, often-unique properties. Did you know that there is more diversity in seaweed than there is in terrestrial (land) plants?
1. SEAWEED is rich in vitamins & minerals – Seaweed contains crucial micronutrients such as iodine and tyrosine, which play an important role in the support of thyroid function. A lack of iodine in our diets can cause brain damage. Whilst iodine is a crucial mineral, it must not be overused. This is where the importance of knowing your source of seaweed is important. Shoalhaven Health Co. works with seaweed farms in Australia and around the world and always source seaweeds that contain healthy, traceable amounts of iodine. Seaweed is also a great source of iron, zinc, manganese, calcium, magnesium and vitamin B.
2. SEAWEED Contains a variety of antioxidants – antioxidants work to stabilise your body by protecting you against oxidative stress, which is caused by free radicals. Seaweeds contain a number of phytonutrients that protect your cells against free-radical damage, including vitamin E, carotenoids and flavonoids.
3. SEAWEED is rich dietary fibre – Your gut is an enormous ecosystem that plays a pivotal role in your health. Dietary fibres found in seaweed work to improve your gut health by feeding your gut microbiome and helping it to thrive. Fucoidan is one example of a soluble dietary fibre found in certain seaweeds that has strong research and traditional use in various cultures across the world. The evidence supporting fucoidan shows a wide range of benefits on the gut. Evidence reveals the benefits of fucoidan on beneficial bacteria, whilst inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria strains in the gut. The inclusion of fucoidan rich seaweeds into our diet may help to reduce inflammation, fight pathogens and increasing the production of short-chain fatty acids, supporting cells lining your gut. Carrageenans, also present in seaweed and also soluble fibers, can regulate the metabolism of the gut by treating and preventing dysentery, constipation, and diarrhea. A high portion of dietary fibers regulates transit time, but delays stomach emptying, thus improving nutrient and mineral absorption and retarding hunger pangs. It reduces blood cholesterol as well. In addition, high amounts of fibers in the diet improve the levels of blood glucose, also regulating insulin secretion.
4. SEAWEED contains a full Amino Acids profile – Seaweed protein is a source of all amino acids, especially glycine, alanine, arginine, proline, glutamic, and aspartic acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are broken down into essential and non-essential amino acids. Essential amino acids need to be accessed from food as our bodies do not produce them. Seaweed-derived proteins, peptides, and amino acids have multiple health benefits; thus their consumption should be encouraged.
5. SEAWEED can help to keep you feeling fuller for longer – A diet rich in fiber has been demonstrated to prolong the gastric emptying rate and thereby increasing satiety and reducing food consumption.
6. SEAWEED may help to reduce cholesterol and promote weight loss – Several studies into the bioactive properties of seaweeds, have shown to have anti-obesity effects. One particular study focused on the reduction in the accumulation of lipids in fat cells and increased the key enzyme in the breakdown of fat, lipase. Results showed that fucoidan decreased diastolic blood pressure and LDL-cholesterol levels in subjects within a three-month period.