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Benefits of Seaweed That'll Make You Want to Have it Right Now

Seaweed Benefits
What is so special about seaweed? What are seaweed benefits? If these questions are swirling in your mind right now, then you are at the right page. This article deals with advantages of seaweed. Here's how you can incorporate sea vegetables in your diet to reap their benefits.
Leena Palande
Last Updated: Dec 21, 2017
Seaweeds or sea vegetables are available in health shops and grocery stores in various forms. Seaweed benefits may be the 'secret' of a long and healthy life of the Asians. Their ancestors depended upon seaweed for sustenance. Today, it is accepted as the superfood, owing to numerous health benefits that it offers. Sea vegetables, in the dried form can be mixed in a raw vegetable salad or it can be crumbled and sprinkled over a salad as a natural tangy seasoning. Seaweed can also be consumed as a snack, paired with a fresh, raw vegetable juice. It is commonly used to wrap sushis. These days, seaweed dietary supplements are also available in markets. For instance, kelp supplements or kelp tablets.
Seaweeds are nothing but algae with high nutritional value. Laminaria (kelp), a brown algae and Ecklonia (the more commonly used food item), a deep green algae, Porphyra, a red algae and Sargassum, a brown algae are the main four types of seaweed which are usually used in Chinese traditional medicines. It is truly a 'super food', as it is packed with essential vitamins and minerals, providing some relatively rare nutrients too. Many early communities had a rich tradition of seaweed harvesting and consumption, which is now finding new and wider markets. Japanese and Chinese seafood have gained popularity all over the world and some sought-after gourmet seaweeds also come from there.
Health Benefits of Seaweed
Sweet kelp
Benefits of eating seaweed were mainly explored by island and coastal inhabitants. Sea vegetables are nothing but algae from seawater, that use sunlight to photosynthesize food for themselves. Although, their structure is simpler than land plants, seaweed nutritional benefits are unique.

Sweet kelp (Laminaria saccharina) is a sweeter variety of kelp, which is considered as a health food. It improves the function of the endocrine system and helps prevent breast cancer.
Irish moss
Carrageen, or Irish moss (Chondrus crispus) carries emulsifying and gelling properties. It is an invariable ingredient of various commercial desserts. It is also used for thickening of food. The veggies who don't want to use gelatine can use Irish moss.
Dried laver
Laver or lava (Porphyra umbilicalis) is a type of kelp popular in Ireland and the Wales. Lava bread is well-known and still eaten today with cockles and bacon. Japanese nori is also a similar type of plant and is much sought after. Laver or nori are packed with iodine, iron (along with vitamin C which promotes iron absorption) and protein. They are also rich in vitamin A, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium. Moreover they are low in fat and carbohydrates.
Green wakame
Wakame (Undaria pinnatifida) is a type of kelp which is common in all parts of the world. It is generally added in soups and stews. It is rich in EPA, an essential fatty acid and it shows anti-obesity properties. It can help you lose weight fast. Wakame, the emerald green seaweed is sweet to taste and has a slippery consistency. When added to soup, it offers fish flavor to the soup.
Dulse in tray
Palmaria palmata, or dulse is another delicious seaweed, which is red. It is also known as sea parsley. It contains 10-20% of protein and is also rich in vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, iron and beta carotene. It is used for making skin care and cosmetic products. You must have heard about benefits of seaweed wrap. In special spa treatments, a seaweed wrap is applied over your body. It helps open the pores in the skin, makes the skin supple and soft and imparts a natural glow to the skin. It detoxifies and exfoliates your skin. It also helps tighten the skin and prevents it from sagging after weight loss. The rich nutrients in seaweed can offer you glowing skin.
Dried kombu
Concentration of iodine in certain species of seaweeds belonging to the genus Laminaria is way higher than that of seawater. Thousands of varieties of kelp (Laminaria digitata) are available in almost all parts the world. It is a brown seaweed and is present in all sorts of commercial products, such as toothpastes, cosmetics, fertilizers, etc. It is exceptionally rich in iodine. It is used to prevent goiter and to treat thyroid problems like hypothyroidism. Deep green kelp or kombu (Japanese name) provides large amounts of iron, magnesium and folate (vitamin B9). It is unanimously considered as 'super food'.
Japanese sushi
All these sea vegetables are packed not only with iodine but also with the mineral vanadium which helps regulate carbohydrate metabolism and blood sugar levels. These vegetables are rich in other minerals like calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc too. No other vegetables contain such a variety of minerals and that too in such high amounts. Fucoidans present in sea vegetables contribute to the anti-inflammatory properties that they exhibit. The anti-viral properties of these vegetables help prevent viral infections too. Regular intake of seaweeds can improve your cardiovascular health significantly. Agar agar, made from seaweed promotes detoxification of your body as it helps eliminate the accumulated waste.

You can use dried or roasted seaweed or seaweed extract. Dry seaweed (for example, dried black hijiki) is lightweight and easy to store and pack. Roasted seaweed is the characteristic ingredient of Japanese delicacy 'sushi'. Benefits of roasted and dried seaweed are the same as mentioned above. They contain ample vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium and they come with good carbs. The only difference is that when the seaweed is dried or roasted, the harmful bacteria that thrive on the seaweed for food, are killed and destroyed.
Seaweed Extract Benefits
Psoriasis disease
The extract promotes detoxification of body.

Sea vegetables, in the form of an extract are beneficial for skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

When added to your food, the extract helps improve your digestive health and also the overall health.
Alginate from seaweed helps increase the rate of metabolism and thus, can prevent weight gain from consumption of high-fat, high-calorie foods.

The extract can enhance the functioning of the immune system, helping the body fight viral infections such as herpes.
Seanol, a powerful antioxidant from seaweed helps boost energy and mental alertness. It inhibits the growth of free radicals and helps reduce the chances of development of cancer cells.

The extract can lower the symptoms of osteoarthritis to some extent. An increase in mobility and reduction in pain is noticed in patients of arthritis after regular use of the extract.
You will notice an improvement in health within a couple of weeks, after incorporating these sea vegetables in your regular diet. Seaweed is an inexpensive and natural health food, available to everyone, in all seasons.