Top 10 Seaweed Health Benefits
Asian cultures have prized various types of sea vegetables for centuries and used them for both dietary and medicinal purposes. There are many types of sea vegetables or seaweed that are grouped mostly by color, namely, red, green and brown. Though, at this point marine scientists recognize over 130 types of marine algae that possess a bounty of seaweed health benefits, there are some very popular varieties that are used more often than others, such as brown kelp (kombu) and wakame seaweed, nori and dulse red sea algae and green sea lettuces. Some researchers believe that consuming seaweed in forms of extracts and supplements opposed to dietary forms of sea vegetables like seaweed salad is much more effective in delivering beneficial compounds to the source.
Let’s take a look at top 10 seaweed health benefits that have earned seaweed a lot of buzz.
1. Superior Nutritional Value. The most potent seaweed health benefits are due to an array of vital vitamins, minerals and elements that all kinds of marine algae contain. Moreover, these vital nutrients are readily absorbable by human bodies. Among such elements, it’s important to pinpoint high contents of iodine, iron, calcium, magnesium, B and K group vitamins and many more. Some scientists though believe that consuming brown seaweed supplement is much more efficient in delivering nutrients than by consuming seaweed salad or other types of delicacies.
2. Enhanced Thyroid Function. For those of us who suffer from hypothyroidism disorder, seaweed is the ideal food to balance and enhance thyroid function due to its high content of iodine and selenium. Brown colored seaweed such as Icelandic Sea Kelp is the dietary champion among all seaweed because it contains the most potent punch of this marine element. On the other hand, mega dozes of seaweed supplements can actually depress the endocrine function of your thyroid. Care should be taken to consume just the right amount according to your doctor’s recommendations.
3. Potential Cancer Cure. Unique compounds called fucoidans have been proven in clinical studies to kill off cancer cells while leaving healthy tissues unaffected. This finding made scientists believe that various forms of seaweed can be beneficial as a part of lymphoma treatments. Fucoidans are polysaccharids that have incredible potential in addressing cancer cells while helping patients’ immune systems build up response to future cancer cell growth.
4. Detoxification. Certain elements that seaweed contains facilitate the removal of heavy metal traces from bodies of individuals who have been exposed to toxic substances or high levels of radiation.
5. Weight Loss. According to research lab findings carried out on mice and rats, brown seaweed was concluded to be effective for weight loss by promoting production of a special protein that causes fat deposits break down and improving liver function. Special compounds fucoxanthins found in brown sea vegetable extracts are believed to facilitate weight loss in humans if taken at doses of 500 mg daily.
6. Fertility Improvement. Various colored sea vegetables may improve fertility by optimizing a female’s health and providing it with essential nutrients necessary to maintain this function. Not only seaweed can enhance a female’s fertility, it can improve the quality of males’ semen that will result in higher conception rates. Such elements as zinc, iodine, calcium, magnesium and selenium all work together to improve fertility.
7. Enhanced Libido. Superior nutrition, enhanced bodily functions and detoxifying benefits of seaweed enhance libido, improve performance and heighten sexual sensations in both males and females.
8. Improved Digestive Health. Indeed, according to medical research it has been concluded that seaweed consumption improves digestive health in several different ways. High protein and fiber content keep you full longer and eliminate constipation with regular consumption. In addition, special enzymes found in kombu seaweed help break down complex starches that deliver slow released energy.
9. Blood Clot Remediation. Important elements fucoidans found in brown sea vegetables in some studies were found to be helpful in thinning blood. Since there are no human studies to support this finding, it’s advisable that you consult your doctor prior to initiating any sort of seaweed supplementation.
10. Stress Relief. Consumption of seaweed on a regular basis is a great way to address stress by delivering vital nutrients that support adrenal glands and provide relief from insomnia, high blood pressure and anxiety.
Unfortunately, in modern world we have to very often look at potential dangers that might come along with consuming low quality seaweed supplements that might have come from polluted waters and carry potentially toxic doses of heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead. Despite a wealth of seaweed health benefits, there are downsides to consuming certain types of seaweed, especially Hijiki seaweed, which is notorious to absorb heavy doses of arsenic. To avoid dangerous side effects of consuming contaminated sea vegetables, buy your seaweed extracts and supplements exclusively from reputable companies that carry an organic seal.