When you think of seaweed, it may bring up memories of miry plants gripping your feet in a lake or an ocean, or the waxy green salad served at your local sushi restaurant. Slimy reputation aside, there are ways to prepare seaweed in an appetizing way—and there are many reasons you should do so. Seaweed is the superfood of the sea—it’s even been rumored that seaweed is responsible for low rates of disease in Japan. Rather than reserving it to the rare sushi outing, try making seaweed chips or seaweed salad! Below, we have five reasons that we think it’s imperative that you do so.
1. Thyroid Health
Iodine is an essential nutrient for the upkeep of your thyroid, and one that is plentiful in seaweed. You need your thyroid, big time, for regulating hormones. A malfunctioning thyroid results in fatigue, muscle weakness, high cholesterol, difficulty losing weight, and, in more intense cases, can lead to goiters, heart palpitations or impaired memory. Consume seaweed in order to keep your thyroid healthy and functioning.
2. Hormone Regulation
One study suggests that seaweed can help to regulate estrogen and estradiol levels. These hormones are essential to the growth and function of sexual organs, and if these hormones aren’t regulated properly, problems ensue. Seaweed’s ability to regulate estrogen and estradiol helps to reduce the risk of breast cancer as well as other diseases related to estrogen-dependent diseases.
3. Heart Health
Fiber, fatty acids and protein are plentiful in seaweed—and known nutrients in keeping your heart healthy. Fatty acids decrease inflammation; fiber can help you to live longer after a heart attack; and the proteins in seaweed help to lower blood pressure. Seaweed contains the perfect trifecta of nutrients to keep your heart healthy.
4. Fights Lymphoma
Seaweed contains fucoidian, a compound with several cancer-fighting properties. Fucoidian can protect against cell damage, fight viruses and ward off against infection–but it has also shown exciting antitumor and anticarcinogenic effects. It seems to us like there is no stopping this superfood.
5. Aids in Weight Loss
Looking to slim down? Look no further than seaweed. Aside from all of its cancer-fighting, hormone-regulating super powers, seaweed can also help you achieve that dream summer bod. Brown seaweed is known to contain a compound called fucoxanthin that helps to reduce the accumulation of fat.
Are you sold on seaweed yet? We have one word of caution before you start consuming seaweed in bulk: with all things, but especially with seaweed, you can have too much of a good thing. Ten grams of dulse (a type of red seaweed) can have 34 times the amount of potassium as a banana, and the high iodine content (one of its major benefits) can be a bad thing if too much is consumed.
Keep moderation in mind, but we’re still convinced that most Westerners could use more of this marine superfood in our lives.