Health Benefits of Seaweed
Seaweed or sea vegetables are forms of algae that grow in the sea. They’re a food source for ocean life and range in color from red to green to brown to black.
Seaweed grows along rocky shorelines around the world, but it’s most commonly eaten in Asian countries such as Japan, Korea and China. It’s extremely versatile and can be used in many dishes, including sushi rolls, soups and stews, salads, supplements and smoothies.
What’s more, seaweed is highly nutritious, so a little goes a long way.
- Contains Iodine and Tyrosine, Which Support Thyroid Function
Your thyroid gland releases hormones to help control growth, energy production, reproduction and the repair of damaged cells in your body .
Your thyroid relies on iodine to make hormones. Without enough iodine, you may start to experience symptoms like weight changes, fatigue or swelling of the neck over time.
The recommended dietary intake (RDI) for iodine is 150 mcg per day.
Seaweed has the unique ability to absorb concentrated amounts of iodine from the ocean.
Its iodine content varies greatly depending on the type, where it was grown and how it was processed. In fact, one dried sheet of seaweed can contain 11–1,989% of the RDI.
Below is the average iodine content of three different dried seaweeds (8):
- Nori: 37 mcg per gram (25% of the RDI)
- Wakame: 139 mcg per gram (93% of the RDI)
- Kombu: 2523 mcg per gram (1,682% of the RDI)
Kelp is one of the best sources of iodine. Just one teaspoon (3.5 grams) of dried kelp could contain 59 times the RDI (8).
Seaweed also contains an amino acid called tyrosine, which is used alongside iodine to make two key hormones that help the thyroid gland do its job properly.
SUMMARY: Seaweed contains a concentrated source of iodine and an amino acid called tyrosine. Your thyroid gland requires both to function properly.
- Good Source of Vitamins and Minerals
Each type of seaweed has a unique set of nutrients.
Sprinkling some dried seaweed on your food not only adds taste, texture and flavor to your meal, but it’s an easy way to boost your intake of vitamins and minerals.
Generally, 1 tablespoon (7 grams) of dried spirulina can provide:
- Calories: 20
- Carbs: 1.7 grams
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fat: 0.5 gram
- Fiber: 0.3 grams
- Riboflavin: 15% of the RDI
- Thiamin: 11% of the RDI
- Iron: 11% of the RDI
- Manganese: 7% of the RDI
- Copper: 21% of the RDI
Seaweed also contains small amounts of vitamins A, C, E and K, along with folate, zinc, sodium, calcium and magnesium.
While it may only contribute to a small percentage of some of the RDIs above, using it as a seasoning once or twice per week can be an easy way to add more nutrients to your diet.
The protein present in some seaweeds, such as spirulina and chlorella, contain all of the essential amino acids. This means seaweed can help ensure you get the full range of amino acids.
Seaweed can also be a good source of omega-3 fats and vitamin B12.
In fact, it appears that dried green and purple seaweed contain substantial amounts of vitamin B12. One study found 2.4 mcg or 100% of the RDI of vitamin B12 in only 4 grams of nori seaweed.
That said, there is an ongoing debate about whether your body can absorb and use the vitamin B12 from seaweed.
SUMMARY: Seaweed contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals, including iodine, iron, and calcium. Some types can even contain high amounts of vitamin B12. Moreover, it’s a good source of omega-3 fats.
Source: https://www.healthline.com| Health Benefits of Seaweed
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