4 Types of Seaweed and Their Health Benefits
par Kobie Babb
While we hear about seaweeds now and then, we often regard them with little thought. After all, they're mere algae-like plants you find in the sea. But is that all there is to seaweeds?
Seaweed is a common name for countless species of plants and algae that grow in marine bodies. But amid the diverse species, there are a few kinds that particularly contain immense health benefits. Of course, nature has everything we need to live well and be happy, doesn't it?
For starters, seaweed is one of the best sources of iodine, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Apart from iodine content, there's so much more than seaweed offers.
Below are four kinds of seaweed and their mineral content and health benefits.
Sea moss and its health benefits
Sea moss is a kind of seaweed that comes in different colors, but most commonly red.
It contains a high amount of antioxidants (Vitamin C, Vitamin E, etc.), which notably health prevent cell damage that may lead to diseases and aging.
Sea moss has a considerable prebiotic level; that is, it has a non-digestible part. Such a prebiotic level is beneficial for gut health as it stimulates the growth and activity of helpful bacteria in the colon.
It also contains a significant amount of iodine required for thyroid function. Your body needs thyroid hormones for proper metabolism, bone and brain development during pregnancy and infancy.
Sea moss typically has thickening abilities, and that's why you'll often find it in ice cream and cottage cheese as "carrageenan."
Sea moss may also have some skincare benefits, thanks to its high vitamin and mineral content. According to Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, a cosmetic dermatologist, the plant is "suspected to maintain and lock in moisture."
Sea moss contains sulfur, which, according to Dr. Erum Ilyas, gives it its antimicrobial properties against acne, seborrhoea, and some other skin defects.
Finally, vitamins A and K are present in sea moss, alongside potassium, which could help combat environmental stressors.
Dulse and its health benefits
Dulse is a nutrient-rich seaweed consisting of a short stem and broad red-tinted leaves that are thick and leathery. It contains iodine, which is required for proper metabolism and other thyroid hormone functions. As a result, people often use it for iodine deficiency, although no scientific study has been conducted to back up this use.
Dulse contains a wide array of minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and iron, all great for building strong bones. These minerals are also helpful for older adults as they can help protect joints and tissue, preventing those weaknesses and pains that come with this life phase.
Dulse is also considered to help lower blood pressure due to its potassium content.
The high level of Vitamin A content indicates that dulse may promote good eyesight.
It is very rich in vitamin C, which helps promote the production of white blood cells that fight off diseases.
Dulse contains dietary fiber, meaning that it can help promote digestion and help with constipation.
Omega-3 fatty acids, which are helpful for heart health and proper brain functioning, are present in concentrated amounts in dulse.
Due to its vitamin content, dulse also potentially shows some antioxidant properties for skin health and against inflammation.
Bladderwrack and its health benefits
Bladderwrack, also commonly known as rockweed, red fucus, and rock wrack, is considered one of the best sources of iodine.
For centuries, traditional medical experts have included it to treat various health conditions, including obesity, joint pain, premature aging, constipation, urinary tract infection, iodine deficiency, hypothyroidism, and goiter.
Having such a wealth of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, it's no wonder why those people before our time had so many medical uses for bladderwrack.
Kelp and its health benefits
Kelp, a type of seaweed, is packed with several nutrients that offer you immense health benefits and may even help your immune system.
Its low fat and calorie content makes it excellent for weight loss.
Many recent studies also suggest that kelp may help slow the spread of colon and breast cancers, among other health conditions.
Many Asian dishes already include this seaweed in their menu. If you're a fan of Asian cuisine, chances are you may have eaten kelp without knowing. You can consider it as another kind of vegetable, with as many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants as they come.
You can eat kelp raw, cooked, powdered, or as a supplement.
Kelp is rich in the following nutrients:
- Vitamin K1: About 55% of the daily value
- Folate: About 45% of the daily value
- Magnesium: About 29% of the daily value
- Iron: About 16% of the daily value
- Vitamin A: About 13% of the daily value
- Pantothenic acid: About 13% of the daily value
- Calcium: About 13% of the daily value.
If you already know what each of these vitamins and minerals does, then it's obvious how beneficial kelp can be when included in your diet.Nature, indeed, has all we could ever need. It only waits for us to tap into its wealth.